This week neither me nor Squidge have been very well. He’s been streaming with yet another cold and appears to be attempting to cut his third tooth and I’ve caught said cold from the little germ factory. I’ve also been struggling with panic attacks and my medication not working as effectively as usual.
All in all it’s been a week where lots of cuddles have been the order of the day.
Squidge isn’t usually a very cuddly little boy; he likes a snuggle if he’s sleepy but usually he’s too busy exploring the world and testing whether or not things are stable enough for him to climb. Apparently I was exactly the same at his age and my mum could always tell is I didn’t feel well because I’d suddenly want lots of cuddles.
I like the fact that Squidge is independent. It means that he loves nursery and has a wonderful time there on the two days a week that I go to work. There are no tears or clinging when the Northern One drops him off and his little end of the day report always says how smiley and cheery he’s been.
At home he’s always scooting around the floor with his toys and is quite happy to let me sit on the sofa and write or to get things done around the house. We still have plenty of time where he sits on my lap and we sing or read stories but he’s not constantly clinging to my leg or wanting to be picked up.
This week, however has been rather different.
On Tuesday I didn’t even get a shower until it was nearly evening because Squidge had spent the whole day wanting to be picked up and snuggled. Even though he was exhausted after having been repeatedly up in the night he refused to nap on his own. In the end I managed to get him to nod off snugged up in bed with me and accidentally ended up with a two hour nap of my own, hence the very late shower.
On the one hand it was a bit irritating; I didn’t feel great and really needed some time to myself, if not to write then to just sit quietly and have a bit of me time in which to collect my thoughts. Every time I’d tried to put Squidge down to go to the loo or make him a drink he’d cried and had crawled after me as fast as he could shouting “Mumumumumumum” and so by the time the Northern One got home I was exhausted and panicky and I just needed some peace.
On the other hand, I haven’t had so many snuggles with Squidge since he was a tiny baby and I realised how much I’d missed them, especially as looking back at the early days I probably missed out. I was so determined that I was going to try not to ‘spoil’ him that as soon as he looked like he’d gone to sleep I’d put him down in his pram or his cot and start doing things. What I should have been doing was making the most of this sleepy, snuggly time but I was trying so hard to find my new ‘normal.’
So afraid of slipping back to where I’d been before.
I can think of few things more lovely than having a warm, sleeping baby snuggled in your arms, preventing you from anything apart from stroking their hair, holding their little hands and listen to their sleepy little noises.
It gets a weeny bit less wonderful when you’re hungry, un-showered and bursting for the loo but you know that if you move at all your gorgeous sleeping baby will transform into a wailing banshee because you’ve disturbed them before they’ve had enough sleep. Something which is entirely their fault because if they’d just gone down for a nap in their lovely comfy cot, with soothing music, freshly laundered blankets and collection of cuddly toys then we wouldn’t be having this issue…
When I started writing this post Squidge was snuggled up in bed with me. The Northern One had gone to work and it was just the two of us cuddled up together while I rubbed his back and ran my finger down his little nose to help him close his eyes. It took me back to the very first days and weeks of being a mum when I would bring Squidge into bed with me after his early morning feed. I’d put some relaxing music on, curl up around him and we’d both fall asleep for another couple of hours.
There have been a lot of big bed snuggles and falling asleep cuddles this week and irritating as it occasionally has been, it’s what I’ve needed.
Squidge wanting lots of love and affection makes me feel like I must be doing something right as his mummy otherwise cuddles wouldn’t make everything all right again. When he’s been refusing to nap in his cot but will fall asleep on my lap I feel like I’m getting somewhere with this mummy business.
Too often I feel like a bad mum; I worry that I spend too much time writing and not enough time playing with Squidge, even though he seems perfectly happy. I read him stories and pick him up so he can see out of the windows and comfort him if he cries.
I still don’t feel like it’s enough.
I worry that my depression affects him and that he’ll grow up with memories of a sad, crying mummy as opposed to one who was lots of fun and was always there for him when he was sad or ill. I mostly have lovely, happy memories of my childhood but there are also times that when I remember them I still feel as confused and frightened and rejected as I did on the actual day, sometimes more than twenty years ago.
This week of cuddles and snuggles and napping together with Squidge putting his arms up for me to pick him up or pulling himself up on my leg to ask for a cuddle; showing me that he wants my love and affection have given me hope that maybe it’ll be the love and cuddles that he’ll remember.
And the unshakeable knowledge that I will always, always be there for him.
That I will always have my arms open wide to cuddle him and that I will always be his mummy.