I Cuddled This Afternoon

I cuddled a child this afternoon.

Not just a normal cuddle, one that lasted a long time, longer than (in my mind) I had time to sit there.
Don’t I cuddle often, I live with a bunch of babies?

Yes, and no. Life here is crazy. I hang out with the children, but there are usually five of them on me at a time. It feels like all of us are just running from here to there to get things done even though some of us desire to just spend more time with the kids.

When we have sick children or new admits, I do have the pleasure of cuddling them. We get to hide out in our apartment and give them as much attention as they desire, but when nothing seems out of the ordinary that cuddling is too far in between.

Yes, we hug our kids. Multiple times a day. Hugs, kisses, a pick up embrace, and stopping to chat for a while are all very common delays in my day (and welcomed delays).

You see, there are 50 kids here. Every one of them has their own personality, love language, and level of introvertiveness or extrovertiveness. The “baby house” where they live can often be chaos. In the midst of refereeing a little dispute, trying to walk with three kids hanging on you, talking to a nanny, and trying to remember your reason for entering in the first place, it is easy to miss some kids.

It is impossible to love each one of our children in the way we would like to. (This is why we pray for them to be matched with a perfect family and pray for the families that have already been matched.) We have a handful of kids who are definite introverts. They are not where the action is, they are not the first ones to vie for attention, and they are too easily overlooked.

These kids are ones I have been drawn to, but fail to spend as much time with as I’d like to because of reasons listed above. One such child in particular has my chain and I seek out quite often. He’s a little cutie that will lock you in with his eyes and is a great hugger. I tell him often I could hold him all day as well as how cute he is and that I love him (the latter two I tell all of our kids).

Tonight I first went into the baby house just to hang out with the kids. No real reason and no real agenda, but knew I didn’t have much longer until I should start making dinner for my roommates and I.

I came in and sat down and had at least two children on me at all times. I saw this little guy and tried to get him to come over and sit with me too, but he refused and walked the other direction.  After a while of playing with the other kids two of the rooms went outside to go for a walk.

After the chaos died down I found him again and he immediately came eagerly into my arms. We cuddled for a little bit and walked around some. I told him I had to go and asked if he wanted to get down. He shook his head no and tightened his grip. How could I say no to that?
A little while later I tried the same moves again and got the same response. I remembered something that someone told me once, to never let go of an embrace before the child is ready. Here, that is not normally very long as most of our kids are too active to cuddle for any extended period of time.

I decided I’d forget about dinner and cuddle this little guy. He was cute and needed some extra TLC today and my dinner was not near as important. We sat down and he rested his head on my chest and I tightened my embrace on him. One of the nannies even asked if he was sick during our time because of how long and how still he was and how much time I was spending just sitting with him.

Every once in a while he’d turn his head or look at the noise that was happening around us, but he always returned to laying his head on my chest with a grip somewhere on me. Surprisingly, a while later another child came up and sat on a corner of my lap. I didn’t really want it, not because I didn’t want to love on her, but this was his time. He was being filled right then and she would have to wait.

From somewhere she found a pair of shorts and threw them up in the air trying to get them to catch on the window sill. When she achieved that goal, she’d stand up grab them and try again. After a while she got bored of that and moved on to something else. That’s when little man decided he’d stand up and get them. I thought he wanted to play too, but he just wanted to wear that pair of shorts, but never stopped touching me in the process.

After a little while he started playing with another child and not sitting so tightly to my chest. I decided I probably should go so my roommate wouldn’t have to wait all night for dinner and he just wanted to come with me. I’ve done that before, brought him up to our apartment and played with him, but I had a feeling that he wouldn’t be the best helper in cooking dinner. He does like to cuddle, but he’s only two and of course likes to get into things. He held on tightly to my hand and didn’t want to let me go.

He was filled enough to stop cuddling, but he didn’t want to give that choice to cuddle up. It’s not very cultural here to cuddle your child here. Our nannies do not do that on a regular basis, I can pretty much guarantee that they did not receive it before they came here, and there are so many kids to give attention to that they do not receive the love they individually need.

I hate that we cannot be enough for these kids, but I am so thankful for their families (I wrote about this in my last blog post). He needed filled. He needed touch. I’m pretty sure this little guy’s love language is touch and sadly, he doesn’t receive as much as he needs. There are so many kids and I hate showing favoritism, but I’m going to try to spend more time with this little one. I’ve been trying, but not consistently. This long time of cuddling today gave me a lot of time to pray for him and we both had our need of cuddling filled. It was truly a blessed time and I will have many more of those in the future as often as I can and he desires.

P.S. Our dinner was late, but still tasted great. Having dinner at a "normal" time was not near as important to us and that cuddle was to this child. I have often wished I didn't have to put him down and could cuddle him all day long.


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