The need for skin to skin is stressed in those early months. Kangaroo care, skin to skin to help establish healthy breast feeding, to bond with baby, to help Dad bond with baby, and on and on. But then? Those babies grow up and into independent toddlers. “I do it myself!” is a commonly heard first phrase from a two year old. The need for distance and autonomy grows and that skin to skin priority wanes. And for some kiddos, that is just what they need, but not my sweet Noele.
I read about Love Language when we were doing our premarital counseling. Charlie’s love language is touch, mine is words of affirmation/time spent (talking)- I’m a talker. But I am not touchy by nature, and it is easy for me to feel touched out just by all the nursing/baby wearing that I do. But Nolie suffers because of this. She needs touch, needs skin to skin, and needs that affirmation. To feel full she needs a lot of touch. One of the best things we have found for her is baths together. I take baths often and once the water is cooled enough she joins me, cuddles up, nurses, tells me all about her day, and always (without fail) asks me to tell her about when she was born and when Ever was born. It is incredible and such a reset button for us.
Last night everyone was crumbling. Nolie was really on edge and losing it over every little thing, Evie was tired and sad if she wasn’t being held, and Charlie and I were both exhausted from a super busy weekend. So we decided to go for it and the three girls all hoped in our (tiny) bath. It was giggling, splashing, cuddling, story telling, shrieking, and all things good. We all got out clean and filled with a renewed appreciation and love.
Finding ways to meet Nolie’s needs, put her needs (and Evie’s) on the front flame and realizing just how important those needs are and feel for her. Ever isn’t nearly as touchy and is more verbal/chatty and love to be talked to/laughed with. Getting to know my girls, their needs, and how to meet them will be a lifelong endeavor I am sure. But today? It was as blissful and easy as taking a warm bath with them and laughing hard and cuddling long.
**also, I hesitated about posting these photos but after talking to a group of other women who parent similarly to me, this was a pretty universal experience. And I want that to be known, and encouraged, bathing with our kids is awesome/bonding/normal and incredible!