Being the mother of a 10 month old is both incredibly fun and also incredibly exhausting. It’s so amazing to watch her grow and learn each day, and very tiring when she’s bent on screaming just because she wants to hear her voice.

One of the most incredible aspects has been seeing that the more independent she gets, the more I notice she needs affection from me. When she first started moving around, trying to crawl, she didn’t like to be held at all and just wanted to practice stretching her arms and wiggling her legs. One day, it just clicked for her and she was mobile. Suddenly, she realized that she now had the ability to move out of my presence. I wouldn’t always be close by. She became very clingy, would whine and cry for me to hold her for a while each day. This only lasted about a week or two, and she was secure.

Then she learned to walk – a new level of independence. Suddenly, she was following me around again, whining at my feet until I’d pick her up and give some cuddles, assure her that I’d still be there when she came back from exploring.

At the beginning, the whining and wanting to be held kind of annoyed me. Working from home and also being an aspiring artist, much of my time is spent working on various projects. I didn’t have time or patience for cuddles.

Soon though, I realized that not only would her complete neediness be over soon enough, but I’d never have it back. Soon enough, she’d outgrow the cuddles. She’ll wipe my kisses off her cheek and be discovering her own place in the world apart from me. As her independence grows, her need for me will change and grow with her, but she’ll always need to know I’m there for her. She’ll still need to know I will be there to hold and comfort and cherish her as she starts to discover her world.

So, I cringe at the whining and the screams, but I cherish her sweet hugs and holding her in my lap for just a few minutes longer. She’s my baby, and I want her to always know that she has a place in my arms, and I’ve got time to give her.