7/21/15

Closeness





It occurred to me, this is the closest I will ever get to another human being. Right here, heart beat to heart beat. 

When Florence was younger and tinier and lighter, I wore a Baby Bjorn. It enabled the dishwasher to get unloaded. It was a part of our first dancing experience together. I'd bounce bravely down the grocery store aisles while subtlety flaunting my hands-free baby wearing situation. But the truth is-it's always sort of hurt my shoulders. My neck feels strained after the first 10 minutes. I've loved the idea of wearing it, of carry her right on me, but I've never been fully comfortable. It always felt a bit cumbersome. So I kind of gave up carrying her around on my chest. We became custom to the stroller for our daily excursions. And I never looked back at the baby wearing route.

Until now.

She's 6 months old. She's a whole 15 pounds. I love every ounce of that joyful little body. I love holding her on my hip and feeling her legs straighten in excitement when we move to music. Her hands will flap wildly sometimes making knots of my shoulder length hair. She often reaches up with both hands to hold the corners of my mouth, we'll get still and just look at one another as if to say there you are.


***

Before she was born, I had decided we'd have her sleep in her crib from the very first night onward. I wanted to establish her bedroom as a special place where mommy and baby nurse and play and then eventually, we get quiet and baby sleeps. I thought it was doing her a favor to teach her independence, to teach her how to enjoy her own space. I also knew I would be a better parent if I had my own space, and we both were sleeping.

***

I dropped Florence off at the church nursery last week. It had been many weeks since we've tried it again, the separating. I want to teach her it's okay when Momma leaves; Momma will come back. I want her to see that she can trust others and learn to enjoy their company. And so, we use nursery time once a week for practice.

At the end of the service I headed back up to the nursery for Florence. I found my way to the infant room and popped my head in. She was sitting in a saucer seat, there were residual tears under her eyes. The caretaker reassured me that Florence had been happy and content playing in her seat for the majority of the time, it was only when they picked her up to change her diaper that she lost it. She then said, "She's a very independent baby. She's happy to be left alone." My throat tightened a little. "She is, huh? Independent you say?" And suddenly I didn't want her to be the independent baby.

I started to recount all the little things I had done to promote this self sufficiency; and in a moment I wanted to take it all back. I should have let her sleep next to me when she was a newborn. I should have gone in to her room when she was crying that one time. I should have worn a carrier more often. I shouldn't leave her with anyone yet, she's too young! What if I've created long-term trust issues? What have I done?

The thing is, as a parent, you never know if what your doing is the best thing for your baby. You glide on what you hope is the best thing. And often, I find myself changing my mind all the time about what is best.

So, now. I've started going in to her room more often when she cries. I hold her just to hold her.

The truth is, she's perfectly fine. I've never denied her my love or affection. I've coddled to each one of her needs. I've been there, always. And frankly, she's just an independent kid. She naturally sings to herself alone in her crib when she wakes up. She calmly plays in her discovering world. I've never forced independence upon her. She is as content as any other baby, she just lasts a little longer without needing my entertainment. After all, that was me as a kid too.

***

This past week we've been borrowing an ergo carrier from a friend. Trying it out before buying one. And every single time we've worn it, Florence falls fast asleep. She bobs around excitedly for the first 20 mins until gradually her movements slow down, her hands drape heavily from her little loose arms that dangle at my sides. And she sleeps. It's the sweetest thing. It made me realize how much she still craves Momma's closeness. And I'm desperate to give it to her. 

2 comments on "Closeness"
  1. This touches the heart, Aly!! We crave for that closeness, always...no matter how independent or grown up our babies become....

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    1. Oh! I'm starting to realize that is very true, Elle Jay. I don't think this desperate love will ever fade for her.

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