Getting Physical, Baby

A year ago, for the first five months of his life, I spent every night holding my second son to sleep. Chest to chest, his head would be lolling slightly on my shoulder, mouth open just so, tired eyes finally closed.

I would feel his weight, comfortable in my arms, all 15 pounds of soft baby and fuzzy hair, warmly nestled where he should be. I listened to his gentle breathing, slowing, as he fell into deeper sleep. Only then, did I dare lower him into his crib, tucking him under the linen swaddle blanket. I would watch my 4 month old for a few more minutes, willing him fervently to stay asleep. Then quietly, I would stealthily back out of his room. I would miss his solid baby-ness in my now empty arms as soon as I shut the door.

Arms never empty
I joked once that with two children now, my arms will never truly be empty. That is my truth, and a reality I love. A year ago, no sooner would I lay the baby down for his nap or bedtime, my toddler would come barreling into me, throwing his arms around my neck and I would be surprised at how big he seemed. As we walked hand in hand, his small one in my slightly big one, I marveled again at how much he has grown, his fingers once a third the size of mine, now half as long. His head, a mop of messy brown hair, was once fuzzy like his baby brother’s. I mussed his not-so-little head, and wondered when he grew so tall, he had reached my waist.

Growing up fast
That toddler is now an even taller preschooler, the only remnants of toddlerhood, his still-chubby cheeks. The baby is now the toddler, his baby-ness still evident, but in elongated arms and legs, and less so in all the things that 15 month olds do – walking, running, climbing, saying words, feeding himself, drinking water from a cup.

So much has changed, and yet, nothing has changed. I still hold their small (but bigger) hands, fingers entwined. My oldest still cuddles with me, sitting in my lap, arms around my neck like before. His little brother still loves to be held to sleep, although only for a minute. There is so much I still do for them, but so much that I don’t anymore.

This is the tangible part of motherhood I love so much. Feeling their hands in mine, hearing their voices and laughs, squeezing them close to me. This is love in all its physicalness.

What part of your children’s physicalness do you enjoy the most?

Published on: August 27, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Alison Lee

Alison traded in launch parties, product launches, international press junkets and world travel, for sippy cups and diapers, breastfeeding and potty training. Alison has been actively over-sharing stories of motherhood on her blog, Writing, Wishing since 2011.

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Recent Comments

That whole thing with having the newborn sleep on you? If I live to be a thousand and seven, that will remain my most favoritest memory of having little little ones.

And soon you’ll be able to experience it again!!

It is truly special!

This explains why my parents got two dogs after we all left home. :)

I am constantly looking at my boys’ hands and fingers. Trying to imagine what they would look like when they’re grown. Sigh.

I already really miss the real babyness. My littlest is acting all big now. Sigh. Rationality and practicality has won over here too.

I really love this post…b/c I never really thought of the physicalness of being a mom and how much we do it. Great post!

Thank you, Natalie!

I think it’s great that they still hug at home. :)

When one of my kids leaves the room, the other one enters. Even though they need me less and less these days, they are never too far from my sight, and for that I’m grateful.

Each of our kids grabbed our hands on recent outings. I loved that.

I love that they still grab your hands. It gives me great hope that my boys will not think they’re too big to do so when they’re 10 and 12.

Beautiful post, indeed! Some of my favorite times are cozy early mornings and the starting-to-get-sleepy cuddles at the end of the day.

But sometimes just being active together is its own kind of physical connection. We biked together quite a lot in August, and it was great.

Sounds like a great summer was had by all!

Beautiful post! The hands of time are quick.

They are indeed, Jess!

When they could hug back. There is nothing like feeling their little arms wrapped around your neck, squeezing all their love into you.

Aw, yes!! I love it. All of it.

My son turns 12 next week and not a day goes by that we hug, same with my 16 year old daughter. You are right – it’s a part of motherhood that is very special and I love it as well :)

Your kids are so special, Kerstin.