Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Snuggle Game

Our youngest daughter Paige, who will be four in a few weeks, desperately needed a nap today. Of course she didn't think she needed a nap so the ten minutes preceding the start of nap time were full of wailing, gnashing of teeth and throwing of things she normally can't sleep without like her "soft pillow, flower blankie, and ni nite." Part of the nap time routine each day is her insistence that I "lay by her for five minutes" which means I have to lay on the floor by her cute toddler sleigh bed until she falls asleep. If she's feeling really feisty, she'll up the anty to a "million jillion minutes."

Normally I relish this forced time out in each day, but I was babysitting my friend's 16-month-old baby, Sammy, who had already indulged in his afternoon nap. He also happened to be tired of Alli, our my five-going-on-twenty-five year old daughter, who wants nothing more than to be a mom and have her own baby to smother whenever she wants but settles for smothering Sammy every chance she gets.

My nap time solution was for all of us to take a "nap" with Paige. We piled into her room and got situated. Me laying on the floor next to her bed with Sammy sitting on my chest, "nukie and bubby" in hand. Paige flopping around, grumbling about not being tired, and settling on top of the pile of blankets and pillows she had piled at the foot of her bed in protest. Alli, who outgrew her nap I think before she was born and can't sit still to save her life, trying her best to lay still on the floor next to me because she couldn't bear the thought of being away from Sammy for five minutes. And finally, Dusty, our dog, who joined the party and settled at my feet.

As I felt the weight of Sammy sitting on my chest the memories of having babies came flooding back. The sweet smell of skin saturated with lotion and saliva from too many kisses, the gentle tickle of soft, whispy baby hair on my cheek, the euphoria of a chubby arm draped under my neck, the tender caress of wrinkled fat fingers mindlessly rubbing soft fabric of treasured blankets, and the rhythmic cadence of a chest rising up and down in peaceful slumber.

In that moment, it didn't matter that Sammy was already well-rested. I was adamant he was going to snuggle with me and take me back to babyland. I gently pushed his head to my chest and he surprised me by agreeing to snuggle. He laid his sweet smelling head next to my cheek and I stroked his soft hair and reveled in the weight of a baby on my chest again for the first time in a LONG time. He periodically sat up to look around, and each time I held my breath to see if he'd lay his head back down. And he did, each time settling back down cheek to cheek. We played the snuggle game, me, Sammy and Dusty snuggling, Alli flopping on the floor like a fish out of water but believing in her mind that she was holding still, and Paigey trying her best NOT to fall asleep, for approximately "five minutes" until Paige gave in to sweet slumber and Sammy decided he was done. It was heavenly.

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