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  • The Christmas Bonus

    December 18, 2009

    One of the things I miss the most about having a toddler around the house is the spontaneous and exuberant affection.

    As a toddler, Sean was given to fits of passion.  Without warning, his teeny tiny heart would seemingly erupt with unrestrained and irrational love.  All that slobbery affection had to go somewhere and I was his favorite target.

    PhotobucketI miss the days when he would stand in my lap, giggling and bouncing on fat little legs.  I miss how he would wrap his ams around my head and gnaw on my face.  I miss the leg hugs.

    It seems the days of unfettered expressions of love are gone forever, but every once in a while one will come out of no where.  And it’s like getting a bonus — a little end of the year reward for all the hard work of motherhood.

    Last night Sean and I were sitting side by side on the sofa reading through a stack of Christmas books. He had already had his bath and was in his robe and jammies and was extra warm and snuggly and smelled of lavender shampoo.  Y’all, that is like catnip to a mommy.

    The book we were reading, Santa’s Stuck, always sends him into fits of snorting giggles.  I started laughing at him laughing.  And then we were just laughing and had no idea why.

    When I closed the book and set it aside, he threw himself into my lap in a fit of passion.  He wrapped his arms around my neck and chicken pecked my face with kisses while making chomping noises.

    He was two again.

    Then he stopped and pulled back. He looked into my face, his eyes still sparkling.

    Then his expression changed.  The moment was over as quickly as it had begun.  My six-year-old was back.

    “Stop goofing off mom,” he said seriously as he rolled out of my lap. “Let’s read another book.”

    Maybe if I keep up the good work, I’ll get to stay on.  And maybe I’ll get another bonus next year.


    1. meghan @ spicy magnolia says:

      You write about those priceless moments so beautifully, in a way that moves the soul. You are a wonderful momma, AM! And you help me remember to soak up all of those incredible, yet fleeting, moments of baby bliss!

      December 18th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    2. Steffj89 says:

      I love your perspective and it has helped me to slow down and savor these moments with our last in a way that I never did with the first two. Thank you.

      December 18th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    3. Cathie says:

      Oh, gosh. The precise reason I tell Gabe to S L O W the grow. Thankfully, he is still mega-affectionate, even at 7. But never in front of friends.

      December 18th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    4. edj says:

      With any luck, he’ll hit another phase of spontaneous affection and lots of hugs when he’s about 10 or 11! And then he’ll literally knock you over a few times! Why yes, I do speak from experience.

      December 18th, 2009 at 11:39 am

    5. deb says:

      I absolutely love what you write about and the way you write it. Your blog is regular wellspring of smiles for me.

      December 18th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    6. Kay says:

      I think he’ll keep you for another year! 🙂 What a sweet boy!

      December 18th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    7. Shelly W. says:

      Oh, my heart is breaking right now. So beautiful.

      December 18th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    8. Sue Speir says:

      So, so SO precious! I am glad he had a fit of passion right here at Christmas – perfect timing!
      I will remember the catnip for mommies comment forever – perfect description!
      Merry Christmas!

      December 18th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    9. Ann says:

      LOVE it!! This morning my 8-year-old girl climbed into my lap and snuggled into me like the little bunny she once was. She did this while we had company for breakfast and I thought, “Hmmmm, we need to have company over for breakfast more often.” I take heart, too, because my hairdresser says her 11-year-old still climbs into her lap on the odd occasion. Your couch scene with Sean and the Christmas books sounded absolutely scrumptious! Mommies all over America will be replicating it after reading your blog.
      Merry Merry Christmas, dear AM.

      December 18th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    10. Heidi says:

      Such a sweet post.

      I’m wondering if my son (he’s 18) might be getting a little sentimental as his time to leave home approaches. I’m getting more hugs now than I have in the last 10 years. I made a good dinner…hug. I slipped him a five dollar bill…hug. I Finished his laundry…hug. Help him write an essay…hug.

      And oh how I love those hugs, especially now that he has to bend himself into a horsehoe to hug his old mom.

