by Joanne Baum, PhD
Some parents begin to think that toddlers shouldn't be held as much as they were holding their babies a few months ago. But I think that's largely a misperception. Toddlers still need a lot of holding. Think of life from their perspective:
They've just discovered a whole perspective on the world from their legs instead of their knees. They can see more, climb more, explore more -- which is heady fun stuff and scary to them when they touch more things that go "crash" and break or fall and thump.
They need reassurance that where their brains are taking them is safe. They need more explanations of the new encounters they don't understand. And they need holding and nurturing so they feel safe and can go back out there and explore some more...
I think toddlerhood is too young to stop a child from asking for "uppys" It's a time to willingly give uppys. If your child is too heavy for you, then tell your child you'd love to cuddle with him on the coach or in a comfy chair instead of holding him as you walk around the house.
But give your child the cuddles he/she is asking for them. You're nurturing your child and it's good for your child to get those needs for nurturing met. If it feels like it's "too much" for you, ask yourself if you've been ignoring or neglecting your child's requests for other kinds of attention, or pre-occupied with work/personal things and unable to give your child as much as your child needs. If so, realize that your young child needs a lot from you.
When you became a parent, hopefully you signed on for becoming and being a great parent, not just a barely adequate one. Feel good that your child feels safe enough to ask you for 'uppys'.
Also, remember -- this parenting thing goes really fast. Before you know it your child won't be asking for "uppy" anymore. And before you know it you'll be fondly remembering the cuddly times and wishing your child wanted more cuddles.
By adolescence, you won't be cuddling nearly as often and that comes sooner than you think when you're looking at your toddler and wondering if your body will ever be yours again.
Joanne Baum, PhD., LCSW, has been a therapist, parenting coach, educator, and writer for over thirty years. Her latest book, Got the Baby...Where's the Manual?!? won the 2007 IPPY Gold Medal in Parenting. You can find more information on her web-site: www.respectfulparenting.com.
Copyright © Joanne Baum. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.