I remember Monkey only wanting to be in my arms when he was a newborn, for a good few weeks. His favorite position and location to sleep on was in my arms, upright. Even nearly 10 months later, he still won’t lie horizontally in my arms, not even for a few minutes. Luckily, I knew we were going through the 4th trimester and I knew it was just a phase that we both had to get through. It was something I didn’t mind though; having him attached to me; completely dependent on me; I was utterly content with this situation and arrangement. (You can read more about the 4th trimester here.)
And through the months, this little monkey started getting more independent, especially after he became completely mobile and would speed crawl to wherever he wanted to be; pulling himself up to see the world at a higher level. And with all that, a small part of my heart was sore; my baby was growing up just too fast. Yet honestly, it was also giving me a break to be able to go to the loo when I wanted too or make supper without a clenching tiny body to me.
A few months later and I now have to get used to it all over again. This time with a much bigger little monkey. I can’t really cradle him like I used to and I sometimes have to struggle with the flying arms, kicking legs and body that arches to make me go where he wants to go. It takes quite some getting used to after months of not having him in my arms the whole time.
Welcome to something I have dubbed The 5th Trimester.
This is the stage roughly around 9-months where babies learn about space, distance and relationships. Something known as SEPARATION ANXIETY.
I know it’s completely normal and “age related” and “a phase” and “it will pass” and “enjoy it while it lasts” and and and…
But let me just say, carrying an almost 10kg baby everywhere, keeping him relatively still while having a wee and consoling him now while tears stream down his face as he has no patience for me just wanting to first turn the oven off, is something to get used to all over again.
The little blossoming personality that has been coming through over the past few months are being intensified during this 5th trimester. He wants to be held, but all on his terms, as he also wants to explore and learn, again all on his own terms, dependent on his mood and especially on what time of the day it is.
Sometimes he’s perfectly happy being put down by his toys, to play, gnaw at and/or crawl and stand up as he pleases; giving you a few minutes to get something done. Then there are times where I can totally understand that he wants me a little closer to him, especially while he’s busy teething or tired and about to go down for a nap or after he has stumbled down and knocked his head.
I think the worst part is from about 4 pm each day. Then you can just about forget putting him down. As soon as you start losing vertical height, the legs kick out and become all rigid; the mouth starts opening and this high-pitched sound comes out, either that or the long string of “Mamamamamamamama”; water-works start; a disgusted look on the face, as if he is a puppy being left at home as you get into the car; arms waving around. These are the hours where he teaches me patience every day; where he reminds me that he’s still actually quite dependent on me and that I should just embrace it as yes, they do grow out of it and just as I wipe my eyes, he’ll be very reluctant to be held and cuddled.
Some things I had to change and/or adapt to; like learning how to do things with only 1 hand and making supper earlier in the day; but it’s all doable.
So, if you’re about to go through it or are in it right now, just enjoy this stage too, know there is light at the end of the tunnel; I promise you, in a few years, you are going to miss it, as difficult it is to believe right now. For now, I’ll keep picking him up while he thanks me with these open-mouthed-sucking-me-in-kisses.