It’s the middle of the night and I’m feeding my baby and she places her hand on the side of her head. She eats furiously and is as tired as she is hungry and her hand gesture looks like a declaration of frustration. Her arm starts to move and she begins, with a great deal of apparent effort, to stroke her hair.
Seeing her do this makes me feel sad.
I bring my hand to her head to offer her the soothing she obviously is seeking, so that she may feel relaxed and taken care of. As soon as my fingertips touch her hair she grabs my pinky and pushes my hand as far away from her as she can.
I get the message.
She goes back to scrabbling at her hair and I figure she’s figuring out how she can take care of herself. I go back to watching her eat and figure I’m going to be ok at figuring out how to strike a balance between offering her help and offering he space as she continues to grow.