As a mother, your children, naturally, need you a lot.
They need you from the minute they wake up, until the minute their lights goes out, for a variety of reasons.
With Lylah these include; pulling up bottoms after a wee wee, cue “mummy, this is the hard bit!!”, making her breakfast (even though Miss Independent does get it all out and ready for me these days, she still hasn’t quite stretched to putting it all together, she is only 3 after all!), dressing her, plaiting her hair, helping her put Anna and Elsa’s dresses back on, (then off again, then on again), doing her puzzles, finding the lost parts of Sylvanian Families (they are soooo small!), writing letters, writing numbers, more post-toilet help…it goes on and on and on.
This all runs alongside Malachy also needing me, but needing me far more than Lylah does. From the minute he wakes up, he needs me for comfort, for milk, for basic hygiene, for breakfast, for playing, for moving…he’s a baby, you get it!
Often, all this neediness can get on top of you. Even though you know this motherhood lark is going to be demanding, you never quite realise it for real until its happening to you. And then you get a small segment of your day, where they are maybe both napping at the same time, and there is a fifteen minute period, where no one needs you for a moment. That moment goes far too quickly, though the rest of the day, somehow does not!
This all happens without thought. You don’t stop and think about your every action being crucial to your children’s happiness, development, health. You just do it, because, well, that’s what you signed up for.
Then there are times when they really need you. And this happened to me yesterday. It made me stop and think.
Malachy was feeling poorly, and had woken yesterday with a temperature, and after his afternoon nap, he was burning up again. After Calpol, and whilst I was waiting for it to kick in and cool him down, he just wasn’t a happy bunny. Nothing I did made him happier, and you realise, that although they really really need you, you don’t actually know what it is they need. After a long snuggly feed, he eventually rested his head against me, and I began to stroke his cheek until he fell asleep. After some tossing and turning to get into the exact right position for his maximum comfort, he finally fell into a deep sleep on me. Meanwhile, at the other end of the same sofa, I noticed that Lylah’s head was dropping up and down. Monster’s University just wasn’t entertaining enough, and the little lady was nodding off as well. I got her comfy as best I could with Mally lying on top of me, and they both slept like that for the next hour or so.
There wasn’t much I could do. I debated putting him back in his cot. But this was a different sleep. This was a sleep that was relaxed and comforted because he had fallen asleep on mummy. He was warm from my body and full from the warm milk he had just guzzled. I had made him feel better from whatever he was feeling a moment before. No, I thought, this sleep is for us. He wants to be comforted and to lie on mummy and cuddle in close. Lylah was comfortable and lying against my legs. I felt like I could burst with happiness, and was overwhelmed with a feeling of love. They both NEEDED me. Not in the usual, every day ways, but in their moment of tired, exhausted, poorlyness, I was needed to be a mummy, someone they could snuggle into to everything better.
It is the most beautiful feeling in the world being needed.