I’ve written at length about my struggles during Caterpillar’s early days and what I found useful when it came to bonding with him as a small baby. Today I want to share more about our favourite ways to spend time together now, as mum and five-year-old. These activities make me feel really close to him and, ultimately, help to chase away any residual sadness I have following the PND I experienced.
Frankly, this one is never going to get old. When I was very unwell, my OCD and Anxiety (specifically intrusive thoughts) sometimes made it difficult for me be physically close to my son so the moment I began enjoying our physical connection I felt so much relief. Even during Anxiety relapses a hug from my little man has brought huge comfort, so very different from those early weeks.
Learning & reading non-fiction together
I’ve always enjoyed reading to Caterpillar but lately we’ve been reading a little less fiction and a little more non-fiction such as these awesome Usborne body & space books he received for his birthday. I find his curiosity absolutely fascinating and love the literal, honest way that children of this age see the world – and their very blunt questions! This is one of favourite parts of parenting at the moment so, once again, I want to reassure anyone struggling with their emotional health during the early stages that being a mum does get so much better and, frankly, more interesting.
There is something really beautiful about sharing our passions with our children. I secretly hope Caterpillar will enjoy reading and writing as much as I do in the future but for now we share another of my loves – cooking. It has become our tradition on a Sunday to cook lunch together and I’m so impressed with his level of interest and attention. I hope we keep this up as he grows and my aim is for him to be able to cook at least five dishes really well by the time he leaves home! (Want to bake with your little one? You might like these recipes.)
I know, this sounds weird, but bear with me. Since I don’t drive, public transport has actually formed quite a large chunk of mine and Caterpillar’s lives during the last five years and, for some reason, we tend to have our very best chats whilst travelling. Presumably this is because 1) we’re free from the distractions of toys or TV and 2) there is lots of life happening all around us to trigger Caterpillar’s curiosity. I love our cozy little bus chats and it’s one of the few advantages of not driving!
I’ve written several times about different types of parents and different styles of play and how you should just embrace what you like to do. I love creative activities and this seems to have rubbed off on Caterpillar too. Maybe he enjoys them or maybe he just enjoys the fact that it’s time he and I can spend together, with him getting my full attention. Either way painting, crafting & messy play are all things we really bond over.
I hope this post is helpful in offering hope to anyone who is in the very early stages of parenting and perhaps doesn’t feel they are as bonded or as happy as they’d hoped they would be. Every parenting stage has it’s pros and cons, and every parent has different strengths and preferences, but if you’re anything like me you’re likely to feel a little more comfortable as your child grows.
Lastly, the most important thing about bonding with your little one is that the activities are completely unique to you so have fun experimenting to find your favourite shared pastimes.