“Mommy hold you.” Hearing that request in a tiny, high-pitched voice turns this normally strong-willed mom into a wish-granting fairy every single time. For reference that request is currently coming out of a 2.5-year-old 35-pound toddler who is at the almost off the chart level for height.
If I had to put a number on it I would say I hear that wish come out of his mouth about 30 times a day. He in turn gets picked up about 30 times a day.
The argument over “spoiling” a child by picking them up starts early. Before my son was born I was a nanny to newborn twins. Their grandmother had a strict ‘do not pick them up’ policy. The babies’ mother relented to her old school advice. She insisted that they would become damaged by all the attention and needed tough love. They were 6 weeks old.
Luckily, I was there to pick them up as often as I could. Long before my own maternal instincts would kick in, I felt a natural instinct to cuddle these babies. There have also been numerous studies done on the impact of touch and human contact for children. It can be shattering if there is no physical contact. If there was ever a time to drop that way of thinking it should be now.
When I had my son a couple years ago, concerned family members would chime in. I would pick my son up every time he would cry and try to comfort him. What was something that felt so natural for me, swung the door wide open to the waves of criticism. Much like the grandmother of the twin babies I had cared for in the past. Unlike back then, I shut that noise off right away in my home.
And my picking up and comforting my son has never stopped. In fact, most of this morning I carted around my little guy. Yes, my arms sometimes hurt and it can be awkward to get anything done during the day, but it’s our mommy/son bonding time. AND I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. In case you were curious, I also have been blessed with a non-sleeper, so I get lots of cuddle time in the middle of night, too. How many nights will I be able to rock him back to sleep?
I have been cautioned by those concerned, that picking up my toddler is creating an attachment issue, a sleep issue and adding an unnecessary physical burden on myself.
But, you know what? I don’t care about what anyone on the outside says. I am picking up my baby/child/toddler as long as I still physically can. One day very soon from what I am told he will be a teenage boy who doesn’t think mom is that cool anymore. He won’t want a hug or a kiss nor will I even have the physical capacity to pick him up (assuming he takes after my Amazonian level height).
I am picking up and holding this guy today, tomorrow, and after that for I don’t know how long. I’m going to soak up these, albeit sleepless, cuddle sessions as long as I possibly can. Come May we’ll be bringing home a new baby. And I will be holding them the same way and just as often. It feels right to me and it is right for us. Besides, now I finally have arm muscles to die for and that has to count for something, right?