Monday, November 12, 2007

Holding on to Cuddle Time

I just spent the last 30 minutes walking around with my baby girl in the sling lulling her to sleep. She was tired, but of course, fighting sleep, so I pulled out the sling. As soon as I put her in, she curled up her little body and laid her head on my chest. I couldn’t help but relish these few moments of quiet cuddle time with my sweet little girl. Her eyes quickly grew heavy and I laid her on the bed sound asleep. Now that she’s walking and moving more, she doesn’t need as much of this time with me, and though I love watching her grow, I also miss those early days. When she was a baby, she barely spent any of her time away from me. She spent her waking hours playing with me, usually in my arms, and she spent her sleeping hours in the wrap or snuggly or sling. She would cry or only sleep a very short time if I put her down, so I kept her close. It felt so natural and instinctual to always have her near me, and I truly missed her when she was away from me. I loved spending all this time bonding and meeting her need for physical affection. Sure, sometimes it’s inconvenient to have to put her to sleep, but with all the running around we do and with all the independence she gains on a daily basis, I’d rather focus on how much I treasure these moments we spend together. Soon enough she won’t want me to put her to sleep, and this cuddle time will only be a memory. So, I’m glad to hold onto to it for a little longer…

Short-Baby Syndrome

Elle may be petite, but what she lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in aggression. Yes, I have that child, the one who is always in other kids’ faces. I’ve read all the books that say children this age are only interested in parallel play, but Elle is much more interested in other children. She doesn’t just want to play next to them; she wants to play with them (and sometimes that means grabbing their faces or pulling on their limbs). Elle loves music, so the other day, we took her to a sing-along outside Pottery Barn Kids. She, of course, wanted to run around with all the kids twice her size and dance (bounce up and down and spin in circles). I was trying my best to chase her and keep her from coming in direct contact with other kids, while at the same time letting her have fun, but at one point, she got away from me and went right up to a little girl, who looked about 4, and pushed the girl in the stomach (not hard, since she’s so little, but it was a push nonetheless). I quickly grabbed Elle and apologized to the little girl. She just stared at Elle with a look of complete disbelief. I’m sure she was shocked that this baby half her size would dare to even touch her. The girl just kept staring, so I apologized again and brought Elle back to where we were sitting. I am not a very aggressive or even super-outgoing person, so it still amazes me that my little girl can act this way. No matter how many times I explain “being gentle” to her, she seems to have a hard time getting the concept (and trust me, I explain it to her many, many times a day, since I watch a little boy who is only 7 months). I know she’s only 13 months, and it’s hard for her to understand, but I keep wondering if she will ever be more gentle to other kids, if I will ever be able to stand back and just let her play (rather than playing defense for the other kids in her path!). And I know that a lot of kids go through a similar stage; I think it just seems worse to me sometimes because usually Elle is only around babies who are younger than her. Kyle keeps telling me how great it is that she’s so tough (she rarely cries when she falls or gets hurt), and he just knows she’ll make a great point guard on the basketball team. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see (and keep reminding her and reminding and reminding her to “be gentle”). I don’t think the 4-year-old girl minded too much. After a few minutes, she marched right up to Elle, smiled at her, and pulled her shirt over her head again and again. In a few years, I’m sure I’ll have to work on that behavior too!

"My finger may be small, but I can still wrap my daddy around it"

When I was 6 months pregnant, my mom and I found a cute t-shirt with the above message at a shop in Moab, UT. I’m not a big shopper (I can count the number of clothing items I’ve bought Elle since she was born on one hand), but I knew Kyle would like it, so I gave it to him as part of his Father’s Day present. I suspected that, even though Kyle had lots of grand notions about being this strict father, having a baby girl would somewhat change his plans (we all know how dads are with their little girls!); I just didn’t know how quickly this would happen…A few weeks ago, Elle was having a particularly fussy evening, meaning she would only let me hold her and she didn’t want to be put down. After dinner, I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies, and since I was holding Elle, I had Kyle take them out of the oven. As soon as he got them onto a plate, Elle started to reach out for him to hold her. When he picked her up, she looked at the cookies, looked and him, and gave him the biggest smile, you know, the you-have-something-that-I-want-please-give-it-to-me-now smile. She already knows that if she wants dessert or something else that mommy won’t give her, she can go to daddy and get what she wants. So, what did Kyle do? He, of course, gave his little girl some of his cookie. When she was finished, she immediately reached back out for me. Smart girl! I just can’t wait to see how far this will go; I might have to start complaining if she asks for a nicer car than mine!