Hubby and I have three awesome kids, and I love each of them with all my heart.
We have a ‘baby’ boy. All of a sudden he is 15 months old but with so many helpers around he is yet to take a single unassisted step. When he can toddle without help from furniture or human hands, I will call him a toddler. Until then, he’s our baby. Nuzzling into his neck and taking a big milky sniff is one of my greatest pleasures. He is our little angel. Our Master Perfect.
We also have a six year old girl. She is our eldest, and a sensitive soul. Anxious to please, thoughtful, sweet, clever, and often away with the fairies. Actual fairies. She feels her emotions keenly, and I relate well to her because she reminds me of me. It’s easy – cuddles, games, listening, reading, talking, more cuddles. More, more, more.
And then we have our “middle child” who will turn three in less than a month. She is a little hurricane of energy. She is clever and independent and wilful and stubborn and very funny. She is also impossible to figure out.
At night when I try to talk with her about her day she rolls her eyes and tells me to start reading the story for goodness sake. I rub her back after lights out and she asks me to please leave. When she’s sick, I yearn for her to lie in my arms and fall asleep. Sometimes she does, and it’s bliss. But normally she just takes her medicine and sends me on my way. She likes to dance with me, but makes it very clear I am not allowed to sing along with the music.
In short, she quite regularly gives me the brush off.
On the odd occasions when she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming after a nightmare, or clings to my leg when I say goodbye at day care, or comes running to me in a blind rage at some injustice inflicted by her older sister, I always feel surprised and relieved. While I try to show concern, inside I am celebrating. Because I have proof: I am her Mum, and she needs me. No matter what she might think.
But then before I have finished savouring the feeling of her hot tears on my neck, she wriggles out of my arms and marches purposefully away…
Will she always be this elusive? I find myself hoping not, but I love her and I know I must embrace her exactly the way she is. Regardless, I do hope she will always cry hot tears on my neck whenever she is hurt or scared or lonely.
For now, I guess I will continue to rub her back and talk about her day until she tells me to hurry up and get on with the story. I will hide my hurt feelings, snuggle up close to her warm little body, and read “The Diggingest Dog” for the three hundredth time. And then I will rush to kiss her goodnight before she rolls over and asks me to leave…