My O always goes to sleep on the crook of my arm. My right arm. When she was just a baby, it was my left arm, so that she could hear my heart beat (i remembered a colleague, years ago, telling me that he always put his baby to sleep by laying her across the left side of his chest, as it soothed the lil one). Of late it’s the right arm, because I am attached to the left side of the bed. Once she is asleep, I transfer her to her cot, or R does when he comes home and stakes claim to his part of the bed.
The crook of my arm has been hers from the day she was born. Even on days I’ve had bad neck or back pain, I would cradle her for a short while.
My mother has been advising me to stop this habit for a while… but I haven’t been able to. Now I know it’s time to wean her off my arm. But how, because I know when Plus makes an appearance s/he will be cradled too… it’s the easiest way to put the baby to sleep. By cradling it in your arm, and just letting your body warmth soothe it to sleep. Better than rocking and marching up and down the room.
This is not my only worry — O is an independent little girl. When she was just 15 months old, R and I took off for a couple of days, leaving her with my mum. And she was fine. She travelled alone to India when she was just 5+ years.
She is reasonable about my work hours, about my schedule, that I am not the cooking-fresh-meals kind of mum (though she wants me to be)… but of late she has been a bit more clingy. She is not very happy about me leaving her at home with the baby sitter late in the evenings. She refuses to listen to reason.
That’s when I realise that she is not yet a girl, she is still my little baby, who eagerly awaits another, but yet has her fears. Which she doesn’t voice — probably scared that I will change my mind. After all she has been at us for 2 years now, demanding a bro or sis.
She has made expansive promises on how she will help take care of the baby. I only hope she doesn’t dip it in her bath water, holding it by the hair, the way she does her dolls.
I talk to her and try to tell her gently that things will change in a few months, and that she has a role to play too.
A friend suggested that I tell her that she would always be the most special as she came first. But I can’t ever do that, given that I’m the youngest of 4, and am never allowed to forget (by my siblings) that I probably was an after thought!
It would be easiest to tell her that everything will be hunky-dory and her Amma will still have all the time in the world for her, even later. Easy, but untrue… I am hoping reasoning and understanding will hold me in good stead.
When I tell her, that it’s the turn of Plus to lie in the crook of my arm, I hope she smiles and says go ahead.
But knowing how insecure I can get, I am sure I would take that as a personal rejection as well.