Monday, January 3, 2011

Attachment parenting the baby Jesus

When I visited my grandmother over Christmas she had a sweet story to tell me. Every year since I can remember she has set out a small nativity. It's pretty standard: wise men, shepherds, goats, Mary and Joseph all gathered around the baby Jesus in his manger, their arms spread wide - in worship or awe, I suppose. Every year since I can remember, the manger is empty until Christmas Eve, when my grandmother places the baby into his little cradle. This year, though, my youngest cousin (age 2) came to visit a couple weeks before Christmas. My grandmother wanted to show her the baby, so she put him in early. This cousin was breastfed until she was about 18 months and still often co-sleeps with her mom - not for any kind of deep attachment parenting philosophy as far as I know, but just because that's what works for them.

The day after my cousin's family left, my grandmother realized the manger was empty. She wondered if she had managed to keep track of the little baby figurine all these years only to lose it. Maybe the little girl had done something with him or hidden him somewhere? My grandmother looked all around the house, but when she finally found the baby, he had never left the nativity: my little cousin had taken him out of the manger and placed him back in Mary's arms. It was a bit of an awkward fit - she kind of had to hook him over one of the arms, legs dangling, in a feat of fine motor skills I was surprised she was capable of. All the more impressive that she was so determined that Mary hold him!

My grandmother hadn't touched it since - I so wish I had gotten a picture. It was a sweet reminder of how children can model what they're used to seeing - in this case, a mom hugging her baby.


k. emvee said...

Absolutely fantastic! May the creativity continue to abound!

annajcook said...

I had to come over from my RSS feed and leave a comment on this story, because this is exactly what I used to do as a child with my grandparents' manger set! My grandmother used to get really frustrated with it and we'd get into this passive-aggressive thing. My mother finally brokered a deal wherein I'd leave my grandparents' manger scene alone if I could arrange the one at our house however I wanted. And rest assured, the Baby Jesus was always being held by someone in the creche!

Rebecca said...

Anna, that is so cute! I like your mom's compromise.

Meghan said...

I'm not religious, but I always thought it was strange that baby Jesus was alone. Why would someone so important be left alone? Would his parents (well, mom and Joseph) want to hold and protect him?

PegHead said...

That's terrific! I've always been annoyed by the nativity sets that have the baby Jesus permanently stuck in the manger. It's good your grandma's has a separate baby!

(how interesting that on this topic, my word verification to type below is "kings.")