22 February 2011


 No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

-- John Donne

I was thinking recently about a bit of a double standard on independence.  We take it for granted that an adult might want nothing more than to be in close proximity to another, but if a baby or child wants that, they're clingy and/or manipulative and therefore should be ignored to train them to be independent.  Why are we trying to impose a standard on our children that we ourselves cannot meet and don't even really expect of adults?

And while adults can understand that another will return (though they might still feel a bit shut out by that person, depending on the circumstances), a baby does not understand that and does not understand the passage of time, so how can they understand that the parent will be back in 5 minutes, or in the morning?  Why do we expect this of the most helpless members of our society?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the temptation to let a child cry-it-out, and the desire for them to actually sleep all night so I can have some time off, but being a mother is a 24/7 job.  Parenting doesn't stop at night or naps or any other time, no matter how I feel.  I absolutely understand the desire to just be left alone for a little while, but ignoring my child to accomplish this isn't going to help, and is a disservice to the child, in my opinion.  At those times, I just try to remember that they won't be so dependent for long, and all too soon they'll not want or need my help, or won't want to just cuddle with me.  They'll never be completely independent, for "no man is an island", but neither will they always rely on me for everything.  I should cherish these moments, really, because they'll be gone all too soon.

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