Assignment: Feeling a toddler’s arm around my neck:

K. was a phenomenally passionate, forceful, easily inflamed, and difficult to distract toddler. When she was happy she was very happy, and when she was mad she was livid. She often went on long crying jags, and I would hold her and rock slowly back and forth from foot to foot, patting her on her back to bring her through these. She took to patting me on the back at the same time. It was such a dear thing---here she was all upset and offering me comfort at the same time. No way to know what she really thought of that gesture…
K. was round all over, a dimpled dumpling that was impossible to resist. One could not see her without wanting to hold all those curves. And she did cuddle, but, she also threw tantrums and went rigid with rage or limp with passive resistance. I know any toddler can do these things but K.!----She lived life out loud, and I often had to stick a finger in my ear closest to her wailing mouth. Once she gets through these teenage years of individuation or whatever the psychiatrist calls it, I do hope she can have a place or a time or a way to be herself, her phenomenally passionate, forceful self. And that she can cuddle with someone, and rejoice that the world finds her impossible to resist.

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