SP was a confirmed pacifier-sucker. She loved that thing, and it was the best soother around. But when she was sick, and her nose was all stuffed up, she couldn’t use her pacifier and breathe at the same time. So I became her soother.
The only thing that would calm her down enough to get her to go back to sleep when she was sick (after giving her some pain reliever, of course) was to hold her in my arms and sway. She wouldn’t allow me to sit down in the glider—apparently that wasn’t quite right. And my DH wasn’t allowed to hold her either—apparently that wasn’t quite right either.
So I’d stand in the middle of her bedroom, her sweaty, feverish forehead resting on my shoulder, and I’d sway. I’d twist at the waist; I’d bend side to side; I’d rock forward and back. As long as I was holding her tight and moving, she was happy. And eventually, she’d fall asleep deep enough for me to lower her back down into her crib.
This was our pattern. We both knew what she needed, and I delivered. But one night, at about 2 a.m., it became more than just a regular step in our routine. As I stood there swaying, exhausted, my arms straining under the weight of her pudgy little body, I realized that she needed me. Me!
Sure, she’d needed me before, but it had always seemed sort of clinical. She needed to be fed, I fed her. She needed to be changed, I changed her. But this time, it wasn’t just what I was doing for her physically, it’s who I was.
She needed me emotionally. She needed to know I was there with her, protecting her, and that it was ok to fall back asleep. It wasn’t about the prop—the glider, the pacifier, the toy. It was about her mom holding her.
It was the first time I remember truly having that connection with her, and it’s one of my sweetest memories.