Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

For the past few months, Lauren has grown more and more clingy. She shies away from strangers and extended family alike. I know this is a hard period for her, and I remember Mia going through it too. I also know that we can only plow right through it, being as gentle as possible.

One of our only opportunities for plowing, is the church nursery. We usually bring both girls into church with us for a bit, but eventually give up on being able to concentrate after a few minutes. Out they go, to the nursery.

Mia really enjoys it and doesn't mind being there (this wasn't always the case), but Lauren is terrified. We've tried staying in with her for a while before leaving, but when it comes time to leave her alone, it's as if we'd just tossed her in while running past the door. The separation is no easier.

This past Sunday when I took the girls into the nursery, I cast apologetic glances at the attendants. I knew what they were in for. Screaming. Inconsolable, high-pitched, red-faced screaming. But I've spoken with the main attendant before and we both agree that the best way to ease the transition is just to do it. Make a clean break and she'll get used to it.

The look on Lauren's face as I left was awful to behold. I swear, she was accusing me of child abuse. Vowing never to forgive me for submitting her to such terror.

I think she cried off and on for the entire church service. When Justin and I went in to retrieve the girls, Mia ran straight for me, leaving Justin to rescue Lauren. She clung to him, tucking her tear-stained head into his shoulder, and shuddering with the leftover sobs. I tried to speak encouraging words to her, but she turned her face away.

I figured she needed a few minutes without being traded between sets of arms, even if it was only mommy and daddy's arms. So I gave her those few minutes.

While Mia was off chasing the other kids in the sanctuary, I tried again to snuggle with Lauren, reaching out to take her from Justin. No sooner had I gotten her on my hip, than she leaned away from me and wrenched her face into a scared cry. She wanted her daddy back.

Never has this happened before. Granted, I've always noted the special connection she has with Justin, but she's never wanted him more than me. It's like the planet shifted. The earth stumbled. I was crushed.

I lost a bit of her trust when I left her in the nursery.

So, my tiniest baby is officially out of infanthood. As if this weren't heartbreaking enough, she's pulling away from me, right into her daddy's strong arms.

Next time, you can bet it'll be his job to drop her off. And my job to do the rescuing.

I'll rock-paper-scissors Justin for it.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?