      Nothing like like little boy hugs; no matter how old our little boys are.

      December 18th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    11. jean says:

      No that my little guy is taller then me I have to settle for pats on the head. That’s his latest form of affection. Gah! It’s just not the same.

      December 18th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    12. Bitsy says:

      Aww! I miss those days, too! Now I’m happy to get a little shared confidence from the teenager- really, really happy.

      December 18th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    13. Roxanne says:

      Today I went to my boy’s Christmas party. . .he kept gravitating to me like a magnet. . .he slid his arm around my waist and leaned his head on my side. He’s 8. But there ARE times when they can’t help themselves.

      December 18th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    14. Minnesotamom says:

      So you’re saying I should enjoy Anja’s arm-grabs, leg hugs, and many, random “I love you so much, Mama” moments while they last, eh?

      December 18th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    15. Kathy Vaughan says:

      Awww . . . what a sweet moment to share with us! I agree with Heidi, “Nothing like like little boy hugs; no matter how old our little boys are.” Mine are 26, 28, 32, and 38, and there’s not much that’s better than a big little boy hug from one of them. Although those chompy chicken pecks sound mighty good!

      December 18th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    16. mythoughtsonthat says:

      I miss holding my boy on my hip and kissing the side of his head over and over. And he let me.


      * * *
      Oh I love this comment. I was right there in your words.

      December 18th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    17. snarflemarfle says:

      Thank you for reminding me to really take “memory pictures” of these moments. My 2 year old loves to climb up in my lap and dissolves into fits of laughter when I kiss her all over. And my 4 year old will still give me the occasional “Kiss Medley” of great big kisses and little tiny pecks. Love them!! (and I have to remind my 4 year old that he simply cannot wipe off mommy kisses…mommies kiss with permanent kiss!)

      December 18th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    18. Cyndi says:

      Maybe it’s something about the season….I was just feeling nostalgic for those baby moments and this week has been full of them being more cuddly. We put up the ornaments tonite, and it amazes me how much has transpired in these last six years. Thank you for the lovely reminders. Merriest Christmas, may it be filled with those moments!

      December 18th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    19. Nan says:

      *I* got a sweet snuggle out of my nearly-twelve-year-old when we were reading “Letters From Santa” the other night, and I can’t even blog it for fear his buddies will read about it! I am pretty sure my two older boys read my blog in the ICT rooms at school, if not here at home! I have to be really careful what I say now.

      December 19th, 2009 at 8:33 am

    20. Jeni says:

      Lavender shampoo as catnip for Mommies – absolutely! I use the lavender lotion on my toddler & baby, too – not because they need it, but because they make pretty cute potpourri. 🙂

      December 19th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    21. Iota says:

      My 5 year old daughter comes into our bed in the mornings and hugs us as hard as she can, saying “oooh, you’re so warmy, warmy, warmy”.

      How will I be able to start my days when she’s too old to do that?

      December 19th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    22. WendyP says:

      Wow! Tears in my eyes. Being a mom is wonderful. Being a grandmother is like that too.

      While I read this I was so thankful that my grandson is just 9 months old (going on 2 yrs) and I have so much more of that spontaneous affection to look forward too! It is catnip! It is fresh, cool water to a thirsty soul too.

      December 20th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    23. Becky says:

      I love reading your blog, both for the reflection as my own time as a mother of little ones, and now as a grandmother of seven. When my youngest child was a toddler, I realized those little arms were growing older and I would not feel them in that way around my neck for much longer. My three were far apart in years and I missed the last of the little hugs. Never then did I realize there was round two coming with the hugs of seven little ones. God doubled my first blessings. What joy to watch them grow. Thanks for your insights into our little people.

      December 22nd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    24. Leslie says:

      My little one is at that stage now of standing in my lap and bouncing on his wonderfully chubby legs. And I love how he follows me with his eyes and snuggles into my neck when sleepy. This is a good reminder that I should relish every moment.

      December 23rd, 2009 at 7:56 pm

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