When our first daughter was born we were in love. She was soft, sweet smelling, warm and loved us right back. I don’t remember when it first happened, can’t pin down the moment or the time, when I first reached out and held her little hand. It was a simple action that soothed my daughter.
If she was fidgety and I put her little hand in mine - her entire disposition would change. Her little frowns would be turned upside down with the touch of her hand. We shared these moments many times over the first weeks of her life.
Little did my husband and I know we were creating a hand holding MONSTER! What was once a quick touch to the hand turned into a grasp that would not let go. Our daughter had become completely dependent on our hand holding to help her fall asleep. Many, many nights we would lay her in her crib to sleep and attempt to leave the room only to be cried back to her side. It is almost impossible to reach over the crib bars and hold her tiny hand, so we got creative. Either my husband or I would lay on the floor - one arm reaching up into her crib - clasping her hand. After a few minutes we would release her hand and move our hand a few inches away. If she startled awake, our hand was right back in hers. If she didn’t startle then we would slowly and quietly slide our hand further and further away, until we could pull our hand out of the crib.
By this time our beautiful baby would be fast asleep as would our poor arms, quickly followed by pins and needles. Fortunately, after months of this same routine our daughter finally figured out how to soothe herself back to sleep. Even now, as an eight year old girl, she loves holding our hands.
When our second daughter was born I most definitely remember her laying on the bed between my husband and I...she was only hours old...when I reached for her little hand. Suddenly flashbacks of our months of horrific bedtimes with our eldest daughter came crashing through my mind. I stopped myself...inches from her adorably wrinkly little hand...and instead reached for her tiny foot.