If you’ve been around me as of late, you’ve heard me speak about the separation anxiety issues that darling Girlie has. We were completely mistaken when we thought Potato had them as bad. I’ll say it again, he really was far more chill then we thought (tell me to say that when he’s exercising his vocal chords when he’s having a tantrum). Seriously, there is nothing like having another kid to prove you wrong.
With teething, and crawling, Girlie has been a bit of a mess. She’s always been that baby who needs touch. She craves it, and quite literally, there are days where for her, seeing me is not enough. I remember when Potato was this age, he’d happily crawl from one end of the room to the other. See that I was not as close as I was a moment ago, and he’d rapidly race back to me to simply hug me, kiss, and then move back to whatever he was after.
Girlie is so different. So different.
Potato was happy to be with others, mostly. He took his time warming up to some (he still does this) but when he is ready, he turns the corner, and you are his for the rest of time. He would snuggle with The Hubby all night, something I know The Hubby loved. However, Girlie won’t have anyone but me. We’re lucky when she’ll sit with The Hubby contentedly. Tonight, The Hubby held her at 1am, because “she rarely sleeps in my arms”. In some ways, it’s sad, but we both know, this is a phase, and one day, she’ll be climbing all over him, begging for snuggles. The tide turns.
She is by very definition, at this time, a Mama’s Girl.
You know, it shouldn’t surprise me, but I am often floored at how different my two kids are. I know, that I could have more, and they’d be JUST as different. I love that. I love that just when you think you have it figured out, these kids humble you. It’s a real gift.
This past week, we left Girlie with a sitter for the first time. We had some adult business to take care of, and it wasn’t nearly appropriate for her to be there. So, we weighed our options found the best care for her, and promised to keep it to 2 hours, at the most. She was okay, fine, a little weepy, but she was left in amazing hands, so she survived to tell the tale.
That night however, she refused, REFUSED to let me out of her sight. I had to be touching her, or within a butt scoot touching distance for her. Even as she played, she’d turn around, to make sure I was there, and I’d calmly reassured her, that I had not moved, that if she was further away, it was because she had moved on her own. I was there. Always there.
Of course, that was the same day, where I had to learn the back carry on the mei tai so I could finish cleaning our bathroom. I’ll give her one thing, she certainly knows how to teach me to be adaptable under any circumstances.
The other day, we were having a rather trying day. She was teething, and I had things that I’d procrastinated long enough, things that had to get done. Her and I seemed to be struggling to figure out what was wrong. Well, I’m sure she knew, I just certainly had no idea what I needed to do. I’d done all the regular stuff, and a couple things beyond the “normal” for her. When we had a bit of a contented lull, I popped into the shower, and as I disappeared behind the curtain, I could hear her soft whimpers beginning. When she is unsure, she starts to this sad, heartbreaking whimper. When she’s annoyed, she’ll do more of a yelp, more of “wait, I did NOT say you could do that, or go there. Come back immediately! Or else”. I promise you, she most certainly makes good on her “or else”.
This day, I had to shower (which is really no lie) so I had to figure out how in the heck to keep her content, and contained while I finally showered. I peeked out, and told her I was still there. I called the dog in to make her smile. I passed her a toy. I spoke to her. I played peak a boo. This repeated throughout the entire shower in an attempt to make sure that she didn’t break out into her hysterical, red face, world is completely ending cry. I’m sure I looked silly, suds pouring down my face as I race to reassure her before I rinsed.
While I was in the shower, I began singing to calm her nerves, and ironically, I began to sing I Try by Macy Grey. It’d been one of my favorite songs as a teen, and just happened to be in my head that day.
It was when I got to this part, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment for Girlie:
And, well, for her, from day one, it’s been the truth. I am sure that when I disappear from her view, even to step into the kitchen for a drink, or to get Potato a snack, something that seems completely reasonable, she is sure that I won’t return. Her comprehension that I am in the next room, seconds away from returning is not quite there. Spending more time away from her isn’t going to correct this (contrary to popular advice from well meaning relatives) Clearly, she feels secure with me. She still feels certain that her world is directly associated with mine. So until she separates from that, I should, because I’m the learning lesson type, lap this up. I know that I’ll miss this. One day, this attachment we’re creating will end up making a secure, confident little girl, who will happily run away playing, without so much as a hug, a snuggle, or a kiss. She will know, that I am there. Even when I’m no longer repeating the words by the minute. Or having to place my hand, safely on her back just to reassure her with my touch, that I’m close by, just in case.
My sweet Girlie. It’s these moments that truly humble me, re-learning what I know instinctively, and remembering that you are so little. Still learning about the world, and how big it is. To you, I am your whole world. Motherhood has taught me that this phase, will disappear. It will go away, and I will wish for it back. Even the moments where I feel like I’ve had enough, I will want it back. So for this small amount of time, I’ll always make sure that you know I am here. Always here. Never too far, and always waiting to reassure and give you exactly what you need.