Micah is fearless, free-spirited, curious, and fierce – as long as he is attached at the hip to me!

For weeks now I have felt like I have my own personal paparazzo stalking me. When I wake up in the morning, his nose is inches from mine; when I jump into the shower, he whips the curtain back to see what he’s missing; when he hears the water stop running he comes rushing around the corner signing “all done?”; as soon as I am wrapped in a towel his chubby little arms are raised in desperate anticipation wanting to be picked up; when I am washing dishes he is standing on my feet; when I need a bathroom break he is handing me the toilet paper; when I go to take out the trash, he is pulling the can alongside me; when I try to unload the dishwasher he is grabbing at the dishes; when I kiss him goodnight and tuck him in, he gazes at me until I am out of sight.

Beautiful? Yes. Flattering? Sure. Claustrophobic? Oh man is it ever!

Although he seems to be coming out of it, for a while there he wouldn’t go to anyone other than yours truly. Pete took brutal advantage – especially in the mornings – when he would barely open one eye to see me being smothered by our son’s affection and say in response to my pleas for him to get the kid off me and let me sleep in for a change, “but he only wants you, hon” and then roll over and start snoring. Ouch. Being mama is being on call all the time, isn’t it?

I started to dread leaving for work in the mornings because Micah would have a complete meltdown. Homecomings were no better because he would start to wail the moment he saw me and attach himself leech like to my legs for the rest of the evening (whenever I wasn’t carrying him, that is). Face pinched and red, eyes blurry with unshed tears he would moan at me. And I would moan right back. We had something of a love-hate thing going there for a while.

I couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t get enough. Even over a weekend. Even over a looooong weekend. His little love tank never seemed to fill quite up to the brim. And the harder he clung the more I started to resist. To plead with him for space and understanding (yes, I know he couldn’t understand but I couldn’t help asking). We entered a cold war phase: both parties sticking resolutely to their positions waiting for the other to make the first move to break the deadlock. I discovered his will is like steel. He would not budge. He became a human leg iron and all I wanted to do was break free.

Then, unexpectedly, Pete went away for the weekend to help with his sister’s move and decided to take Jackson with him – for some quality daddy-son time.

I was scared.

That meant Micah and I would be spending some quality mommy-son time. Ouch. I was not sure if I was up to it. I felt panicked. I felt stranded with a clingy ex-boyfriend. I was awkward and unsure how to play it. So, I let Micah take the lead. And when he arrived at my bedside on Saturday morning, hand outstretched for mine, with those “please follow Lassie” eyes, I did. And what a difference it made.

I did most things this weekend on his terms. I left cleaning unfinished and laundry unfolded. I repeated the word “CaH” (car) a bajillion times over with the same exact inflection. I examined countless CaHs. I let him strip down to his birthday suit when he wanted to. I spent a lot of time watching bugs and poking at puddles. And rather than read a book, blog or talk on the phone while he played this weekend, I just surrendered to being with him. Wholly. Absorbedly. With Micah.

And he noticed. He would glance up from a CaH, see me watching, drop everything and rush over to me, pucker up and wait. And I would lean in and kiss that sweet little face, which would immediately crunch up in delight as he would toddle back to his CaHs.

Or, on discovering that I was his and his alone, he would suddenly hurl all playthings aside and bee-line it for me, flinging his fat little self completely into my arms and burrowing his head into my lap, sigh contentedly and then go on his merry way.

I was charmed. I was delighted. I was educated.

The more I had resisted Micah’s need for all-consuming, all-loving attention, the more desperate his efforts had become. But upon surrendering my own sense of space, attention span and time, I had finally connected with what he needed. And I watched his tank fill up to the brim with love this weekend. Confidence poured out of him and a sense of security blossomed. He even dared out into the garden without me attached to his hand.

It’s hard to unplug as a mom. To disconnect from all the lists that are whirring in your head, the undone elements of your day that you want to accomplish before you’re too tired to think straight anymore. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes it’s not necessary. But sometimes it’s the difference between having your own personal stalker or your own personal fan. One is obsessed to the point of being annoying while the other simply loves you for who you are and affirms what you do.

I spent this past weekend with my fan club of 1. It was intense – fans can be like that I have heard. It wasn’t an everyday event. But it reminded me that in order to get my little wild child up on his own two feet and venturing away from me, I will need to be his biggest fan too. In action as well as word. I may boast of his adorableness to others, I may post his photos at every opportunity, but if I fail to make him feel like number 1 in my book, the rest is meaningless.

So, listen my Micah, the next time you are ready to go forth and tame tigers, know that I will drop everything and join you.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
– William Blake