Monday, October 11, 2010

Quality or Quantity?

Is it quantity time or quality time that creates that secure attachment we attachment parents are striving for? I don't know that the answer is simply one or the other, but rather I would argue that quantity time in infancy leads to quality time later in childhood.

In infancy the quantity of gazing, nursing, snuggling, and holding is likely the highest it will ever be, and all of this time we spend in direct contact with our newborns helps ease us into motherhood & teaches us to communicate with our babies, making caring for them second nature. The mother who gently brings her restless & irritable toddler close to her & offers her breast, or a soothing song or distracting story without missing a beat or breaking in stride has likely learned this behavior through the quantity of time she spent with her infant. In short, quantity time hones our maternal instincts and develops our parenting skills. One could say that in infancy, quantity time is quality time.

In my opinion, it is this quantity time that allows for real quality time down the road.

My quantity time meeting all of the physical needs of my infant: nourishment, security, and hygiene, has given Oliver and I a special communication. This communication with one another, allows me to accurately predict his needs, limits and reactions, and allows him to take emotional & physical cues from me to guide him through social encounters, physical and emotional developments, and problem solving.

But more than that, this instinctual non verbal communication allows me to be more relaxed and open to those moments of memory building quality time. With our communication growing and evolving with our changing needs I can be more present, more mindful and connected and therefore in a better position to take advantage of quality moments.

Right now that means being present to share a proud smile when he figures out how one stacking cup fits into another, or pick up on and share in the obviously hilarious joke that is throwing thanksgiving turkey to the dogs then looking around confused as though it's magically disappeared.

Perhaps in the teenage years it will allow me to recognize those fleeting moments of being receptive to affection, or help me know when it's right to let go and when to hold on tight. I hope that I can nurture the kind of relationship I want with my teenager with the foundations we are setting now.

The respect, communication, and love we nurture and developed through all that quantity time with our infants lays the ground work for the kind of respect, communication, and love we all want with our older children. As parents we need to hold onto it, to keep working at it & nurturing it so that the respect and communication changes & adapts to accommodate our children as they grow. By doing so we can stay mindful & connected and ready to jump in & soak up that quality time every chance we get.


Crystal said... [Reply to comment]

I love the topic of your blog! I am a new follower! I can't wait to read more.


Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks! We're so glad to have you as a reader, have you checked out our new forums yet?

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