As a child, and still as an adult, I love the "Little House on the Prairie" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yesterday, as I was hurrying around my kitchen as fast as I could, I thought of the title of the first chapter of The Long Winter: "Make Hay While the Sun Shines." My mind changed the words to my situation: make haste while the baby sleeps!
Solomon was napping and I was working as fast as I could to get some essential things done before he woke up. I'm sure most moms can identify with that! Though I've always held all my babies a lot, Solomon has been different. From the start he has wanted me to hold him almost constantly. I even learned to sleep while holding him.
We moved 3 weeks after he was born and this proved to be difficult for me. I wanted to hurry and get things unpacked. But Solomon would cry and cry unless I was holding him. Or he was napping. As he's grown, he's gotten more independent of course, happy being near me and playing. (As long as I don't make eye contact! Then it's all over and he wants me to hold him.) But then a week or two ago, he has started wanting me to hold him much more again. Of course there are times I just have to sit him down because I need both hands to do something. When I do he will cry. Well not just cry. He cries so furiously hims arms shake. I can't figure out if he's shaking because he's just really upset - or if it's plain old rage.
I've learned to do much more with one hand than I knew was possible. This picture is from a few months ago. Solomon is helping me feed my wild sourdough starter. Something he still does with me:
I do have several baby carriers that I use often. They are a real blessing. But there are just some things that I can not do with my big boy in the carrier!
I admit there are times when I feel very frustrated, and yes, have even felt angry. (Like when I was trying to unpack or am trying to get dinner made.) Feeling angry because my son is crying for me to hold him? Yes. And that makes me feel immensely guilty. I think of friends that are childless and want a baby so bad. And I think of Lilly and how I wish I could hold her again. And that makes me feel guilty for getting frustrated at times at Solomon's immense need to be held by me.
That's when trying to see the situation in a different light helps me. I believe that God gives us the exact children He wants us to have. So I know that He knows that having a clingy baby is best for me. And I know that having this baby in my arms has brought me more healing, from the loss of Lilly, than I thought possible.
Several months ago, I read an article entitled "Carry Them in Your Arms" by Nancy Campbell, in the February issue of Above Rubies magazine. This article was such a beautiful response to my baby-that-wants-to-be-carried-all-the-time dilemma. Nancy asks:
"have you stopped to think what you are really doing when you carry your baby? You are revealing a glimpse of what God is like. You couldn't do anything more powerful than that, could you? He is the tender Shepherd who loves to hold us in His arms. Isaiah 40:11 describes Him, 'He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.'"
Nancy also writes, "When you carry your baby in your arms, you are like the Great Shepherd of the sheep. It is not a nuisance. It is not time-wasting. It is God-like. It is so much part of the character of God, that He not only carries us when we are helpless babies, but right through our lives, even to our golden years."
Wow. This was just such a beautiful picture to me, that it greatly lessened my frustration. (And honestly, now that I'm over post-pregnancy hormonal issues, that has made a huge difference too! I will share about that, and a great help, in a future post.)
I know Solomon will only be small for a short time. (And I know some days are so exhausting they feel like forever!) So I will do my best to enjoy all the time he wants to be in my arms and try to remember to thank God for every minute, as I also pray for help in getting essential things done!
And really, having a little child's soft trusting arms squeezing around my neck, is one of the most precious feelings on earth.