I was mistaken when I thought Eddie was a cuddly child.
He doesn’t really like to cuddle. He likes closeness. He doesn’t like to be alone.
As a baby he liked be rocked (every night), but what he wanted was someone there with him, even just sitting in the rocker while he fell asleep in his bed. At almost four-years-old he is still this way. After we read books, he just wants one of us to lay by him. It’s how he feels safe.
I only realized the difference between needing closeness and being a cuddler because of Charlie.
Charlie has never been needy like Eddie. I don’t mean needy in a bad way, but Eddie does need us–to lay by him, to sit by him, to go downstairs with him, to color with him–more than Charlie does. Eddie will play by himself…as long as someone is in the room with him.
Charlie does his own thing. He will play by himself, sit in a totally different room by himself, and when it’s bedtime all I have to say is “nigh nigh?” and he grabs his glow worm under his arm and trucks down to his nursery. No fuss. Hugs and kisses and down he goes.
I missed out on a lot of the first year of Eddie’s life. I was emotionally distant and, after I went back to work when he was 3 months old, physically distant. I was sick and don’t remember much of his first year. Charlie’s first year made that even more painfully obvious to me because I just couldn’t remember what Eddie was like at that age.
One thing I know is that while I rocked Eddie to sleep almost every single night, he didn’t really spend all that much time in my arms. He and I cried together often and fell asleep in a pile in the chair out of sheer exhaustion, but not because we just couldn’t stop cuddling.
Charlie and I were inseparable during his first 6 months. I had 3 months of maternity leave followed by 3 months of summer break. He slept easily and I wasn’t fiending to put him down. I let myself heal and relax. And because my anxiety was under control, I was Ok to take him out in public with me.
I wore Charlie wherever we went. If we weren’t at home with him sleeping next to me or on me, we were out and about with him sleeping in the Moby.
And now? Eddie needs us to be there and Charlie does not.
Charlie is our Love Bird.
He gives kisses. Seriously, they are so sweet I die a little bit. He leans in and says “mmmmmmmuah!” and lays an open-mouth wet one on your mouth, nose, chin, eye…wherever that sloppy mouth lands.
Eddie never did that. He is just starting to give us kisses now. I think it’s because Charlie does it. I’m not kidding.
Charlie gives random hugs. He will barrel over and just fling his arms around us and then truck off like it ain’t no thang.
Charlie wants to sit on a lap. All the time. If you are on the floor, your lap is his seat. He just sort of comes over, turns around, and backs up until his behind is on you. If you don’t make room for him, he will wiggle around on you until you do.
He will crawl up on the couch or chair and mountain goat his way all over me until he can get himself nuzzled in and then lean back like I’m his recliner.
He will find the one little cranny in Cort’s arms and wiggle his way in and just chill.
He will hold my hand just to hold it.
And he will press his face to my face or his head to my nose…like he knows I love to take in the sweet smell of lavender in his hair.
He will softly repeat “ma ma ma ma” while he lays his face on my shoulder.
Both of my boys are love bugs, but Charlie is our cuddle monster.
It never ceases to amaze me how they can be so similar and so different at the same time both in big and small ways.
Most people would say that both of my boys are cuddlers, but Cort and I know there is a difference ever so slight. While Eddie drifts to sleep to the slow breathing of a parent next to him, Charlie thrives on morning hugs and kisses. While Eddie feels safe with a parent in the room, Charlie recharges on lap-sitting and Eskimo kisses.
It’s even hard to describe here.
Both of my boys have their hearts on their sleeves: they both love to give and get love from us and from each other. Their love languages are just a bit different.
Each perfectly theirs.