Yesterday I worked in the office at home like I always do on Mondays while Penny takes her naps. Ahhhh, finally something can have my undivided attention, even if just for an hour or two at a time (or less).
When my time there becomes short, usually the monitor rustles with grunts and stirs before I hear any real noises. Sometimes at this time, if I think baby should sleep longer, I sneak into our room and put the pacifier back in her mouth. Like magic; there, I can send one more email or at least finish what I was doing.
But this particular time yesterday morning, there echoed no rustling to warn me of her gradual awakening.
She uttered a new cry and it was serious.
I scurried across the house. Had she been stung by a scorpion? (having been stung twice myself in my own home, this is my nightmare) Was she suddenly sick with her first cold? Did she, ummm, bite herself? I couldn't think of much else that might have warranted this new sound that came from our cheap baby monitor.
But she was fine. Pretty stoked to see me, actually.
She had woken up, realized she was alone, and panicked. This new cry was not the instinctive I need something and I need it now scream of a young infant, but a deliberate desperate attempt at early speech, as if she was trying to say "Mommy, where are you? I'm all alone, where are you?"
A New Awareness
I haven't done any research to substantiate this, but I'm guessing this is about the age where babies start to develop spatial awareness and emotional attachment to their care givers. It was clear today when I peered into her porta-crib that Penny just wanted me. She wanted to cuddle and go back to sleep and that was it. And the pout turned grin on her face was certainly enough to make me completely forget about what I had been doing before.
Newborns sleep on their mothers out of survival instinct, they don't purposefully "cuddle". But I think (maybe I am delusional?) that Penny now consciously prefers cuddling. And I know she can't be cuddled through every nap forever, but I absolutely relish the moments when she wants to sleep with me.
Her new cry has a sadness, a whimper to it, which somehow augments my overwhelming guilt complex about leaving her three days a week to go to work. It pains me. [I know I know, I've heard all the affirmations of moms who work outside the home... please save it.]
Or could it be that we, and her two grandmothers (who I know are "guilty" of rocking her through an entire nap on a semi-regular basis) have been spoiling her with too much cuddle time?
Maybe she was just cold. I mean, it is like, really cold now that it's winter here in the Phoenix area...
The verdict? I'm just going to take it as it comes. I think our pages are turning to a new chapter. Perhaps up next we will have the infamous Separation Anxiety stage or even utterance of the words "mama" and "dada"?
Side Note, Mommy Brain
Speaking of spatial awareness, my own is seriously suffering. The symptom? I can't turn left. This may sound silly but making left turns is a serious source of anxiety for me as it has become difficult for my brain to process the cars coming from the left AND from the right, and determine a window of time to turn. I try to avoid intersections without traffic signals to protect my turn, which is difficult because the exit of our neighborhood happens to be one of the worst left-turn intersections I've ever met. This symptom is second only to my recent hair loss (seriously, clumps) as my worst Mommy Brain manifestation. Behind it comes my continued inability to remember things I used to be really sharp about, and repeatedly bumping into pieces of furniture (there's that spatial awareness again!). Gotta love those breast-feeding hormones!