Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Physical Pleasure

One of the zillion or so things that would never have occurred to me about parenthood before I became a parent is how much physical pleasure my kid affords. I love squeezing his fat thighs and blowing raspberries on his belly. I love kissing and inhaling his sweet baby neck. I love the weight of him on my hip (for a while, anyway). I love the snuggly embrace of nursing him. I love the way his cheek smooshes with a smooch. I think my favorite is when I nurse him late at night and he falls asleep, and I rearrange him so that his head and elbows flop on my shoulder, and he weighs half again as much limp with sleep, and his cheek is warm from nursing, and he breathes close to my ear, and I feel half drunk with the pleasure of being close to him.

It used to drive me nuts when he was a newborn and people would tell me to cherish this time because it's all downhill from here. And I know full well it's not all downhill from here (I really look forward to, say, being able to converse with him), but I am consciously cherishing this physical closeness. He won't always be such a convenient armful. He won't always let me this close for as long as I want, as often as I want. There's a big part of this intimate physicality that can't but be fleeting -- it would be incredibly creepy if it weren't.

The fact is that we don't really share pleasurable physicality with other people apart from sexual partners. I guess people who play certain sports do. I can't really think of other occasions for adults to be appropriately, non-sexually physical with one another, though, except for hugging -- and hugging, nice as it can be, just doesn't hold a candle to snoozling a sleepy six-month-old. I'm sure there are cultures in which some kind of collegial physical pleasure is common, and the lack of it suddenly seems like a sad emptiness in ours.


Kathy said...

I never understood that phrase either... Watching Reilly grow up to this point, every stage as been more wonderful than the next. Frustrating at times? Of course but I can't imagine it any other way. If anything I would wish each stage would last a little bit longer so I could soak it up a bit more.

I must say, I do miss the snuggly baby stage. I could us a couple more baby head sniffs. They turn into big kids so fast.

Jennifer Larson said...

Do enjoy all that while it lasts! You'll be glad later...I know I am.
My son is a wiggly toddler, and I almost never get a chance to snuggle with him anymore. I do miss being able to cherish a quiet moment with him, sniffing the top of his head or kissing his whole face. I have to move much faster now to hug him and kiss him.
But then again, while I don't get much of that physical closeness anymore, I do get to enjoy all the funny things he says. So you do have that to look forward to.