Wednesday, February 03, 2010

When the fever breaks

Munchkin is adjusting to my return to normal daily family life. She is adjusting, as I begin to see is her pattern, by freaking out with abandonment issues after the absent parent is once more firmly embraced into the crush of daily family life.

That is, she misses me with great passion and hurling cries now that I'm home again.

I went to bed so early last night that I wound up sleeping in the guest room by myself. I awoke at 4 to sobbing cries of "Mommmmmm-eeeeeee". She pulled me down close to her, whispered in my ear, brokenly.

"Mommy, I missed you so much when you went to yoga, I was so worried. Mom, I missed you."

I tucked her up tight, covered her gently, shushed softly in her ear. But as soon as I crawled back into bed, I could hear her crying again, like her heart was broken. After a couple of rounds of this, feeling like she really did miss me and that was the problem, I asked, "Do you want to come sleep with Mommy tonight?" Like a shot, she leapt out of bed, grabbing her pillow and heading straight out into the hallway. She wrapped herself tight around me, sobs quieted and breathing getting deeper. I thought she would fall asleep right away.

She didn't. For the next 90 minutes, she lay there, quiet and awake, stroking my face and neck with her palm, with a fingertip, with the back of her hand. With her cheeks, even. She tucked her feet up between my thighs, snuggled her belly up close to mine. Every now and again she'd sit up and exclaim, "Oh Mommy, I love you soooo much," and then lie down again. Every now and again I'd slit one of my eyes open to see if she was asleep, only to find her an inch away from me, with a blissed out smile on her face. She pulled one of my arms up and around her, tucked my fingers under her ear and nuzzled me.

It took me back. The guest bed is where she and I used to sleep right after she was born, breastfeeding through the night and sleeping in spurts. She didn't much like me to hold her then. She was squirmy and angry and this affection now, in the night, on this bed, is all I could have dreamed of then, my barfy colicky squirmy 9 pounder. She feels surprisingly big in bed now, obviously not like sleeping next to Pynchon but not at all like sleeping with that baby three years ago. Except maybe for the smell, and maybe the softness of her hair.

As she patted and rubbed and sniffed and snuggled me, I realized that I needed it as much as she did. We were skin-hungry for each other, I think, that mother-daughter connection of touch that has anchored us. Sometimes the kids know best, know when some limit has been breached, and just what to do to make it right again.

17 comments:

moplans said...

aww sweet. I so wish for sleep, but then I miss the girl if she actually does it.

Omaha Mama said...

My little guy is back to the whole routine of I-won't-sleep-unless-you-lay-here-FOREVER. I keep telling myself that some day he won't want me in there at all and that I need to enjoy the moment for what it is. But sometimes I just really want my few minutes of free time at night! I'm glad you were able to enjoy a few quiet moments snuggled in the bed. Sometimes those moments really are just the best.

the b in subtle said...

this was so beautiful to read and really touched me. i snuggle with my son when i nurse him in bed int he mornings, but he sleeps all night now in his crib. i wonder and think on the times he will come and want to crawl into bed with me, the nights he's scared, the thunderstorms, or if he's sick or if he just wants to be held and cuddled. so lovely to know they will still do this when they begin to talk and walk...

Lisa D. said...

Those times of snuggling in bed are some of the best moments.
My oldest always had a difficult time with change in his life, from when he was just a baby. He needed to be prepared, and we had to always talk to him about what was going to happen next. Now that he's 10, he can handle unexpected changes, but he had a hard time for his first 5 or 6 years.

Marie said...

I remember nights of pacing the hallway jiggling a screaming baby, and I'd calm my frazzled nerves by reminding myself that this kid isn't going to let me hold it like this when s/he's 16 - I relished the holding.

At 5, however, I'm looking forward to a faster bedtime routine - at least one that doesn't end with me falling asleep in her bed when I have a ton of work to do.

Debbie said...

This is so sweet. It's always such a pull between getting a good nights sleep and cherishing these moments that you know will not last forever.

Cloud said...

Awwww.

One of the nice surprises of having a second baby is that now my toddler will let me snuggle her a bit more during waking hours (she still wants me with her to fall asleep, and always has). They're going to be too big for full body hugs too soon.

Jenifer said...

Sometimes you just have to go with your feelings and it seems like Munchkin has figured that out. My girls have never wanted me to lay with them at bed, but they love to cuddle on the couch at night.

Beck said...

When I got home from the hospital four years ago, my oldest daughter was very calm and collected about everything - and then she slept in my bed for a month.

Lamar said...

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the new girl said...

It's so easy for me to get all rigid and we have to STICK TO THE RULES and you HAVE TO SLEEP and this is such a sweet reminder that sometimes bending the rules is better, that they're little for so short a time, that what they need differs from day to day, minute to minute.

Soon, they'll be taller than us with a much busier social life and no time to snuggle with Mommy.

the new girl said...

ps. if there's a better description of that feeling than 'skin-hungry' I'm not aware of it.

kittenpie said...

Ah, beautiful. Pumpkinpie some nights pines for me to stay with her while she falls asleep, too, and once in a while, I do. it's nice.

發燙 said...

我們唯一需要恐懼的事,是恐懼本身........................................

Kyla said...

Very sweet. KayTar sleeps with me every time she gets sick...mostly out of necessity because of her night vomits, but also because she needs me then. She likes to sleep ON me when she is sick...the warmth of my somehow soothes away her aches and pains. It seems like the least I can do, right?

Lyla said...

Yay you for giving in to it and enjoying it and drinking it in, rather than just wishing, hoping, praying for her to go to sleep so that you could get some rest.

And I agree with the new girl: "skin-hungry" is wonderful.

Roaring girl said...

Great post! Kids sometimes do know best and nothing compares to that skin to skin contact or their endless love (even at 4am) love for us:) Cheers!