Well at least I do for now.
And to be fair, if it’s a proper inconvenience then I’m not quite so convivial, but for the most part, I’m digging having a clingy kid.
About two weeks ago, my normally independent little gal started freaking out if I wasn’t within touching distance. Well, sitting-on distance to be precise. She stopped playing by herself for reasonable stretches of time and needed me to be on hand 24-7. Which included the ceasing of the self-settling to sleep, and the insistence of sleeping actually on me. Which has done wonders for the housework, let me tell you.
Now I’m fully aware it probably has something to do with the stage she’s at, some separation anxiety, some object permanence understanding (yeah I studied psychology, what of it?!!), some absorption of the changes that come with learning to walk, and having molars burst through tiny gums and a whole host of other reasons. And while it’s meant an almost total about-face when it comes to our routine, I can see that at this moment in time, she needs me. And I’m so grateful that I have the ability and flexibility to follow her lead and give her what she needs.
Boy are the days long, though!
I have found that it’s not really so bad to quit stacking the dishwasher halfway through because she’s screaming for me to pick her up. Or that the bed doesn’t get made because I can’t leave the room and I forget to do it. Once I sit down and let her crawl all over me, she’s happy and we play and I am sort of surprised that I’m happy to let other things slide. I’m also surprised at the extent of my patience! I haven’t always been so chill. She’s incredibly interactive these days, and I get a kick out of hearing her speak and watching her imitate me and others. So I sit on my toy-and-toast-crumb-strewn floor and sing songs and ask her over and over again how she is so I can hear her say “dood!”
Where did she learn that, by the way? I get she repeats “hi” when I say it, but when I follow it up with a “how are you?”, HOW does she know to answer that and not just repeat me? Must’ve been hungover in that lecture.
And as for naps and nights, I’m totally enjoying the cuddles. She was never a cuddly baby, always preferring to sleep alone and crawl off doing her own thing. Now she rests her head on my chest, absentmindedly playing with her curls, content in knowing she’s with her mama and all is right as she drifts off to sleep. I’m soaking that up because I don’t know how long it will last. And considering I’m only having two kids, this is the only time in my life I will ever be able to do this. In five years the chances of that will be over and life goes back to non-baby-raising… I don’t get this again. And when she cries in the night and I crawl into bed with her, she snuggles in and goes back to sleep. But the look of pure joy on her face in the morning when her tousled head and sleepy eyes thrust themselves into my vision with the excited slap of a pudgy hand just cannot be beaten. Sure I’m probably not ready to wake up just then and could do without the slap, but the happiness she feels at finding me next to her when she wakes up is priceless. Again… that’s not going to happen when she’s 15, so I’m getting my fill now. Well she might slap me, but I doubt it would be from excitement.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still those things in the back of my head that we’re creating bad habits, or I’m teaching her the incorrect way to sleep or I’m sending her the wrong signals. But for the most part I’m going with my gut. My gut says this is a phase and it will pass and it’s what she (and me?) needs right now.
I may feel differently in another two weeks’ time. I dare say things will change into a new normal at some point. But I like that at the moment I can’t get anything done because my kid likes me so much she won’t let me out of her sight.