Two years ago, when Little Missy was in her second year of preschool and G was in kindergarten, on those mornings when both big kids were gone, Baby Chickadee and I had Snuggle Time. After playing on the floor she'd sleep on my chest for her morning nap while I watched TV (usually "Friday Night Lights" via Netflix. Happiness on my tummy, happiness on the TV).
But then summer came and snuggling in the middle of the living room floor was rude with the big kids around. Plus, Baby Chickadee's nap time gave me opportunity to hang with my sweeties who were soon to both head off to all day school.
Last fall rolled around and Baby Chickadee was IN MY BIZNESS all day long, so when her naptime came I rejoiced at the chance to do something, ANYTHING, by myself, whether it was washing the dishes or drinking a cup of hot tea.
Now that is not the case. She's happy to play next to me but by herself, so while I'm doing laundry she's in the same room playing puppies, but she's no longer on my hip as I transfer wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. Now she's pushing her shopping cart around the first floor while talking to her baby as I do the dishes, instead of sitting on the counter and fussing to help rinse the plates with me.
It's nice, you guys. Sooo nice.
But now that she's okay not being up in my face all day long I jump to be closer to her. I'm chasing her, I'm holding up books and suggesting a snuggle and reading time, I'm asking her if she wants to color. Most of the time she wants to play, so the balance of my work alone and my play with her is kind of perfect.
But the best time of day, THE BEST, is once again her naptime. I took her out of her crib for naptime and instead snuggle with her in my bed.
As she's going to sleep she slides her arms around my neck and squeezes tight so that our cheeks press together; she pats my face with her open palms and adorably, incorrectly says "Good boy"; she looks in my eyes and rubs my cheeks before giving me kisses. And eventually, suddenly, she's asleep, snuggled tight against me.
And I'm going to take advantage of every nap time I can. A dirty house, emails, Pinterest, matter not compared to my sweet toddler who loves to be with me.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin's little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.