Friday, July 13, 2007


My lovely Spice has been insanely clingly following our experiment at her spending the night at Saint Aunt's.

Yesterday she wanted me to carry her ALL DAY. Under the best of circumstances this would be difficult because I have a bad back. But without any kind of sling or carrier to help me it was really, exceptionally hard. I ended up grabbing the cover off the bed - a light weight blanket - and tying it into a kind of sling. This kept us going for the morning and in the afternoon we went to the playground and that helped some - except she raged at having to ride in the stroller there and back - but there's no way I could have carried her that distance.

We were supposed to go out to dinner with a bunch of family members last night, but I knew it would be a disaster considering Spice's mood. And, honestly, my mood was a bit on edge too.

Spice was going to continue to be clingy and anti-social. Which means that her already, edgy personality would take on an extra sharpness. And that was only going to be made that much worse by being in a large group of people in a public place. Why is it that people can't just accept that some babies and small children are just not friendly? People are always determined that they will get Spice to smile, or to stop crying or frowning. And, of course, the more they try, the worse she gets. Generally, when she's in a mood, she just wants to be left alone and doesn't understand why people persist in getting in her face.

Also, it finally clicked for me that Spice didn't just need time with me. She needed time ALONE with me. She and I normally spend a lot of time alone together and with MamasGirl (who I think I will, after this post, refer to as Sugar) out of school - it's been at the very least the 3 of us - and often other people around as well. So I sent MamasGirl off to dinner with the family and Spice and I went to the playground, and sat outside and drew on the sidewalk with chalk and had dinner and played and cuddled up and watched TV. And little by little she let go of me and ran around and danced and played on her own a bit until she was tired and then we climbed into bed and I nursed her to sleep.

Now, Spice has always been one to really sleep at night. During the day she doesn't sleep so much, takes very short naps. But by the time she was just a few weeks old she was already sleeping 6 to 8 hours straight at night and before she was a year she was going 10 or so hours without waking. But last night was a whole other story. She was up 3 times before I went to bed. And then when I finally climbed in bed she woke again and again, wanting to nurse. She nursed ALL NIGHT LONG. I had flashbacks to MamasGirl's infancy and toddlerhood. MamasGirl always nursed a lot at night and I was always tired and worn out and touched out from it. But I'd never experienced this with Spice. Spice was always an efficient nurser. Nurse, stop, sleep. So this all night thing was uncomfortable to me. And after all day of carrying her around, by 7am this morning I was feeling downright claustrophobic.

Surprisingly, though, Spice was better. She didn't need to cling every second. She got up and ate breakfast and played with MamasGirl and was pleasant. And even when I had to go out to an appointment and left them with Saint Aunt, she didn't cry or fuss.

On my way to my appointment I was agonizing over Spice's clinginess. Of course I was analyzing what I'd done wrong. Did I indulge her too much? Yeah, probably, but that's the kind of parent I am. I'm going to hold and hug my children as much as they want. Maybe I wasn't holding and hugging her enough? But how so I balance her need to be held with my need to breathe every now and then? Was something wrong? Is she teething or sick - is that why she was nursing all night long. Maybe I was missing something. You know all that over analyzing and excessive introspection that we mothers put ourselves through. And as I was doing this, I looked up - sitting across from me on the subway was a woman and her son, who was about Spice's age. And they were looking out the window and waving to things on the platform and smiling and laughing and talking. And all the while he had his arms tightly, firmly wrapped around her neck. She looked at him with such love in her eyes, and he looked back at her with a love that was even more intense, almost fierce and wrapped his little arms even tighter around her neck.

And I realized, that's what it is. 2 year olds love fiercely! They love with every thing in their little bodies. They don't know how to live nicely or quietly or politely. They love with their whole selves. And they love their mamas most of all. Some kids carry a stuffed animal, or a lovey, in a strangle hold, hugging it and rubbing and kissing all it's fur away. And for some kids their mother is their lovey. I guess I can handle being held on to really tight - I just hope Spice doesn't plan to rub all my hair off.

No comments: