baby burrito

flower power, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

i was going to wait for a chance to include an illustrative photo with this story, but that has not materialized, so instead enjoy this photo of my little flower child.

eva is no longer a baby. she's not exacly all grown up, but one can't deny that she's not a baby. she'll run around the house for a good hour at a time, happily playing with things that are not really toys (two of my shirts are currently very popular), checking in from time to time, babbling away narrating her actions the rest of the time. she now nurses just a few times a day, rather than all day long like when she was a baby (and in the past month or so, despite my conflicting emotions, i've been limiting nursing even further in an effort to regain my fertility). and sometimes i get so busy with what i'm doing (ideally dinner, but at times sitting in front of the laptop) that i simply don't pay her the attention i should.

generally eva seems fine with these developments that go along with her relative maturity, but for those times when she needs a little extra mama-love (now that i don't inherently snuggle her every few hours while she nurses), she's come up with a very sweet way of letting me know this.

she says "mama, make eva baby burrito in that blankeee? mama sit baby burrito in the rocking chaaaair?"

it started with baths when she was an actual baby: i'd wrap her in the towel afterwards and call her a "baby burrito". then it became a fun pasttime, rolling her up in the down throws we have in the living room (and occasionally on eva's directive, rolling up the dog as well, but lemma's not as excited about it as eva is.) and now, it's become eva's favorite way to reconnect.

so, she asks, and i drop everything and spread out the blanket on the floor. she trots over and lays down in the middle, and i essentially swaddle her like a baby, with eva narrating all the way ("eva lay down that blankie. mama wrap up eva. mama hold eva like a baby in the rocking chair.") we sit in the rocking chair, and i become transfixed on her little face, the only thing visible sticking out of this massive blanket bundle. she just stares up at me so sweetly, and all is right with the world in that moment. sometimes she asks me to free her hand, and she'll reach up and touch my nose and whisper so very softly, "mama".

the whole experience gives me the sense that she has (as kids have) wisdom that is lost with the onset of adulthood, telling me to stop and pay attention. stop and notice me, mama, let's stare at each other's eyes. even if i'm being a frustrating toddler, sit her for a minute and snuggle me and smell my head and remember that you love me so much it makes you dizzy.

she asks for this most days, but it's uncanny -- it's always during moments when i'm getting too busy for my own good, or when we're sort of snipping at each other, or just not sufficiently connected. she knows. she knows exactly what she needs, and i absolutely love that she's able to tell me.

and before you know it, she's off again, being a busy toddler. i generally sit there for a moment longer, letting those love hormones swim around in my brain. i hope she asks for baby burrito for as long as she needs it -- or really, for as long as i need it. in the latter case, i'll probably be 80 and she'll have her own grown daughter on her lap, too. and even then, i still won't be done.

my sweet little one. you'll always be my baby.