A lot of the time if I put soa down and sit back down in my chair, she gets really unhappy. She can still see me, and smell me, and I think she can’t quite understand why she should be in the (relatively) hard, cold chair when she could be on a warm comfortable lap. She’s a lot like a cat that way. And if she’s awake and on my lap, she can’t quite see why she shouldn’t have a nipple in her mouth, not that she’s hungry, you understand, but just in case…so she mouths and nibbles and arches her back and we make each other not quite as happy as we could do.
Part of the problem is that I don’t want to put her down. I’m not a very tactile or touchy feely person. I don’t tend to cuddle up to my children much at all, to my shame. (If I have one regret with how I’ve brought up children so far, it’s that I still haven’t worked out how to just be spontaneously physical with them.) But soa is so easy to cuddle. Her head fits beautifully into the crook of my arm, her body stretches easily across my lap. If I sit her with her back to me she nestles nicely into my saggy midriff, and her little hands, oh I could go into rhapsodies about her hands. So soft, so delicate, and yet such a strong grip, with long, long perfect fingers. Usually cool against my warmer hands (or freezing against my breasts in the middle of the night!) and such relaxation and trusting! You don’t get that in adults – I don’t think we can relax to that extent, we carry our years as tension in our muscles. Babies are like cats, they can relax completely, and when they stretch, their whole bodies are involved.
And I know that babies don’t last long. They soon become toddlers and while they might still be cuddly, they don’t fit into your arms quite so neatly. soa snuggles into my shoulder – I think Small was too long for that, and I don’t remember ever trying it with Big. (I wish I could step back in time 10 years and give my pregnant self some advice. It would be to relax and enjoy it more, and maybe Big wouldn’t have been quite so screamy with me, as I’m sure part of her unhappiness was my tension.) When she snuggles she rubs her soft downy head against you and it’s such a wonderful feeling.
I love carrying her in the sling – making sure her head is high enough to kiss, and I do a lot of kissing. She really is quite amazingly kissable. Skin is ever so soft and she is just perfect from head to toe, with dreamy blue eyes that gaze at you, and a camera shy smile.
I’m really enjoying babyhood with this baby. I wish I’d known how to enjoy it with the others, but perhaps some of my pleasure can still spill out onto them in the shape of a better tempered, happier mother all around.
This wasn’t where I was going with this post when I wrote the title. I was going to explain how I am realising that walking away and letting someone else settle her means I can get a little of something else done, like tonight when I went into the kitchen and made cauliflower cheese for tea, *and* did the washing up. But instead I got carried away in writing down the things I want to remember. I haven’t managed to capture even a fraction of them, but I’m going to keep trying. I hope you’ll be patient with me, and just skip these bits if you don’t enjoy them.