The Only Power Strong Enough

 

Carly Elizabeth is seven months young today, just this week beginning to pre-crawl. I wish I could be so attentive, persistent, focused, so sensitive and aware of everything instead of being preoccupied with all my stuff. Carly craves engagement and it is truly one of the most challenging tasks as a parent to keep up, to stay in the present moment, to share this experience together right now. Oh, how easy it is to give that demand for complete engagement over to some mechanical or technological thing, but at what price?

Themes: 
attachment
bonding
culture

Attachment, Bonding or Attunment

John Bowlby coined the term ‘attachment’ for a healthy mother-infant-father relationship and was plummeted by his peers for doing so. Marshal Klaus, MD., helped popularized the term ‘bonding’ to describe the precious cascade of discovery-contact-response encounters shared by newborn and mother during their first moments and hours after birth. Bowlby was influenced by infants who had missed or were deprived normal mothering , those in intuitions and orphanages. In these infants something was broken, detached. Klaus observed what may be called attached mother-infant relationships as they discover, make contact and respond in completely new ways, postnatal, coming together, forming new patterns. Each term ‘attachment’ and ‘bonding’ were and are appropriate given the context. Both terms break down and lose some of their meaning however, when applied to the larger, ever-changing reciprocal dynamic we call childhood and parenting. Attunement may be more precise when describing this overarching movement.

Themes: 
parenting
bonding

Lunch With Carly Elizabeth

Carly and I (and of course Z, mother and wife) landed in a hip, crowded and loud bistro in Laguna Beach the day after Christmas along with my brother Mark. The waitress removed one of the chairs and slipped in a wooded highchair. In three days Carly Elizabeth will be five months young. As the early morning sun danced across the hotel sheets Carly was balancing, arms stretched, almost sitting up by herself, but not quite. Even so, the wooden highchair was too low and too far away. I pushed a dish aside and sat Carly on the table with my arm around her.

Themes: 
bonding
parenting

Nothing Compares

They say, breast is best. Well, duhhh. But wait, I’m a guy. What do I know? The overarching question is why have a baby? Hormones, of course. No one can win an argument with hormones. There is only one correct answer, to nurture the healthiest, happiest, most awake, aware, sensitive and responsive human being possible. Having a baby is all about the baby. It is the ultimate ‘giving back.’

Themes: 
bonding
breastfeeding
culture

Pleasure: The Glue That Bonds

Ouch, too hot, said Goldilocks, pain. Ouch, too cold. Ahhhh, just right, she said, pleasure. As I have come to understand, mostly due to my twenty-year friendship with James W. Prescott, PhD, pleasure and pain rest at the foundation of our development as human beings. We are drawn to and seek experiences that are comforting, pleasurable and we avoid, withdraw from sensations that are painful. Not very complicated, obvious, but we forget.

Themes: 
bonding
parenting
pleasure

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