As I am sitting here writing this, I feel freer than I have since… Just after bedtime last night. No really, I’m extra free because my daughter is an hour away at her grandparents’ house tonight. I have a particularly busy week coming up (13 days left, so the high school where I work is a pretty wild and crazy place right now), and I really needed my daughter out of the house so I can work. What’s that you say? Don’t you have a husband? I sure do – and an involved one, at that. He always steps up when Mama (“Mama! MommYYYY! MAMA!!”) needs a break. Lately things have been more complicated, though…
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. We have become followers of a new parenting method. No, more like my 19-month-old has become a follower – enthusiast, if you will – of a new parenting method. It is called Plastic Wrap Parenting. Otherwise known as Attached (not to be confused with Attachment) Parenting. This is the innovative idea that your child should be attached to you, physically, at all times. I’m not talking holding a hand or giving a hug or patting a back, I’m talking Maximum. Body. Contact. At. All. Times. Clung to you like friggin’ plastic wrap. It’s all the rage among the toddler community.
Picture this: I’m making dinner. I’m trying to be an A+ mom and anticipating my daughter’s needs, so I hand her a favorite snack (food pouches for the win) and arrange her in a chair at her little table. Within a nanosecond of my hands leaving her body, baby girl begins to whimper as though I’m abandoning her FOREVER. I say, “It’s ok, honey. I’ll be right here (1.5 whole steps away) chopping this onion!” But as I inch away from her, she begins to shriek. (I briefly wonder if I set her on a tack.) She raises her arms and sniffles, “UP!” I sigh and spend the next 30 minutes chopping with one hand while balancing a 26-pounder on my opposite hip and holding her as far away from open flame as possible as I stir beans. #plasticwrapparenting
Picture this: We arrive home for the day. She’s in a great mood. Had a great day, said her teachers. We’ve had some snuggle time, and she points at the TV and says, “Elmo!” Ok, I’m tired, sure, you can watch a couple Elmo’s World episodes if Mama can have a few minutes to pee and eat a string cheese. I turn on the TV. Open up Netflix. Scroll to Sesame Street. Fast forward to Elmo. (All the while she’s wagging a finger at me. NOT FAST ENOUGH.) The beautiful music of the Elmo’s World theme starts, and I lower baby girl to her favorite toddler-sized squishy seat. She leaps out of the chair, mortally offended. “UP! MAMA! MAMAAA!!!” A minute later, I’m holding her on my lap while I pee. I’m opening a string cheese with my teeth. And she eats most of it as she lays sprawled across me on the couch, watching too much Elmo’s World. #plasticwrapparenting
These are just a few of the many examples of Plastic Wrap Parenting that has taken over my life these past few weeks. We have been through times like this before. This particular episode was brought on by my daughter being sick with a fever for 4 or 5 days, followed by a week of mommy-daughter time when my husband was away on business and my parents were visiting my new nephew in Arizona. I know it’s a phase, and her full-body attachment to me will fade. I know it’s all because she loves me. I know I should savor these times because someday she’ll say she hates me and stomp up to her room or shrink away from me when I try to hug her and I’ll WISH she was sprawled across me on the couch. I know all this. But it’s really hard! I’m so exhausted! I just need space sometimes! And the ability to use knives and fire and to relieve myself without a human clinging to me.
This too shall pass, but the truth is that I’ll probably miss it. Sigh. #plasticwrapparenting
Anyone else a Plastic Wrap Parent?