Don't Let Me Down

My daughter has turned into a koala bear.

That fiercely independent little girl surprised me last night with a milestone that I didn't know how I would handle. The "Mommy-Mommy-I-Want-Mommy" phase.

CeCe-Bear was asleep when Matt brought her home from daycare yesterday. I picked her up from her crib after her nap, transferred her to the living room and exited to the kitchen so I could proceed to make dinner. Before I hit the stovetop I heard the crying.

Matt: "I think she is either hungry ... or she wants you."

Ding Ding Ding! Correct, sir. The moment I scooped my little one back up the tears stopped.

Preparing dinner with a curious and clingy 11-month-old on your hip is neither easy nor safe. Ripping open packages with my teeth and picking up dropped utensils with my monkey-toes is hardly what I would want to see in someone else's kitchen. I can see the new Food Network series now: "Cooking as a Working Mom." Today's specialty: Hamburger Helper ... AND a bagged salad. Cue the audience "Oooooh!"

I tried to switch the babe from my arm to Matt's, the floor or the high chair and Miss Clingy Pants wasn't having any of it. Her tiny little fist had my sleeve balled up inside of it, and she wasn't letting go. When an attempt was made to lower and release, she turned into a suction cup toy, dangling from my shoulder.

Eventually some cheesy ravioli was able to distract her and she thoroughly enjoyed her dinner seated in her own chair. But this morning the "Don't Leave Meeeeeeeee!" cries continued as I tried to make her breakfast.

My feelings about this clinginess are mixed. On one hand, I don't want my child to have anxiety about me leaving her. She needs to be comfortable playing on her own and I know there is a line where comfort turns into coddling. But on the other hand, I have a semi-guilty enjoyment about being wanted so badly. It means she knows Mama means Love.

All too soon she will be a teenage girl who will be too cool to be kissed, she won't see me as her only source of comfort, and our conversations will turn from "Yes ma'am, you are the cutey-wutey-cutest!" into "Absolutely NO belly button ring!"

I'm going to do my best to enjoy my koala bear while I have her full attention, because I know that soon enough Matt will be the recipient of this clingy sweetheart and I'll have to wait for my turn again.

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