My darling busy humingbird Garrett, never content to stand still, who brings a lump to my throat and a tingling to my nose every time I think of him in my humingbird-induced fatigue. My two year old who would take comfort in a mole on my arm.
I don't know why he was drawn to it...I wasn't even really aware that I had it. It is on my upper arm, brownish in color, near my shoulder, half the size of a pencil eraser. But for whatever reason, as I would hold Garrett, he would find this mole with his finger and then rub it, saying "moe". When changing his diaper, when putting him to bed...he would be comforted by my skin blemish. I let him do it, thinking, "What's the harm?" And then he began to ask for it when we were out in public. And I started to feel some of the shame that friends have confessed to, who nurse their older toddlers, as if I were offering him a nipple on a bare breast.
Often times he would claw at my shirt, trying to wretch his hand up my sleeve to find his "moe". Shelby got a skin condition called moluscum contageum, which are tiny warts that spread over an area of her body. We were contstantly applying creams and lotions to try to get rid of them, which Garrett dubbed as "he hee's moes". He then caught the moluscum from Shelby so he then had his own "moes" to touch. Unfortunately he wouldn't leave his alone any more than he'd leave mine, so he would itch, and bug them, causing them to spread.
I knew that this phase would not last. My little guy had not taken to a binkie, or a blanket, but instead a physical piece of me. Even though it wasn't the most attractive piece of me, I was secretly flattered. I loved that I could give him a little comfort when he needed it. It got to the point though, that anything that resembled a mole was fair game for his rubbing. My zits, a piece of food stuck to Shelby's face. Gavin came home one afternoon after taking Garrett swimming and told how he was mortified when he took off his shirt at the pool and Garrett went bananas trying get at his moles (nipples). He said the other adults around him had some questioning looks.
But like any phase, it's coming to an end. Garrett now has a bedtime routine that does not require a "moe" to soothe him. He has too many books that he wants read to him, too many forts to build with his brother, sister and dad. He has mostly forgotten about my skin blemish that he used to love. And that's OK with me. He still wakes up in the middle of the night. And I bring him in to my bed. I fight with myself on this, because I know it is just allowing him to make a habit of it. But I also am aware that this is my last baby. And the last time that a little one will be calling "MAAAM" in the middle of the night and wanting to climb in bed with me and snuggle (although Shelby did manage to find her way in bed last night with us too, with a story of nightmares).
So, like a zombie who is sleepwalking, which most nights I feel is 100% accurate, I go to him and bring him in bed with me. As we walk from his room to mine, he clings to me like a baby chimp, afraid that at any second I may change my mind and return him to his little dark crib. I lay him down on the bed, next to Gavin's turned back, and as soon as I lay down he is nuzzling in to my face or body. It is comforting for both of us. It turns less than ideal as he succeeds in pushing me to the edge of the bed through out the night, to the point where I wake up in the morning and I am barely clinging to the edge of the mattress without falling off. Garrett, meanwhile, is usually sprawled out, spread eagle, drooling with a smile on his face.
My aches and stiffnesses in the mornings always make me recommit to turning a deaf ear to his midnight pleas. But then I quickly forget and justify the aches for the snuggles that will proceed them. I know, I am a mess. I feel at times like a car that is constantly shifting, trying to find the right gear to be in. Lurching from stalled, to warp speed, and then rumbling at all gears in between. People comment that I do so much...which is true. But finding the right pace is difficult. Achieving is a drug for me...it fuels me and makes me feel alive. But the toll that it takes is both physical and emotional for me and my entire family. How do I play all roles and succeed in all of them? How do I give my energy to everyone and everything? And so, some nights, that cuddle in my bed is my salve that soothes me.
I know that the pitter patter goes away. I finally get that. Everyone was telling me, warning me, threatening me, as I ran this way and that to DO, DO, DO. So, poof- Dalton is almost as tall as me, and POOF, Shelby is almost as smart as me, and so by gosh...I finally get it. That right now- THIS is happy. This is what happy looks like. The mess and the chaos, and the undone lists of things to do. That as much as parts of that are not naturally things that would make me happiest, the trade off- the laughs and moments, and exhaustion and snuggles are what makes me deliriously happy. Garrett is two. And nine and six are still little. And so I keep trying to shift in to lower gears. But it's hard for me, as if at times I am stuck in auto pilot...and I don't know how to drive any slower than 100 miles an hour.