When your child begins to speak, things just seem to get cuter and cuter. Hearing a child begin to express himself one word at a time reveals that this baby is now becoming his own little person.
When my son Micah picked up the word “snuggle,” my heart melted.
To see his little face, his reaching, pudgy arms, his pleading eyes, and for the word “snuggle” to escape his lips was almost too much for this mama. And suddenly, the word has become one of his favorite words, next to Mommy, Daddy, and paci (for pacifier).
Snuggling has also become one of his favorite things to do. Sometimes amid some of the most unlikely moments, he’ll simply stop and demand a snuggle, requiring me to either pick him up or sit on the floor allowing him to plop into my lap and nuzzle into my chest.
Like anything else that starts out as cute, as it becomes more frequent, it can sometimes get … dare I say, less charming, less cute, even borderline annoying?
I feel like a bad mommy saying this, but let’s face it, sometimes there are emails to write, or laundry to fold, or calls to make, and a snuggle session just isn’t at the top of the to-do list.
One morning, however, as I scurried around my apartment preparing for my day, Micah stopped me in my tracks and sweetly asked for a snuggle. Though I felt a little pressed for time, I realized that if I really asked myself the BIG question (Is anything more important than snuggling with my son?), the answer would be a resounding no!
So I slowed down, plopped down at my closet door, and let him climb into my lap. We sat there for a few minutes, and I let the moment be.
Within five minutes or so, he began to wriggle out from my lap and started collecting toys in a pile in my closet, and before I knew it, snuggle time was over. I suppose he got whatever he needed from that moment, and I suppose I did too.
When writing this piece I found myself doing some reasearch on why children need affection during these younger years. It appears, according to several studies, that nurturing affection actually shapes a child’s ability to handle stress by developing key parts of the brain hardwired for it.
One study by the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri looked at over three hundred preschool age children. Clinicians did not know which children were considered depressed, nor did they know factors like whether these children came from families living in poverty or in single parent homes.
The study revealed that the portions of the brain which process stress and anxiety were less developed in children who received less physical affection and nurturing than children who had regular affection.
Sometimes our kids may seem demanding and force us away from our perceived to-do list, but every moment is a learning one. And my son continually shows me when to slow down and be present with him.
Thanks, kiddo, for teaching this mommy yet another good lesson.
Writing is Randi’s favorite way to share the profound experience of motherhood. As an NYC mom, yogi, and entrepreneur, Randi creates bespoke workshops and gatherings for women who want to share the best ways to stay grounded and engaged, living life inspired. Follow her stories, events, and community at www.randizinn.com