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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Afternoon Meditation

When I was a first-time mother, I listened to my friends with infants. They talked about this strange device known as "the crib" and how they would lay their child in "the crib."

I often clutched their arms, pleading, "Explain this to me. How do you get them to sleep in the crib?"

My friends, bless their hearts, would say, "Well, I pick her up, place her in the crib, and then walk away." They spoke slowly, with their eyebrows raised, and their mouths over-exaggerated "Os." 

I nodded, as if this explanation made complete sense. Of course, for me, it did not. My oldest, bless his co-dependent little heart, slept on me for the first six months of his life.

I nursed Captain Boobies to sleep, always prepared with my arsenal of entertainment: the remote, a drink, a book, and my snugly brown blanket. As Owen snoozed after his meal, I watched The Barefoot Contessa, and dreamed of living in the Hamptons, knowing my fishmonger by name, and using the good vanilla.

A few times, I attempted to move Owen to a horizontal resting place. He bleated in protest, and I said to myself, "Well. What else have I got to do, anyway?"

(Clearly, I hadn't discovered blogging at this point in my life).

For months, he remained on my chest. Spoiled little first-born.

When Joel came along, Owen was a busy two and a half year old. I couldn't sit down for more than ten minutes at a stretch, let along two to three hours. So, as it is with second born children, Joel slept in the crib. He bleated. I said, in the kindest way I could, "Suck it up, kid." 

Sometimes, I wonder if this is why Joel is less snuggly in general. He didn't care for breastfeeding, and to this day, he prefers to be moving instead of in my arms. Sometimes, I wonder if my detachment made him feel less attached.

Then, things like this happen: On Tuesday, as his brother was happily playing upstairs, Joel walked to me and said, "Want to play with Mommy." He climbed up into my lap, wrapped his arms around my neck, and rested his head against my shoulder.

I kissed his blond head, stroking his feathery locks. He felt like a warm stone, an earthy blanket of dirt and dump trucks and strawberry yogurt.

I sat in silence, listening to his breath become my own. He drifted off to sleep, and in the stillness of that moment, he was mine once more. His rose-shaped mouth, the ridges of his shell-like knuckles---holiness in a moment, as pure as a still, cold lake.

I rested there, holding my baby, as my other baby played upstairs. I closed my eyes, lifted up a brief whisper of gratitude, and held him closer.

After all--What else did I possibly have to do?

Nothing. Nothing in this whole, wide world.  

25 comments:

clearness said...

I was lucky with Isabella as she hated to be held even for bottles as a newborn I would just lay her in the bouncy and hold her bottle with one hand and with the other hand I'd hold a book and read it to her. Or hold a toy and entertain her. She loves to snuggle but on her own terms or when she is sick....I don't like her to be sick but I like the snuggles that happen when she is sick.

With Joey, I held him 24/7 for the first three months. Once he had his first surgery and I saw him sleeping in the hospital crib (I was too frightened to hold him without the nurses help so he was in the hospital crib almost the entire week).....I totally put him in his own crib at home and he did fine thereafter.

But sometimes Joey will climb in my lap and relax and just pass out and I don't dare move. I love that snuggle time. Feeling him breathe, smelling his hair, memorizing his sweet little face.

Ratz said...

WOW! Beautiful post...

Cheryl said...

This was such a lovely post. I loved this line "He felt like a warm stone, an earthy blanket of dirt and dump trucks and strawberry yogurt."

So, so true.

My third is a total snuggler, and yes, he got to sleep on me for awhile, then slept in that little co-sleep thingy next to the bed, and THEN he slept in his crib in our room, about a foot away from me.

At least once a day he will climb up and rest his head on my shoulder and lie still and I savor every second, b/c his older two siblings are too big for that now..

Coby said...

I agree with Cheryl - I LOVE that line about "an earthy blanket of dirt and dump trucks..."

The twins never even slept in our room, let alone ON me. Peanut slept in our room in a port-a-crib until he was about 5 months old, and I would occasionally bring him into bed with me and he'd fall asleep on my chest. None of my kids are terribly cuddly; it comes in fleeting moments. Although tonight Baby A came over to me and said, "Mommy, can I spoon with you on the couch?" Just seconds before I was feeling weary of being touched by little hands...but it's not every day (and not for much longer) that your 3 year-old son wants to spoon with you. It was heavenly.

erika said...

