Whilst we were attending a family gathering today, Reindeer was very clingy and restless. This was partly due to teething and partly due to being in a loud and bustling environment.
By mid-afternoon he was ridiculously tired but refusing to sleep, unable to settle to either a feed or a nap. Eventually we reached the point where he would only settle if I was holding him to my shoulder. Much as I love cuddling my son, he now weighs in at over 10kg which makes prolonged carrying without a sling or wrap painful.
After a third attempt to leave Reindeer with his dad for a few minutes so I could eat my lunch, he again became quite sad and so came back to me as soon as I’d finished eating. His dad then commented that when he gets like this I’m the only one he’s calm with.
We didn’t go into a deep discussion about it but I realised a few things at that point:
- My husband appears to feel a bit left out/sad that Reindeer isn’t as easily calmed by him as by me
- I have spent a few thousand hours soothing and playing with Reindeer. When he was newborn I walked him for hours at a time talking, singing, dancing and, occasionally, pleading with him to sleep. We play with toys, do the chores, attend groups together, swim, listen to and try to make music
- My husband has done this too but, because he is out at work and I’m on maternity leave, he hasn’t been able to spend anywhere near as much time with Reindeer. He also isn’t as patient as I am, often giving up on singing or walking after a minute or two if there is no obvious effect, whereas I will keep going as long as it takes because I know it will work eventually
- All of the time I have spent with Reindeer has created a bond where he feels very comfortable with me, even if he is tired, sad and overwhelmed. I’m bowled over that I can make him feel safe and calm in a way that no one else can at the moment
A friend is expecting her first child in a couple of months and she asked how you bond with your baby, how you know you’ve bonded with them? I need to tell her that you just know because the bond is overwhelming but that times like today will make it obvious to others too