In our second Throw Out the Parenting Handbook blog, we talked about climbing and the challenges as well as rewards to having a toddler that loves to climb. Today we’re tackling probably the most unexpected part of being a new parent, and something that is definitely not found in guidebooks, physical closeness with your child, otherwise known as snuggles.
Parenting manuals stress the importance of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, but nothing will ever prepare you for the first time your child enters your arms. Unfortunately, not every birth allows for those golden moments together right after your child is born and even under the most ideal birthing circumstances, children quickly develop their own preferences about physical closeness.
Every child is different, and some like their own space.
Parents who long to hold their sleeping newborn for hours may be disappointed to find that he feels overstimulated. Some children even from birth, have an independent streak and are more comfortable sleeping separately from their parents. At least for some of the day. While this may be a blessing to many overwhelmed parents, it may seem lonesome to others who want to hold their baby all day long.
Then there are the ones who never want to leave your side.
Naturally introverted parents may feel suffocated by a clingy toddler. Some children may always want to be next to or in the arms of their parents, which can overwhelm parents that need a few moments of space. It can also happen that your baby only wants one person, often it’s mom. This can be extremely exhausting to anyone, and has nothing to do with the amount of love you have for your child, but all to do with differences between people.
Learning goes both ways between parent and child.
It’s a balancing act you may feel ill-equipped for during those first tender days when optimism and naïveté lead you to believe the hard part is over. The little bean you are now responsible for is a living, breathing person who may or may not be into the same things you are, and while that can be complicated and frustrating it is also completely normal. If your little one’s idea of closeness doesn’t entirely jibe with yours, find ways to display affection that work for both of you. Trust me, that bond will sneak up on you and hit you like an adorable, diaper-wearing train.
For our other posts about parenting challenges you won’t find in guidebooks and only through experience, see our previous blog posts about poop (seriously!) and climbing (oh my!).