There are a few things people seem to go ga-ga over when you have a baby. It’s like they’re obsessed with the freshness of that new little human, and for good reason: they’re freaking adorable. But there are a couple of things people really go crazy for: how they smell and their feet (which, coincidentally don’t smell yet).
First up is that fresh newborn scent. People I don’t even know will come up to me and smell my baby’s head. If you thought having someone touch your pregnant belly was strange, just wait until they start sniffing your baby’s head. Maybe it’s because my kids always have a bath right away after they’re born (they all liked to poop before they were born), or their scent already merged with mine, but they don’t smell any different to me.
The second thing people go crazy for: feet. They just looooooove baby feet. Personally, I don’t get it. I mean, they’re tiny and all, but they’re nothing to get excited over. Maybe my kids just have huge dino-sized feet, so I don’t find them that cute. I do like to pretend to munch on them, but that’s a different post for another day.
photo by Chrissy Walther Photography
But there is one feature I fell in love with since day one: their perfect little hands.
Now that I have three kids in all different stages of life, I can safely say their hands are my favorite. Yes, they all have great personalities, and gorgeous features (not that I’m biased), but their hands are what literally caught my attention since the minute they were born. It’s what helps them explore, and gives them those first sensations. Their hands help them find comfort and safety. It’s their hands that I love the most.
A Baby’s Hands Don’t Keep
My three month old literally grasps my finger any chance he can, which is pretty often. Every time he grabs it there’s a feeling—a connection—I have with him, and it’s one of my absolute favorite parts of having a baby.
photo by Chrissy Walther Photography
It may be a reflex, but he instinctively knows that my finger will be there for him. When he’s nursing or falling asleep he holds onto it, not letting go until he’s completely and utterly relaxed; it literally gives him comfort. He holds onto my mama-sized finger with his itty-bitty fingers for dear life, and it reminds me that I gave him life, and that he’s mine.
Lately he’s been trying to hold one hand with both of his. It’s adorable watching him try to draw my closer to him with all of his little baby might…right up until I need to get things done, because working with one hand is no easy feat.
He’s growing up more every day, and I know that he’ll soon move on to other things besides wanting/needing to hold my finger. He’ll get busy discovering the world, and want to grab other things, other toys, other books. So every time he grasps my finger between now and then, I’ll cherish the heck out of it since I know it could be the last time that will happen.
Because I know, all too well, that baby’s don’t keep.
A Toddler’s Hand
My spirited two and a half year old is proof that they grow up, and faster than I ever thought possible. One day she was holding my finger—always my pointer finger, but sometimes my middle finger—just because…because she wanted to, and the next day she refused, putting her hands behind her back and throwing a fit because I wanted her little fingers in mine.
It’s like she found her independence overnight. I actually get excited when we have to cross the street, or walk around a parking lot, because she has to hold my hand. My husband and I get even more excited when she forgets that she’s holding on, long after she could’ve let go.
It’s like we’re holding onto the last of her toddlerhood before it’s long gone, and simply a memory.
I’ll never forget when she discovered my face, taking her little chubby hands and running it over my cheeks, my eyes, nose, and my lips. She was familiarizing herself with me, and I relished in those moments. She was also the one who used to massage and knead my breast while nursing, trying to literally squeeze and push out more milk. Her hands, so small and precious, already knew how to work hard for her.
A Little Girl’s Hand
And then there’s my oldest: the one who made me a mom, and made me fall in love with the little hands in the first place. I have a picture of her hands hanging in her room. They were so small, yet looked so defined, and she never let go of my finger; I remember having to sometimes pry them off when I needed to get up and do something.
Now she’s four and a half year old, and is officially a little girl now; a preschooler, if you will. She’s a smarty pants full of sass and independence, and can shop in the girl’s section (although, I’m still refusing to actually buy her anything from there, because I’m pretty sure I’ll be the weirdo mom sobbing while looking for her size).
Just the other day I realized that she held my hand differently. It was a subtle change, and if I wasn’t paying attention at that very moment I would’ve missed it, but she held my hand like a friend would hold it. It was soft and comforting, and her whole hand fit within my hand.
She reaches for it not because she has to (unless we’re in a parking lot and I still make her), but because she wants to. One of her love languages, I think, is touch, so I’m trying to cherish the moments she wants to snuggle or hold my hand.
These babies of ours grow up, and while watching them change and become their own person is exciting, it’s also gut-wrenching to know they’ll no longer need you in the same way.
My littlest literally depends on me for life. He sees me and his face lights up (okay, he does that when he sees the boobs to eat), my middle one needs me for security—grasping my finger when she feels scared or knows she needs me so she won’t get hurt. And my oldest is discovering herself, and is starting to see me as a friend and someone who will be there to walk with her—hand-in-hand—when she needs me.
These babies certainly don’t keep, but I hope I’ll remember their tiny fingers wrapped around mine long after they’ve let go.