Right now you’re tucked into a wrap on my chest. I keep you close. I consider you a very easy baby. Not many would. I cannot put you down without your voice raising as you cry out to me. Nine months inside my body, one month inside a wrap. You snuggle up to my heartbeat, skin to skin. There are not many other places where you are simply content, and those other places are always in someone’s arms. I suspect that you might easily be labeled a “high needs baby”, or maybe you’d learn to settle quickly if I let you cry a while. I don’t need to find out.
You are my companion. You lay your fuzzy baby head against my chest when you sleep, your hands tucked up near your face where you like them. When you wake up you push against me with your hands, leaning your head back against the gauze that holds you. I know immediately when you are awake and I greet you with a smile as I greet your older brothers every morning. At one month old you hold your head up, you look at my face, you meet my eyes, you smile at me when you’ve bobbed your head up and have it steady, proud that you have found the source of my voice. I know immediately when you’re hungry as your head starts seeking around my collarbone and your little mouth looks for something. I know when you need a diaper change, as you pull your legs up and kick them against my belly. When you cough I am right there to make sure you are okay. I know the rhythm of your breathing, your heartbeat. I can whisper “bless you” when you sneeze. I know what you need without needing to decipher a cry that comes after all those little attempts to communicate that are far too easy to miss in separation.
I keep you close, and meeting your needs is automatic. You are not that baby in the swing that needs a diaper change. We need a diaper change because your discomfort becomes my own. In our closeness, we are still a part of one another. Meeting your needs is meeting my own, and your voice seldom escalates into a cry.
I pluck you out for diaper changes, for baths, for nursing sometimes. To hand over to your daddy, your grandma, your grandpa, and your brothers for snuggles.
You are secure, content. You have freedom of movement within your ability to move. As you grow, the wrap will stretch and become unable to contain you as you pop your arms out the top and lean further and further away to see all of the things of the world that surrounds you. I’ll pluck you out and lower you to the floor to sit next to your brothers and I as we play. You’ll start to crawl, to walk. When you want to be carried I’ll tuck you into your familiar pouch. When you want to be free I’ll help you climb out. This is your temporary home, just as my belly used to be. And you will decide when you’re done with being carried.
You are not a burden to carry, an inconvenience to manage. I don’t carry you as part of a method that I read about in a book. And I don’t push you away because of a method that I read in a book. I do not respond to your cries because an author convinced me that I should, and I do not ignore you because another author believes that is the way. I keep you close because that is where you belong at this stage of your life. You are an infant, and you belong in my arms, against my chest, at the breast, near my heart. This is what my instincts say. This is what my heart says. This is what you say. And I listen.