Put. Keep.

When Nathan was a baby, I started playing a game where I’d pretend to put him places he didn’t belong.  He was probably about 9 months old when I’d hold him up and put his back up against the wall and say, “I will PUT you here!” and he would giggle.  I’d turn my head like I might walk away and I think he really thought he could stick there.  As he got bigger I started putting him in other places.  On the kitchen counter, on top of my dresser or I’d pretend I was going to put him on top of a door.

Once he was able to sit up on his own and could be trusted not to fall over, I’d put him in places and let go.

I’ll PUT you… on top of the dryer! I’ll PUT you… on top of the car!

As he got bigger, it got sillier always with the warning to never, ever try to put himself in places.  Only moms can put their kids places.

Head first, I’ll PUT you into the freezer!  Gimme this soup pot, I’m going to PUT you in there because I’m hungry for Natey Soup!  I’ll PUT you on top of the mantle and you can be my new decoration!  Come here, you, I’ve got some PUT-ing to do.  Where can I PUT you today?

He trusted me and it was silly and he giggled.

When he started getting too big and squirmy to be put places, I started a new game.  I’d sneak up on him, wrap my arms around him and say, “I will KEEP you!”  He’d run away laughing and I’d pretend to be angry.  I’d snarl at him, “Get over here, you’re mine and I’m going to KEEP you!”  I’d squeeze him too tightly and he’d wiggle away and laugh.

He always says, “You have to let me go!  You can’t keep me!”  We both laugh because it’s part of the game, but it’s so true.  I can’t keep him.  Someday I do have to let him go.  But I won’t think about that now because he’s mine and for now I will keep him.
This morning we were sitting on the couch together.  I was trying to read and drink my coffee; he was trying to make me solve a new level of the The Lorax on my iPhone.  I put the laptop and the iPhone on the floor and grabbed him.  I smothered him in kisses and he laughed.  I cradled him, his enormous limbs flying all over the place as he tried to get away.

“Stop it.  Be my baby again,” I said to him.
“Goo goo ga ga,” he replied.  Goofball.

I placed his head gently onto the throw pillow. I told him when he was my baby I would put his head on a pillow and he would stay like that and let me snuggle him.

“I’m not a baby, Mama, I’m a boy!”  He was all wiggly.  He is so big.  I was feeling nostalgic.  I miss my baby sometimes, the baby that always wanted my cuddles, even against my will.

“Let me snuggle you.” I said to him sweetly.

“Lean in,” he said in a hushed tone.  “I want to whisper something to you.”

I leaned in, close enough to feel his hot breath on my cheek.

He coughed in my face.  Then he laughed wildly, pushed his way off the couch and ran.

Yup, he’s a boy all right.

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69 Responses to “Put. Keep.”

  1. Michelle, he sounds like such a sweetie and I love hearing how much you enjoy him. I think they try to be super-cute while we’re trying to drink coffee and read because it takes super-cuteness to distract us from such pleasure.

    • He is such a sweetie! And he’s very good at manipulating people with it!! He always says, “Why do you have to drink your coffee before you can do stuff?” I tell him it’s because he wakes me up too early!

  2. I love it!!! I love those intimate games we play with our kiddies. I adore it. Whispers from a kid– priceless. Great post.

  3. Kenja Purkey says:

    I love that! My Mr. Man is already a baby daredevil, so the Put game would be right up his alley! What a sweet post. Mr. Man is my last baby, so we are trying to soak up every moment. It’s passing by so fast!

  4. I can totally relate. Cam just finished second grade, he’s almost eight and a half, and some days I hardly recognize him. I want to put him somewhere and keep my baby. But he can also do the dishes now, so that’s a bonus.

  5. Christie says:

    So real, indeed! It really is too bad we can’t capture the goodness of childhood in a little jar and hold onto it longer.

  6. They do grow up. My son is almost 16, but sometimes I’ll call him “honeybunch” like I did when he was little and he’ll respond by calling me “mommett,” and we’ll have a good laugh. My baby is still in there, yours is still in him, too.

  7. christina says:

    what a beautiful relationship you two have. :)

  8. Melissa says:

    I can so relate – I remember, after my third was born, that she was the only one who would let me kiss her for as long as I wanted to… the other day, I was playing with her and kissing her little face, and she squirmed away for the first time :-(. I almost cried…

  9. Yes, that’s a little boy alright. My first little boy is now over 6 feet and graduated from high school a month ago. You are so right. You can’t keep them little and by your side forever.

    • Yikes! I always tell him that I did not authorize his growing up and he’ll just say, “I don’t know what that means.” Sometimes I just can’t believe he’s going to keep getting bigger, too!

