Nurture–this is a word I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I guess that isn’t surprising, with a new baby in the house. I spent half my time cuddling, breastfeeding, cleaning, bathing, dressing, and talking to Baby V. I protect her from harsh chemicals, loud sounds, harmful foods. I provide her with stimulation and soothing when each is appropriate. She is easy to nurture. It comes naturally.
Little Guy is not always so easy to nurture naturally. But it’s something that’s been weighing on my mind a lot recently. Do I spend too much time worrying? structuring? providing feedback? pushing developmental achievements? nit-picking speech issues? planning every minute? trying to stop this behavior or promote this one?
Am I really nurturing him the best I can?
For the last several mornings, Little Guy has been climbing into my bed at six a.m. or so, and staying for about thirty minutes. He wraps himself around me, cuddles, tucks his legs underneath me, giggles. He just wants that closeness. I have noticed him wanting one of us to stay longer at night when we tuck him in, just to cuddle and listen to his audiobook with him. Sometimes in the afternoon, he wants to curl up on the couch with a movie and be held. He asks to be read to even more than usual…and we read to him a lot.
This is very different from six months ago. Then, he hardly ever wanted to be held or touched, even when I wanted to hold him. Now, he does. And since he is expressing that need, I need to find ways to preempt it…to provide warmth and closeness before he asks for it.
Now, don’t get me wrong…he thrives on structure and schedule. They provide him with a sense of security and safety. But within that rhythm that I work so hard to give him…I need to keep my priorities straight. We are loving our first few weeks of “real” homeschooling; he is thriving on the activities, the learning, the therapy games. But I’ve noticed that the days on which he has more touch, more physical closeness and attention, he does much better on his studies. He is calmer, more focused, more attentive.
Some days, a little extra warmth does more than all the structure and teaching and therapy in the world.
Have you been thinking about nurturing recently? How are you making sure to keep it a priority in the midst of school and all the other fall activities starting?