She's a Klingon!
Self-Disclosure: I had to Google “Klingon” because the only thing I know about them is that they have bumpy foreheads and they look pretty mean. After my exhaustive research, I’m satisfied with the conclusion that my daughter Maggie is not, in fact, a Klingon, but more of a Clinger.
I was blessed enough that my oldest son, Matthew, was a self-soothing, independent boy. Never needed a pacifier, rarely needed to be rocked to sleep (though sometimes I sang to him), and is overall good-natured. He plays independently, and only crawls up onto your lap or sits by you when he’s tired. I got spoiled.
When my twins were born at 36 weeks, still technically premature, Michael outweighed Maggie by a little over a pound. She was a little wrinkly, to put it kindly. Ok, she looked like an emptied-out couch cushion. When they were born, Maggie didn’t take well to food, her body temperature wasn’t stable like Michael’s, and “kangaroo care” was urged by the hospital.
Obviously, I was absolutely on board with this. I wanted her to grow up big and strong so she could take on her brothers and the rest of the world, so I kept her, naked, under my shirt during most days. Despite the instinctual drive to care for my newborn, I would think to myself, “I hope she doesn’t become clingy.”
Fast forward to almost six months later…
“She only likes you, Steph.”
“You’re the only one who makes her stop crying.”
“Here. You take her. You’re the only one she likes.”
“Look at how she loves her Momma!!”
Now, I am in no way ungrateful for my strong, beautiful, healthy girl, but holy mackerel, that girl needs CONSTANT attention. It’s almost as if she doesn’t realize she’s got two brothers. I have justified it as this: She’s so intelligent that she requires ongoing stimulation. That’s how I get through my days (my long, long days).
And again, not that I don’t LOVE this, but she yanks my hair, sticks her fingers in my mouth and up my nose, gnaws on my knuckles, shrieks directly into my ears, grabs and squeezes pieces of my face, and blows raspberries in my eyes – and she’d do it all day, every day, if she could.
Still, all well and good, except I have two other babies, a house to manage, and a husband who works a rotating schedule.
I call her my koala, mainly because when I was a little girl, my uncle bought me one of those – and I hope someone here remembers what I am talking about - animals whose shoulders you pinched and the arms opened up and you let go and they held on. Sort of like a chip clip, but in animal form. If I pick her up, she clings to me, for dear life, it seems, cheek buried in my chest, as if we were being circled by hungry lions.
My husband and I joke that she should have been born into a tribe somewhere. Amir even calls her “Bush Baby” when he’s not calling her “Señorita Discontente”.
Because of my desire to move freely, and the fact that I don’t really subscribe to Attachment Parenting, I often encourage other people to hold and play with her. Much of the time, however, she’s returned to me with the disclaimer, “Here. I don’t know what she wants. I think she wants you.” Damn. Really? Because I’m feeding Michael and Matthew is running back and forth dropping his toys on Michael’s head and I think I might want to take a shower at some point today.
As much as this all “bothers” me, though, I have to say that I’ve honestly experienced nothing in my life like the joy that overtakes her body, the way her eyes light up and her little (loud) gummy mouth breaks into a huge smile, as she screams with happiness and flaps her arms when she sees me. Also, I don’t think she’ll be doing this (at least to this degree) much longer. Both of the twins are rolling around and beginning to lift themselves up into a crawling position. If she’s as curious as I feel she will be, I am going to be lucky when or if she decides to be anywhere near me.
So, I find a way to accommodate her, because in the blink of an eye, she will be going off to the movies with her friends and begging to be dropped off a block away from school.
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