When Nora was a baby, she had a deep aversion to sleeping in her crib. She preferred to take naps while being held, and the moment her little bum touched the crib mattress, she’d wake up and scream, so eventually I stopped trying to lay her down. Her favorite position was tummy to tummy. I’d sit on the couch and she’d sleep for hours on my chest.
There wasn’t much multi-tasking to be done during those times. If I planned carefully I’d have a magazine in easy reach, but most of the time I was still too mommy brained for that kind of forethought. All I could do was sit there and smell her. Every time I wanted to get up and do something productive I reminded myself that she would be little for such a short time, she wouldn’t always be able to sleep on me, so I may as well shut up and enjoy it.
It’s been a tough week at our house, as it always is when we’re off our routine. I’ve had to be at work early each day this week for a virtual training that’s on east coast time. So, Nora has had to be up at 5:00am instead of 6:00am and she’s transitioning out of her afternoon nap time. As a result she fell asleep in the car on the way home on Tuesday and we both ended up on the couch, her sleeping in her old position, but now her head rests on my shoulder instead of my chest and her longer legs must bend at the knee. She is so big now.
And my body remembered exactly what that used to feel like. And my brain became instantly quiet. And I was so thankful for this moment and it’s clarity. This little girl is getting so big, but she still needs us, and is still so connected to us. I’m quite sure her body remembered as well as mine.
Yesterday I picked Nora up early (my early training means an early quitting time) and we rode the bus home. She fell asleep on the first bus and I couldn’t wake her up enough to have her walk for the bus transfer. I scooped her up, sat her on my shoulder bag and carried her off the bus, then sat at the next bus stop with a forty pound girl draped over me. It was uncomfortable and precious all at once. Another rider signaled me that the bus was coming and I carried Nora on and found a seat. Incredibly, she slept soundly all the way to the stop near our house. When we got off, raindrops fell on her head and woke her.
She was trapped between baby and little girl for a moment, wanting to be carried, but feeling it was too clumsy. She chose walking — she chose growing up — and bravely trudged home with me in the rain.