Kaia has been exploring.. literally everything, everywhere she can get her hands or mouth on. She’s been picking up random scraps of food on the floor and eating them. She finds her way into the open dishwasher and cupboards in the kitchen and tries to climb right in. And with us, she’s trying to pinch, pull, and grab pretty much everything she can see: my hair, nose, lips, teeth, toes — whatever is there, she wants dibs on. The cute but slightly disgusting thing she has been doing is sticking her tongue into my mouth before bedtime and running her tongue over my teeth, or even touching my tongue with her tongue. I told her that this is a bit weird and not quite “normal” for mommy/daughter affection, but she doesn’t seem to mind and continues doing it while giggling.
Each night, I tell her that she is the greatest gift of my life, and I’m so grateful and so lucky to have her. I know as the days and years go on, she will get bigger and older, and she will no longer need me as much. In just a year, she may push me away when I try to hug or kiss her, but I hope she doesn’t. In a year or so, she likely will not want to stick her tongue in her mouth. She’ll understand things like “disgust” or “shame.” She’ll want some forms of affection and not others from us. But I do hope that I will be able to foster an environment for her where she feels safe and secure, not just physically, but psychologically. I hope she can feel comfortable cuddling with me and sharing information with me. I really do not want her to feel a lack of psychological safety the way I did when I was growing up. I may have felt safe physically while in the presence of my parents or in their home, but there was never a time I actually felt safe to think or feel what I did, and especially NOT to voice it to them. Sometimes, it felt like there were thought police around, and I don’t want her to feel that way at all. I want her to feel safe in every possible way with me.