  10. momfog.com says:

    So great. My firstborn is 13, has a mustache, and speaks with a crazy deep voice. Still, when I look at him, all I see is my baby, holding up his arms, “Hold you, mama.” *Sniff*

  11. carrie says:

    My oldest does this now too. Sometimes he still wants a cuddle (at night so he can delay bedtime…) but they are few and far between. Hes much too hyper and crazy to stay still for very long.

    I miss his cuddles.

  12. Our oldest is 6, and that is a real transitional age. Still small enough for my lap, but he is so far past the baby stage that it’s frightening. I know it’s cliched, but really, where did the time go?
    Thankfully we still have two babies in the house, but I don’t know what I’m going to do when they are all grown up.
    I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to have another. 😉

    Thanks for sharing the memories! Babies are so incredibly joyful.

    • I *know* I’m not brave enough to have another! The baby stage was SO hard and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate the snuggles and the co-sleeping as much as I should have. I’d love to go back for just one night and day of it. It is nice to be able to eat a meal on my own though!!

  13. Gia says:

    Hahahahah oh boys….

  14. Vanessa says:

    Well at least it was only a cough! We’ve had the occasional fart war in this house when we’re feeling silly. Sad to say, I can usually win.

    • He does enjoy farting. Why are boys like that? Luckily I find them pretty funny except when he’s sitting on my lap. He finds those hilarious though. (OK, I’m actually giggling thinking about it, but don’t tell him!)

  15. Delilah Love says:

    Boys are so funny. My 4 yr old would have done the same thing. You just have to love them. Haha!

  16. What a sweet story! He sounds like a fun little guy!

  17. Robbie K says:

    I love the game you describe so perfectly.

  18. kerry says:

    I read this wisfully – and understood it well. My three little ‘babies’are now 23, 27 and 29. The game we used to play with them was the ‘Stop the world turning game.’ We told the boys that we always wanted them to stay small, so on their birthdays we told them they were not allowed to grow up and we would all push against the side of the house in an effort to stop the world turning and prevent their next birthday from coming around! I’m afraid it didn’t work!

    • That sounds like such a great game!! Sometimes I push down on his head and try to shrink him. Or I point to his baby picture and tell him that’s “the baby I ordered, not this big kid I have now!” I can picture you all pushing the wall, so sweet!

  19. Amanda says:

    What sweet memories. I was having one of the moments tonight where it almost physically hurts to think of my girls growing up. But I just keep reminding myself that things change (as did your games) but the connection stays as yours has. Still breaks my heart though.

  20. Oh, if only we could keep them…. I loved your post, could feel the joy of the games,and the poignancy of moving on toward the future.

  21. Kathleen says:

    What a sweet, funny story! My little boy is about to turn 13. If only we could “keep” them.

  22. Joe says:

    Those are some great games to play with your children. It’s so sad that they grow out of them.

  23. This is so sweet. Nobody ever warned me that motherhood is a series of heartbreaks. It’s so sappy, but it’s true.

  24. Oh, I feel this in my soul. My ‘Baby’ is nearly nine, but still grants me snippets of snuggle time, for now. . . I know too soon he will be too big for our time. But you have to love the jokester side. Great story.

  25. ha. are you sure you don’t live in my house? this is the scene over here too! i want them to be everything they can be and acomplish…yet, i don’t want to lose the kid i’ve got. {sigh}.

  26. I get it. I always miss baby Noah, but at the same time, I’ve always loved where he is. My sister wants her boys to stay little forever, but she doesn’t realize how much you can enjoy 12 (and not enjoy it) and STILL have your baby. Just a baby growing stuff.

    • I love and hate every stage we’ve been through because each has it’s ups and downs. Back in the day when he needed to be held 25/8, it made me nuts and all I wanted was to put him down and have him not cry. Now, I just want to scoop him up! And someday I’ll look back on this age and forget all the 5 year old struggles and just remember the good stuff :)

  27. I cried at this. See what a puss I am? Loved it.

  28. Jack says:

    They grow so darn quickly. My oldest just finished 5th grade. I asked him if he would consider staying his current size just a little bit longer and he said no.

    He doesn’t really want to grow up too fast, but says he is ready to be a teen. Oy.

  29. if you train them to lap-sit, they will continue to lap-sit, I believe that. My 11 year old still climbs into my lap with regularity (usually inconveniently, too, but hey – I’ll take what I can get). So teach him that snuggles are GOOD, and he will snuggle.

  30. he has the wit and mischief of my nephew! (8yo) I’ll take the spontaneous hugs from those enormous limbs any day… as I know you do too. Lovely, happy post. :)

  31. Just the other day, I tried snuggling with my teen daughter. It didn’t go over well. :(

  32. As a man who was my mother’s “baby” until the day she died, I get it. Enjoy it as long as you can, Michelle.

  33. My babies are getting bigger every day… funny how that happens. Beautiful post!

  34. I love this Michelle. All those little mommy-kid games are such good memories to preserve. So easily forgotten as they get older if we don’t write them down.

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