Margot, I couldn't agree with you more about our job being to make them as independent and self-sufficient as possible. But the ways you reach that goal are quite varied. For instance, we do cosleep with both boys, and I wear the baby part of the day. But they couldn't possibly be more autonomous for their ages!
Some kids are naturally clingier than others. Some are clingy because they feel insecure. Others are "autonomous" but only because they've given up on their parents ever being there for them. And some are naturally autonomous.
We all work with our kids' and our own personalities, as well as how we were raised. But the *methods* - as long as they provide the love and support each child needs - rarely have as much to do with children's happiness as the parenting that goes behind them.
Kids are so different. As a teacher and a mom, I have seen very precocious toddlers. Even more so nowadays than 20 years ago. Much of this is due to the rampant tv watching of inappropriate material for young age groups.
The more involved the parents are, the different each child is. The first child tends to get more attention and thus seems to be more driven to accomplish much more.
My son spoke in complete sentences at age two, spoke French, German, and English. He began reading at this age as well. He potty trained himself at 1 1/2 and seemed a complete little genious. He's still pretty smart, BS in Mathematics.
My daughter, on the other hand, didn't speak completely until age 3 1/2. She wanted him to be her speaker, but when she finally did speak, it was in complete sentences. She was not interested in langjuages, although she understood them perfectly. She stayed in her crib until she was 2 1/2 while her brother slept in a bed at 18 months. He stayed in his bed, she wandered alot, but always ended up back in her bed.
In preschool classes I have had very precise speakers and mumblers to no talkers. 1/3 have wet their pants, won't take naps etc. Others I have had to keep busy because there brains want actvity. It just depends.
My daughter still doesn't waste words. She prefers to put them to paper and write. My son, is vocal. Ah, such is life, we are all different.