Why So Needy, Baby? Yesterday You Were Fine Sleeping Alone

She needs me to hold her today because she didn’t need me to hold her yesterday and now she wants closeness to make up for the closeness she didn’t need yesterday because the day before yesterday I held her and snuggled her and told her I loved her SO much that she felt SO secure that she spent the day exploring. And now I need to fill her up again.

She’s an emotional instinctive little creature, not someone speeding headlong along a linear path to complete emotional independence. I’m a home base that she ventures out from as she explores her limits. And then when she looks back and sees me so far away she rushes in close and needs me to hold her again until her curiosity and our closeness reassure her and drive her to explore again.

Just like some days I need my partner to pull me close and tell me that he loves me and reassure me of our closeness.

How big the world must seem to this tiny twenty pound creature. And how far away it must seem to her when she crawls away and turns the corner and I’m gone from sight.

Of COURSE she needs to sleep on my chest today. Of COURSE she goes back and forth between need and independence. Of COURSE she wants me to pull her close and hear the truth in the whispers of “I’m here, little girl. I’m right here with you, and will hold you close for as long as you need me to.”

The laundry can wait until tomorrow when she’s ready to explore again.
The dishwasher can be emptied while she rides close and snug in the wrap on my chest.
And we can snuggle down and cuddle close.
And I can pull her near for kisses…

At least until her little arm pushes away again, and she rocks up onto her hands and knees and crawls away on her merciless journey towards independence.

Today I’ll wait this out so that tomorrow she will be happy to explore content in the knowledge that I am here as her home base whenever she needs me.

3 thoughts on “Why So Needy, Baby? Yesterday You Were Fine Sleeping Alone

  1. What a great attitude! You’re letters convey a very grounded state. I hope you’re actually feeling this way, but even if your letters are as much of a pep talk to yourself as they are to us all, well, I guess that’s pretty great too! My 16 month old is sleeping in the ergo carrier right now after a very very rough night with fever and vomiting… It’s been extra hard and I’m enjoying this quiet moment when I can read nice stuff like your blog! Thanks!

    1. Simone-

      I do feel this way. :) Not 100% of the time.. 100% is impossible. But these letters reflect the thought process that I use on a regular basis to pull me back to that place of understanding and love. They also come from things people say and questions people ask on support forums and parenting boards, and make me reflect on how I respond to similar things.

      With my first it was SO hard because all of the things you hear about parenthood are often profoundly NEGATIVE and when you let those things inside of your head you spend the day feeling like you’re in a fight. I learned early on with him that whole “FIGHT” mentality did not work for me and rubbed me the wrong way. So stepping through the actual things involved in my relationship with him helped me reframe things to what they actually were and made it easier for me to deal with the not so pleasant parts of motherhood.

      Now I’m on child three and I do it like breathing. I’ll get frustrated about my to-do list and feel like today is how it’s going to be for the next three weeks. And then I’ll breathe and remind myself that yesterday was not like today. Yesterday she was SO independent. She just needs some more closeness today.

      So this letter is the end of that process of my making some elbow room for understanding and empathy. I spent about 45 minutes this morning trying to make the room to do laundry, and trying to put her down so she could play with her toys for 10 minutes while I did what needed to be done. She escalated her protests and I went through the process to come to terms with what I expressed in this. We then spent two hours just snuggling and she napped on me. Now she’s sitting on the floor happily banging away on a bowl with a spoon and the laundry’s in the washing machine and lunch is on the stove. :)


  2. Thanks for this post. I’ve kept it up all week as my 5 month old is having majorly good days followed by majorly needy days. Today has been particularly stressful and I appreciate the reminder to be empathetic with this little guy!

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