The other day, I caught Andrew playing by our back door with a basketball. It’s funny — sometimes, he has to be right beside me, holding my hand and playing just with me. Other times, he’ll play all by himself for hours at a time, his imagination in overdrive.
Someone once told me that I was a fool for co-sleeping with Andrew. I have to admit, the decision to co-sleep was born out of my survival instinct and not out of intensive research into the psychological or developmental effects.
My baby, who spent weeks in the NICU in a lonely crib, craved human interaction and touch when he came home. He refused to sleep unless he was in my arms. I remember staying awake with him, rocking him and laying him down, just to be back up again with him within an hour. But the moment we laid down together, he’d sleep the night through.
Anyway, this person told me that I was keeping Andrew from developing independence by allowing him to sleep in our bed. My friend’s advice was to put Andrew in his room, shut the door and let him cry it out. My response was that they should have a baby and then come give me that advice.
I cannot be that mother. The one who shuts her child up in a room alone, him not understanding why she left. Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing but respect for those who can and do raise their children that way. They get a full night’s sleep. I don’t.
But when I caught Andrew all alone, playing happily by himself with a basketball while Mommy got some work done, I knew.
I’m not stunting his emotional growth or his independence.
This boy is just fine all on his own.
Until he realizes that Mommy is watching.