I have kept this proverb in the front of my mind for the last year and a half. When Amanda was awake, she was either eating with me, playing with me, or "helping" me with a chore. I have been very creative in figuring out ways that she could help or just keep busy near me. Often this means hand-over-hand guidance and everything takes a long time, but if I wasn't training her to do a chore, I would have to be chasing her out of my cupboards.
This morning she helped me mix up the pancakes. I helped her add the salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. She enjoyed stirring the eggs, helping me mix the batter and I helped her pour the first batch of pancakes on the griddle. Then we moved her helping chair* to the sink and she spent time filling that little green cup with water- one teaspoon at a time.
*helping chair- one of our captain's chairs. The side arms give her a bit more security so she doesn't step off the edge. There used to be two boat cushions behind her so she wouldn't fall backwards, too.
Now, whenever she sees or hears me in the kitchen, she rushes in to see if she can help. If I don't put her to work, she starts rummaging in the cupboards and doing her own kitchen work.
Here's a handy tip for seasoning meats: Allow your child to add seasonings to the clean dry roasting pan or dish before adding the meat. Then when they want to taste the herbs after they've been added, you can let them. Once, I poured a 1/4 teaspoon of celery seeds into Amanda's hand for her to dump in the pan. Instead, she popped the whole handful in her mouth. "Mm mm," she said.
For me, attachment is defined by a child who is happy, secure, obedient, creative, trusting and helpful. My parenting choices are based more on developing moral character and spiritual health than simply the vague notion of attachment. Because of my commitment to this moral training, I want to spend as much time as possible with Amanda so that I can train her. Once I have been successful in training her to do something, like using the potty, I want to allow her to keep practicing that skill. This means we have rarely left her with babysitters.
The key to keeping my sanity while spending some much time with Amanda has been to be vigilant about bedtimes and nap times. When it's bedtime, she goes to bed- usually.