I held a baby today. A toddler, really. A petite and precocious 16-month-old.
It’s been ages, pre-pandemic, since I have.
I used to turn down holding babies– they felt precarious, and would often wake up and cry once in my arms, sensing my hesitation. (But a room full of four-year-olds? No problem! Give me some puppets and I was set for 45 minutes.)
Then I had my own, and I thought, “Oh… This is why people do this.” And then, to my surprise, still didn’t crave holding other people’s babies. I’d offer, because I knew from experience how often a mom just needs a break, just a little bodily autonomy. But I didn’t become a GIMMETHEBABY lady.
But every now and then there’s a child who is so cute, so magnetic, so magical, that I want to snatch her up.
Emmaline sure is.
And that weight– nothing’s like the heft of a twenty pound pre-verbal human on your hip, part sack of potatoes part koala. The way they lean in (or spontaneously out, trusting you completely to compensate for gravity), the dance it puts your body into, the feeling of providing ballast and balance for some small and sacred thing.
It brings up the physical memory of my own child asleep on my chest, cinched close in the sling, hugging my back on a hike, curved like a kitten against my body in the middle of the bed.
I’m very happily done bringing babies into the world, very satisfied to be learning what Mom-ing an almost eleven-year-old feels like… And also so glad to steal someone’s tiny human now and then and catch a whiff of whatever came before all This.