Holiness in a moment, indeed. Lovely post :)

The Empress said...

sob, I miss those days. so very much. I am so glad that I spent HOURS just holding them and staring...I never was so much in love...

michelle said...

I love this post.

I was exactly the same with Jack and Ty. Jack was always the affectionate one, and Ty couldn't be bothered with me cause he was mesmerized by Jack.

Mia still doesn't sleep in her bed.

mmmm... dirt and dump trucks and strawberry yogurt

xoxoxo

Cat said...

I co-slept (a term I'm pretty sure was invented to formalize that spoiling feeling of need that comes with a little baby) with David until he was 18 months. He's never been cuddly when conscious... But he'll still climb up on me when he's sleepy. Knowing that he still needs cuddles sometimes makes them that much more precious. Also, second what everyone else said about the phrase you used. Lovely.

Jenny said...

I rested there, holding my baby, as my other baby played upstairs. I closed my eyes, lifted up a brief whisper of gratitude, and held him closer.

After all--What else did I possibly have to do?

Nothing. Nothing in this whole, wide world.

I loved this. These simple words just touched my soul. After I got done laughing my butt off from the rest of the post.

Ms. Moon said...

Some babies are born with more need to be held. I think that.
And I think that you wrote about a sweet and tender miracle.

noisycolorfullively said...

Lovely. It makes me want to whisper so as not to disturb the serene moment you've created.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to tackle Simeon in the hallway and snuggle him a bit.

Mel said...

I have a few of my own cherished, stolen moments with the child that didn't need to be hugged. Now that he's a teenager, I have to force myself on him while he cringes. But I have my memories, and he'll be back, I'm sure of it. Very beautifully written, touching piece. Thanks for sharing. He's going to be amazed when he reads this someday. I hope you're printing a hard copy to tuck away in his baby book...

Kim said...

Oh this is nice. I loved it. Both of mine were like your first. Naveen would prefer to actually be inside my skin if it was possible. And Deaglan jumps into my armpit any time he sees the baby nursing. I could complain but why? Like you said, what else is there???

Snuggle Wasteland said...

You are so, so good.

I was the same way with my oldest. He NEVER cried as the moment he began to whimper I was there with whatever he commanded.

My youngest didn't get all that attention. I'm just now getting over the guilt. (He'll be 8 on Sunday.)

MiMi said...

Seriously. My kids, neither one, slept in their cribs. They went straight from sleeping ON ME to sleeping in their beds. And that was difficult. For me.

Aging Mommy said...

Beautiful post Nancy. Those snuggle moments become ever more precious.

June said...

Cherish those moments and keep those boys close. You will be surprised how often they will still seek you out even in their teens for a little comfort from Mom.

Erin said...

holiness in a moment, indeed.

A treat to read, Nancy.

StarTraci said...

What a beautiful moment. Both of my kiddos seemed to miss the whole crib thing. They both loved to fall asleep on the boob and I never could figure out how to let them "cry it out".

I love the combination of dump trucks and strawberry yogurt!

You make me want to be a better mom, Nancy.

:-)
Traci

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Having only one child I'll never know how different I would be a parenting the second. It is interesting. I'm so glad you have the time to snuggle on Joel's terms!

(Florida) Girl said...

A beautiful post.

I giggled at this: "...dreamed of living in the Hamptons, knowing my fishmonger by name, and using the good vanilla." Oh, Ina Gardner. She does have quite the food network life.

Michelle Pixie said...

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! It reminds me of those moments that two of my girls have grown "too big" for but I relish in them as they are my oxygen. Thankfully Monkey still lets me live in these moments freely and is a complete Momma's girl. :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

My niece has a 5 month old daughter that I swear has never be horizontal in her short life. When I recently visited I totally understood why no one wants to put her down. After reading this, I'll tell my niece to enjoy every moment. This was so beautiful.
xo jj

only a movie said...

Gorgeous. xo

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

OMG Nancy. It's posts like these that make me just want to bow down and worship you.

"He felt like a warm stone, an earthy blanket of dirt and dump trucks and strawberry yogurt."

And then this:

"I sat in silence, listening to his breath become my own. He drifted off to sleep, and in the stillness of that moment, he was mine once more. His rose-shaped mouth, the ridges of his shell-like knuckles---holiness in a moment, as pure as a still, cold lake."


You are such an amazing writer. And yes, those moments are what makes the world go round.