Wednesday 18 June 2014

I don't know Ma. I just needed it.

Sometimes these tiny people, and their capacity for assessing their own needs, amazes me. I mean, babies, toddlers, and children are generally well known for expressing their wants and needs. They don't worry about being pushy or selfish. They don't sensor themselves so as to appear agreeable. This isn't news to anyone who has ever been in the presence of a small child for even a few moments. But what does seem to surprise me from time to time is how aware they can be of the intricacies of their needs.

This week Mac has been a little "off." If you've ever been a regular care-giver of a toddler you know what I mean by that. He's not sick but he's just a little… different… he's a bit quieter, a bit more whinny, and a bit more clingy. 

So when we are headed to the park and he asks to be carried I am not that surprised. At almost three years old and a little over 30 pounds, carrying him in my arms for a long period of time isn't really feasible. But there is a trusty Onya Baby carrier in my closet that he agrees to. I snap the buckles around my waist, cherishing the clicking noise that I heard at least one thousand times in the first year of his life when he liked to be worn constantly. I bend down to let him climb on my back and he makes an unhappy face. 

"I don't want to go on your back Ma. I'm too shy today. I want to go on your belly." 

Now, if you know my kid you know that he's certainly not shy. But we all have our days don't we? With a swelling heart I scoop my boy up and snap the buckle closed on my shoulders. He's all legs and arms. They hang a bit awkwardly at his sides but in a few moments we've moved our bodies like a puzzle into a configuration that is comfortable for everyone. His head rests against my chest and my nose can't help but bend down and inhale the sweet scent. No longer the intoxicating smell of newborn skin but still the unmistakable smell of my child that will always be my favourite scent.

His declaration of not wanting to play at the park today is short lived. Twenty minutes of his heart beating next to his Mama's is all he needs and by the time we arrive at the play structure he is ready to get down and play.

Of course my Mama's heart is happy to see him feeling better. There are some new kids at the park and they have brought seahorse moulds with them. I love watching them sweetly offer Mac a turn with their treasures and seeing his eyes light up when he turns to me and says "the girls shared with me Ma!" 

But a small part of my heart feels heavy as he climbs out of my carrier. I am keenly aware that there are a limited number of "baby wearing" days left in our future. Each time I unclip him could easily be the last. And while watching him grow is such a joy there is still sadness in seeing each phase come to an end. 

Minutes turn to hours and it is time to head home for lunch. I assume he will want to sit in the stroller  but instead he surprises me by asking to get back in the carrier. This time he's feeling less shy and decides a back carry will suffice. 

I've had a long few weeks and the unexpected treat of holding my babe close to me today feels like medicine for my soul. Later, cuddled on the couch, I ask him why he wanted me to carry him today. 

"I don't know Ma," he replies thoughtfully. "I just needed it."

Me too kiddo. Me too. 

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