Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scent of a baby

As I sit here tonight trying to convince a sleepy baby that closing her eyes really is in both our best interests, my little girl is riding snugly next to me in her sling. I've been a big fan of wearing babies since I had my first, and each of the babes has spent much time riding around kangaroo style. It's good for me, as it gives me two hands to address important needs, like opening that jar of jam so I can make the boys lunch, and it gives my left arm a break from lugging around my little bowling ball of a baby. It's also good for her. She gets the benefit of hearing my heartbeat, feeling my breathing, and sharing my warmth while helping her to feel safe and protected. She gets an almost mom's eye view of everything we do. Studies have shown that babies who are worn have more developed and earlier developed language skills than their non-carried peers among a host of other benefits. They are calmer and cry less. When they get older, they are more secure and well adjusted. But what's my favorite reason for wearing my babies? I get to smell them.

Dirty baby is probably my favorite smell in the whole world. When my babes were brand new, they still had that amniotic smell to them, something earthy and fresh. As they grew, their scent changed, and something in me thinks that my sense of smell is more sensitive when they are young, as I can recognize who's been holding the baby just by smelling her. Baby hasn't had a true bath in a little while, so tonight she smells heavenly to me. It's a combination of notes, the sweet milky smell of her breath, the slightly salty smell of her cheeks where she's been a bit sweaty from being wrapped up against me, and the notes coming from her hair where its a bit oily from being kissed so much that are just her. I can't describe what exactly her smells like, but I could breathe it in all night. Bottle it and sniff it when she's 3 and won't cuddle with me anymore and her milk breath is long gone.

For tonight, I'll enjoy it along with the warm snuggle of her wrapped securely next to me as she clings to my tee like the little koala that she is. These moments are so fleeting.

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