My baby has an obsession, and it’s name…is Mama.
To be someone’s favorite person. The center of another’s universe. The sun around which another being orbits.
Many of us dream of this, longing for someone to come into our lives who will adore us, wanting to be with no one else, spending each of their waking (and sleeping) hours with us alone.
And then it happens. That person arrives, showering us with love and kisses. It’s magical. It’s bliss. We can’t imagine anything better.
Until we can.
As it turns out, the person in my life who can’t let me out of her sight is an adorable two-foot-tall giggle-box who gives me open-mouthed “baci” (Italian kisses) and sports pigtails which are turning blonder by the minute.
My 15-month-old daughter has an obsession, and it’s me.
I remember my two boys each going through this stage. Mama was the favorite person for a while, and then Daddy was the only one who could pick them up, but after a few months it evened out. With our third, this temporary stage feels more like a lifetime.
Whenever I am in the same room as her (heck, even the same house), she has a sixth sense that I am around and – HORROR! – not holding her. Science backs this up. According to the California Pacific Medical Center website, babies can smell their mother’s milk up to 50-100 feet away. She knows I’m there, even when she can’t see me.
Maybe it’s because we’re still nursing. When I’m holding her and start to approach the rocking chair which we typically sit in, she starts to squeal and dance in my arms with delight. She knows what’s coming. And if I’m too slow in getting started, she lets me know her frustration. Loudly. But while I nursed both my boys through 16 months, they never had the enthusiasm at this point that she still does.
I try to tell myself it’s good for bonding.
Except when I feel like she’s practically bonded to me, literally. Ever tried to make dinner or go to the bathroom with a tiny person who cannot yet walk holding on to your legs with a grip that rivals Gollum’s? It’s challenging, to say the least.
Sometimes we just have to deal with the heart-broken tears. Oven doors need to be opened (safely), I need to put clean clothes on eventually, and there happen to be two other children who need both of my hands available as well, so the baby has to sit on the floor by herself for a minute or two. Life’s hard for all of us, honey.
Maybe it’s because she’s the third child. She’s feeling left out already and claiming her stake. My attention is divided, and her keen little toddler brain isn’t taking any leftovers.
I also know that this won’t last forever, even if some days it seems like it. Someday soon she won’t want anything to do with me. Someday soon she’ll be a teen (or worse, a tween), who’s integrity can barely withstand being in the same town as me, much less the same vehicle. Although I do hope to be proactive enough in nurturing our relationship that those moments will be few and far between, I also know they will be there. It’s a rite of passage.
So for now, I try to enjoy the moments as much as I can. Be present. Settle in with a cup of coffee as we read board books in the recliner. Put down the Facebook feed for a tickle fest instead. Return the sloppy kisses and tell her I love her just as much as she loves me.
And maybe one day, approximately 14 years from now, I’ll pull out this column and oh-so-casually leave it lying on the table where she just might happen to read it. And maybe, just maybe, when she’s 15 years old, she’ll feel some of that same love and adoration for her mama that she felt when she was 15 months old.
Until then, I’ll be the one lugging a giddy baby around and adding to my list of “Things I Can Master with One Hand.” In fact, that might be the title of my next column.
It’s been an idyllic summertime experience. It has brought me joy and even made me love my children more, to see them running and laughing and enjoying the simplicity of childhood. When I see the viral posts saying how we need to “give our kids a 1970′s summer” again, I just shake my head. Regardless of the decade, everything we need for a perfect summer is within us.
In a book I was recently reading, the author referenced a Facebook post that was going around a few years ago. In it, Facebook users were prompted to share a list of (somewhat random) things about themselves. Things their closest online friends might not know about them, but maybe should.
The author used it as an opportunity to pull back the facade on her life and be vulnerable with experiences from her past, feelings in her present, and fears of her future that most people didn’t realize about her. It resonated with all who read it, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
It occurred to me that I could make a list for my children. 15 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Me.
When I am laughing with my daughter on the floor as she pretends I’m her baby, watching the joy unfold on my middle son’s face as I “fly” him on my feet, or feeling the comfort of my oldest son’s arms around me at bedtime, sometimes my mind will think, “I should take a picture of this.”