This Is All Happening Way Too Fast.

I was sitting next to Ellie this morning, watching Dora the Explorer with her, and I leaned over and kissed her cheek and without missing a beat (or taking her eyes off the TV) she swatted at my face, and wiped her cheek off and said, “No Mommy!  That’s mmmyyyyyy cheek.  Don’t kiss it please.”

I said, “Oh well excuse me, I thought you liked my kisses.”

She didn’t even look up.  And for a brief moment I found myself so incredibly nostalgic for those newborn days when I would literally wear my daughter for hours at a time.  Yes, those days, when my nipples would bleed, and I would call my sister (who had a baby 3 days after I did) and whisper into the phone (whisper because Ellie was asleep in my arms and I was fearful of the screaming punishment I would receive if I startled her), “Ummmm…do you take the baby with you to the bathroom and keep nursing her?”

And my sister would say, “Uh, yea…I just did that ten minutes ago.  It’s all fine as long as she isn’t screaming.”

And I would say, “This needs to end at some point…we can not wear our children forever.  This is crazy.  If that baby comes near my breast one more time, I am going to lose it.”

And today, with a dismissal of a kiss, I found myself missing those moments.   A second later I flashed back to times when I clearly recall my parents giving me a kiss, prompting me to do the EXACT same thing that Ellie did to me this morning. And I remember both my mom and dad saying, “You can’t wipe off my kiss…when you try to wipe it off your cheek, you are only rubbing it in.”  And I would get even more annoyed at their loving presence.

I know it’s normal and healthy for toddlers to start to define their boundaries, even when it is in the most maddening and insensitive manner possible.  But today was the first day that I wanted to rewind time, and go back and enjoy some of those earlier moments that inspired Ellie’s nickname, “Snuggle Buggle Bear” (Buggles for short).  This nickname came about because she would burrow her head under my neck, squirm her little butt up as high on my chest as she could get, and then she would twirl the hair at the nape of my neck until she nodded off.  The girl knew how to snuggle from the moment she was out of my womb.

Even now, when I look back at these pictures, I can not believe how large my newborn was. She is only about 12 pounds bigger now.

Perfect fit.

And that hair twirling was an integral part of her routine. When she got a little older, she would actively pull a piece of my hair out of my bun, so that she could twirl away when I got home from work, as I carried her around the apartment and haphazardly tried to make dinner.  I remember one night, being up with her at 3am, rocking and rocking and rocking her, trying to get her to go back to sleep and she was twirling and twirling and twirling my hair, and I was blessed with the clarity and the foresight to know that she wouldn’t always twirl my hair, and that one day I would miss it a lot.

And as I am typing this, I am getting all weepy because I don’t remember the last time she twirled my hair…but I do know it hasn’t happened in the last month or so.  And now, my very snuggly, very clingy child, is dodging kisses?

Ouch.  The longing for one more moment like that is ten times more intense than that first burst of teenage love…you know that feeling, when you can’t seem to get enough of the person?  Yes.  That feeling.  Multiply times ten…no scratch that – times 100 hundred, and that is how I feel right now.  I just want one more chance to soak in that type of snuggle.

Ya know, another clear memory I have from my childhood is when my dad would come and tuck me into bed and give me a kiss goodnight… and he would jokingly push on the top of my head, as if he were trying to shrink me down and say, “Stop growing up so fast!  You need to stay my little girl forever!”  And I would squeal and say, “Daddy!  Stop!  I need to grow up.  You can’t stop that.”

Sadly, despite being only 4-years-old at the time, I was so very right.