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An Afternoon With Anneka—Meandering Thoughts on Motherhood

joy of motherhood

Anneka’s lullabye music is playing and it’s like I can hear her sleeping. She loves her music playlist, and when it turns off she usually wakes up, unless she’s in a very deep sleep.

My thoughts meander—pleasant, happy thoughts. Ones that meditate on how thankful I am to have a job with my husband, how thankful I am to be Anneka’s mother, how thankful I am we can afford our house payment, our groceries, Anneka’s baby necessities, how thankful I am for every moment I get to hold her little chubby baby fingers in my hands and kiss her sweet forehead. And I’m also thankful for an attentive caregiver that watches her and the other children she plays with during the day.

Yesterday when I picked her up she said, “Mommy!” and came running with a big smile. Today, though, she had just woken up from her nap so she just stared. It was halfway home that I said, “I love you, Anneka,” and she responded with one of her charming toddler giggles.

Then we went and played at the park for an hour. On the way I picked a bouncy path and sang to her, and she did one of her little dances and grinned. She loves dancing.

She was thrilled with going down the slide over and over again. She would climb to the top, so independent, then put her hands out eagerly for me to take them to help her slide down.

Those many moments she reaches out with the utmost confidence always melt my heart. This is Mommy, and Mommy likes helping me, she seems to be thinking. She is right.

After the slides, it was the tunnels she was taken with until I tried to surprise her by leaving her in one of them and running around to peer in one of the ship-like peek-holes. She was rather upset and wouldn’t stop crying as I ran back saying, “Mommy’s right here, honey! I’m right here.” She was done with the slides and tunnels then, and had me help her down and away in her matter-of-fact, decisive way.

She tried again to walk all the way home but eventually grew tired and I put her back in the stroller and ran. It felt so good to make progress after taking about ten minutes to walk from the park down the sidewalk to the turn to our house. It was good exercise, too.

We did meet a puppy on the way, and that probably made Anneka’s day. She actually got to stroke a little Westie’s fur. She was very gentle and I told her I was very impressed. She’s not always gentle, but we’re working on it.

We got home—she got me her books. Such a routine little baby-dear. We read Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins. Millions of monkeys, millions of thumbs. Millions of fingers drumming on drums. Hum ditty, hum ditty, dum, dum, dum. 

She let me know I was missing her ideal bedtime by refusing to hold still when I tried to change her diaper and wailing at my feet in anguish while I was making her bottle. I wonder when she will understand the concept of something happening very soon? Not tonight, it seems. Or maybe she was just very hungry, I think later as I rock her to sleep. Except now she’s not falling asleep. Overtired or undertired? I’m not sure.

We snuggle and rock. Because daylight savings time now means it is very bright at night, she could not fall asleep. I left her in her crib for awhile after rocking her for quite some time. When I heard her fuss and cry again, I ran up to tuck her in and kiss her good night, but not quite as soon as I wished I had. I was wondering if I should when I realized she just needed some help settling. (Anneka usually cries a bit just before falling asleep, unless she is in my arms, which she usually is, because I rock her to sleep on most nights). This last little kiss and snuggle was all she needed. She fell asleep looking cuddled and snug with her bunny, bear, and baby bottle of water (I always find her holding her water bottle in the middle of the night). I think with our dry air and her stubborn eye teeth still coming in, the water bottle is a comfort to her. It’s usually empty in the morning.

She was hilarious as I rocked her tonight. She wanted both her water bottle and her milk bottle. She held one in each hand with her bunny in between. She couldn’t make up her mind which she wanted more so she kept switching. That child is full of silly, charming, baby ideas!

Good night, baby dear. Sleep well and dream of puppies. I can’t wait to see that sunny, darling face in the morning. I will cover it with kisses and you’ll giggle and kiss me back and then try to wake Daddy up. When he does wake up, you’ll laugh and kiss him, too.

Thank you for being our little girl.

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