It’s been smooth sailing for a year now, so I hardly have any room for complaint. Hayden has overall been a very easy baby. Happy, easy to soothe, easy to get to sleep, even if he didn’t always stay asleep. In comparison to our colicky first 2 babies, who required nothing short of acrobats to soothe to sleep, Hayden willfully and joyfully fell peacefully to sleep in our arms 99% of the time. When he wasn’t sleeping he was content to lie in his swing, bouncy seat or on his quilt and stare at the busy happenings of our house. So it seems only fair that after a year I should be given a little bit of a challenge from my “angel” baby. A challenge it has been indeed! Seems these days I can’t get anything done, or go anywhere in the house without my little shadow following me around. Sometimes it’s sweet and endearing. He’s my baby! My last one! And he loves me so much he can’t stand to be apart from me! But then reality sets in and I realize I’d really love to just go to the bathroom without a baby pawing at my legs, and I’d love for him to revert back a little bit, to the laid-back babe who was content to watch the world go by.
I talked a bit about his changing personality a couple of weeks ago, and with this new found independence and mobility, he’s also become more dependent than ever before. It’s a strange concept, but one I remember quite vividly with my other 2 babies as well. Developmentally it’s quite normal for babies who learn something new, which gives them a bit more freedom and independence, like crawling or walking, to feel a bit conflicted with this independence. They want to get out and explore the world, yet when they are given the space and freedom to do so, they question it a bit and pull back. It’s commonly displayed in the way they will lunge to get out of your arms, and the second you release them from your grasp and set them on the floor to freedom, they holler to be picked right back up. It’s a constant tug-pull all day long. They holler to be let down, and once you do, they holler to be picked right back up.
This uncharted territory is new for them, and a bit scary. They want the freedom that comes with mobility, but it scares them a little so they want to know mom or dad’s loving arms are near by to scoop them right back up when they need it.
So as frustrating and confusing as this clinginess can be, it’s totally normal and right on track with typical developmental milestones.
I write these words out as much for myself as for you, the reader. Because right now, this new case of clinginess from my otherwise relaxed and easy-going baby, has me going a little bonkers. I feel blessed by my baby’s deep desire for my arms, but at the same time, I’d love to have 5 minutes to make his breakfast without his cute little hands pawing up my legs. But I know all too well that this stage is short lived and he’ll soon be too busy to cling to my pant legs, looking at me with those sweet eyes, begging to be picked up.
In the moment, it’s all too easy to get caught up with what needs to be done, or how challenging the current situation is. But on reflection, it’s important to realize these days pass too quick and know that eventually, we’ll have the bathroom to ourselves again. For now, I’ve got my little shadow along with me, through every meal prepared and bathroom break. And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.