Untrodden Ways

By Veronica

I named her for my favorite flower, the small, unassuming, purple blossom that is scattered through lawns and woodlands. I did not know when I named her that there would be nothing unassuming about her.

From the beginning, she had no warm-up cry. Her wails of dissatisfaction began full-throated and strong, a holler of protest at even a moment’s neglect. We were not allowed to NOT pay attention to her. She demanded to be held or worn next to my body constantly. At fifteen months, she would still holler if I dared to place her in a high chair next to me – with snacks! – so I could fix dinner. She is the only child for whom I did the previously unthinkable: I held her even when I used the toilet, just to prevent that awful scream.

I do not have many pictures of her smiling in her first year simply because she was not very happy. She had an insatiable hunger for attention that I could not sate. I was pregnant again by the time she was eight months old, and I was so tired. She has two older sisters. She wanted the lavishing of an only child, but she wasn’t one.

She has only ever been away from us for two hours each Sunday morning when we leave her in the nursery, but she behaved each Sunday as though we were abandoning her to a gang of hoodlums so we could feed our crack habit. She clung, she cried, she screamed. She snuggled me more tightly on Sunday mornings than any other time of the week.

Until this Sunday. This Sunday she laid her head on my knee for a few moments, smiled at one nursery worker, then skipped off to play with another one.

She did not even whimper when I left.

We are rounding a corner. She is twenty-months old, and though she still sometimes cries the wail of the bereft if she wakes unexpectedly in the night, she seems to have found the attention she was longing for. There are days – even weeks – where her hungry little heart is finally full, and she breaks into beaming smiles, giggling or flirting with us, or throwing her arms around us in a hug of joy. She still needs us desperately, but sometimes the need is satisfied.

I want to offer some wise advice on how we finally turned her uncertain heart to confidence, but truthfully, I have no clue. I love her, as I love all my children. I get impatient with her, like I do all my children. I hug and kiss and read to her like the others, and I say no to her as often as to the others. Why these things took so long to give her confidence in my affection, I do not know.

But when I sit with her in the glider, her head on my shoulder and her arms tucked in to my sides, she feels  perfectly comfortable, perfectly at peace. She is still a mystery to me, this charming little dictator with the lush lashes and the dark brown eyes. I do not understand her yet, but I know the peace she feels now is worth more to me for the tumult that came first.

Veronica blogs at Toddled Dredge.

5 Responses to Untrodden Ways
  1. Mozi Esmes Mommy
    December 23, 2008 | 9:23 am

    Having my own 20-mo-old, I can so relate to this post. And the way she grows up instantaneously at times – I just can’t keep up with all the changes! But those peaceful cuddle moments make all the exhausting moments worthwhile.

  2. Chaotic Joy
    December 23, 2008 | 10:09 am

    This post was amazingly beautiful. What a tribute to your little girl.

  3. Carrie of Ceaseless Praises
    December 24, 2008 | 4:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this- I can relate about the not having a warm-up cry! And it’s so good to hear that your daughter is moving past this stage. My little boy is 12 months old, and just since his birthday (about 3 weeks ago) he has become much more clingy & attached & sometimes downright whiny. So it’s good to hear that others have gone through this & it will get easier again! 🙂

  4. Cynthia
    December 25, 2008 | 10:45 am

    I’m glad that she is doing better, for her sake and yours! My 3rd child has been a mystery as well…very demanding and needing constant attention, a light sleeper, and clingy is an understatement! It still amazes me how different children are from each other, and how we have to learn what to do all over again!

  5. china
    April 6, 2012 | 12:31 am

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More Infos here: 5minutesforparenting.com/232/untrodden-ways/ […]…

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://parenting.5minutesformom.com/232/untrodden-ways/trackback/