Friday, January 05, 2007

Gestures

My parents stayed with us for nearly a week at Christmas, and I was surprised at Miss Baby's lack of ... regard for them. Actually, she made strange. She warmed quickly enough to Grampa, rewarding him with smiles for his efforts at goofy-facery, but not enough to let him soothe her from a fright, or calm her from a fit of tired pique. For Gramma, she largely maintained a poker face, a wary acceptance of her presence, but an acceptance that nonetheless required careful watchfulness. This shouldn't be surprising, because Miss Baby is nearly seven months old, primed for separation anxiety, and, besides, spends almost all of her time with either The Dada or The Mama.

It appeared that Miss Baby prefers us to all others, even if the only evidence of this seemed to be negative; that is, demonstrated by her rejection of others rather than a clear endorsement of us. Interesting to note, but not particularly heartwarming.

Yesterday, though, as I staggered around the house in my sickness fog, trailing used Kleenexes, moaning, and occasionally lying down on the floor, the most amazing thing happened. Miss Baby reached for me.

Here's what happened. Feeling guilty that Pynchon was having to take care of both of us, in a moment of Tylenol-fueled lucidity I offered to take Miss Baby from his arms so that he could eat, a luxury he'd been denied in the bustle of day. As I put out my arms in the characteristic pass-me-the-baby gesture, Miss Baby herself turned toward me and extended her arms.

She'd never done that before. My heart broke into a million little pieces. It's one thing to know your baby prefers you to others because she will only stop screaming when you are the one to soothe her. It's another thing entirely when a perfectly content baby raises her arms to you in a gesture of simple love and desire: "The Mama, I would like very much if you were to hold me in your arms."

I have loved her since before she was born, and express my love as warmly and as often as I can. Yesterday, I started to get a little of that back.

Grr! I love you, dammit!

4 comments:

cinnamon gurl said...

Awww. I don't remember when Swee'pea started doing that, but I do remember the first time he wrapped his arms around my neck when I was holding him, and his first slobbery kisses. To die for!

Beck said...

I hate it when I comment and then don't wait long enough to make sure the comment goes through.
So what I said earlier - but more eloquently - was that I sort of expected my kids to have a tribal love, as it were, for my loved ones, to inately know that my parents, my grandparents were theirs to love. And of course, that's not how it worked - but now my children are pretty blunt about preferring my parents to pretty much anyone in the world... it WILL come.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh how sweet.

Yes, the making strange stage is tough. Everyone expects your child to just come to them willingly. When they don't you are forced to be an advocate for either baby or other loved one. It is a tough, tough postition to be in.

The next year will be one of intense attachment between you and Miss Baby-for GOOOOD and at times, not so much.

ewe are here said...

Awwww. Such a great feeling, no?

I get all fuzzy inside when MF runs up to give me stealth cuddles - where he runs to me from behind, wraps his arms around my legs, squeezes, then takes off, only to come running back to repeat a few times. ;-)