“They don’t love you like this when they’re older.”
It’s 7:30 am. I’m sitting in bed, beside my slumbering 8-month-old daughter. I’m up writing this post, though technically I’ve been up since 4:42 am when she first cried out in the early morning darkness.
There is baby monitor in the babies’ area, which is essentially pointless because we share the one wall that exists in our 800 sq ft condo. There is no door to the twins’ area, only three panels of curtains that we recently installed, which is why I call it an “area” vs. a nursery.
My point here is that thanks to our close proximity, and the static-laden monitor camera, her cries were amplified to a degree that no sleep-deprived new mom (or dad) wants to hear before the sun comes up.
Early Wakings & Alligator Tears //
She doesn’t do this very often these days. She dropped the night feeds a few months ago, allowing her dad and I to sleep longer than the standard 2-3 hour blocks. When she does wake up early, depending on the severity and type of cry, we usually give her a few minutes to settle herself before taking any action. Today, she wailed for nearly 20 minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore. My husband roused himself from his duvet cocoon, and went to make sure she hadn’t wedged herself into the corner of the crib, as she does regularly.
She was lying dead center of the mattress, crying big alligator tears, begging to be picked up. We are not co-sleepers, really. But with twins, it’s far easier (and way more comfortable) to do their first feeding in bed, so we’ve adopted the habit of bringing them in for a tandem feed, sometimes allowing all four of us to drift back to sleep.
Ain’t No Party Like a Sunrise Party//
Today was different. After feeding, Baby Girl wanted to play. She was up, fully awake, ready to start her day… at 5:05 a.m. My son woke up shortly after, also ready to play.
Us adults existed in a sleepy haze, praying for the babies to come to their senses about their state of exhaustion. But the twins were essentially living their best lives; exploring the space in between me and my husband, each of us glued to the ends of our king-sized mattress acting as barriers to the cold wooden floor. Crawling back and forth from mom to dad for cuddles, tickles, and laughs, my tiny humans played lovingly, yet fiercely, for the next hour.
At 6:00 am, I took the Little Man out to feed him breakfast and play in the living room so that daddy and Baby Girl could maybe fall back asleep for an extra 30 minutes. The time evaporated as a muffled alarm sounded signaling it was time for hubs to get ready for work. I worked on getting Little Man down for a nap in his crib. Thankfully, he didn’t put up a fight ( I suppose 2+ hours of intense playing sandwiched by two breakfasts can really tire out a baby), but I couldn’t help but worry how this was going to screw over my schedule for the day.
I went back in to rock Baby Girl to sleep and see if I could successfully transfer her as well in an attempt try to at least keep the twins on the same schedule, albeit an unusual one. She fell asleep in my arms, nuzzling my sleep shirt, hands gripped tight onto the skin near my collarbone. It hurt like hell but was also adorable, so I let her stay that way – my own personal koala.
Friendly Advice to a New Mom //
As I made the cautious, slow descent to place her down into her crib, she whimpered softly. Her eyes fluttered open ever so gently and once she focused on me, she smiled. A sleepy, dreamy, baby smile. She tightened her grip on me and buried her head upwards into my shoulder nook.
It was then I remember something a friend of mine had uttered when she stopped by to see the babies a week earlier. She was holding my son and he wasn’t so sure about who this new person was, and he turned frantically to find me with outstretched arms. This was a first, behaviorally, for him. We haven’t really had any mommy-attachment issues, just yet. Nor were we in the realm of “stranger danger”.
“Enjoy it,” she said to me as he left her to snuggle into my upper body. “They don’t love you like this when they’re older.”
It stuck with me. Because it’s true.
Snuggles Don’t Last Forever//
When is the last time you really hugged your mom? Or your dad? Like, really hugged them. And not because they gave you a gift. Not because it was a scheduled celebration. Not because of a tragedy. Just hugged them because you loved them. Because they mean everything to you. Because they literally gave you every part of themselves to raise you, something you never understood yourself until you became a parent.
It made me wonder when our babies would stop snuggling us. Stop needing to, stop wanting to. Would they be 4, 5 years old? Would it be when they developed some independence or when it wasn’t cool anymore to hug your mom? When would snuggling my babies be annoying to them?
Why did I feel annoyed now, sometimes, when they wanted or needed extra snuggles from me?
I felt sad. Guilty, even. Why was I in such a rush to put my babies down this morning? What did I think I was going to accomplish, at 6:30 a.m., beyond taking a shower or making coffee?
Instead of placing her in the crib, I clutched my daughter up to my chest and held her tight. She squeezed me back, just enough to warm me from the inside out. I took her back into bed with me and decided I would let her sleep on me, as long as she needed to. After 30 minutes, she moved to sleep by my side, one hand still clutching my shirt. I watched her, hand on her back, my heart melting with every passing second.
Every Hug Counts//
It’s now 9:30 a.m. and she’s still sleeping. It’s one of the best naps she’s had in days. I can hear her brother rustling in his crib and I can’t wait to go pick him up and see the excitement on his face when he starts the second part of his day, fresh with mommy snuggles.
It’s not that I don’t snuggle my babies. I do — every day. No one can ever say these babies are not loved or hugged enough by myself or my husband. But I never stopped to think that one day they might not hug me back. And that day might be sooner than I thought.
Gone already are the days I could rock with them in our glider, one in each arm, singing classic Bowie tunes. It’s nearly impossible to even read them a story without one of them wiggling away, off to explore something much more interesting, like the empty Amazon box sitting by the front door. They’re mobile-ish now. And that already translates to less mommy-and-me time.
So, new mom, I know you’re existing in the same haze that I am. Stressed, overtired, underfed, maybe even feeling unworthy of the little ones in your care. It’s ok. Believe me, you are doing great. But, if you do anything today, I suggest you ignore the world for five minutes and snuggle your babies when they put their arms out for you. When they don’t want to sit with dad or grandma, they just want you.
I’m going to do the same because I don’t want to look back and think that I was so overwhelmed by being a new mom that I forgot to snuggle back.
Got baby fever? Check out my other mama related posts here.