I can see these phases coming and recognize them for what they are. Right now, the name of the game is separation anxiety. My baby who, a week ago, could scoot around the house, following her sisters happily is now in tears if she's not in my arms. Breakfast has become whatever I can prepare one-handed. Putting her down to sleep in her crib is no longer a happy goodbye before she drifts off to the land of nod. As I type this, she is reaching over my keyboard, trying to smash all of the buttons.
It won't last forever, and it's not the last time any of my babies will need me. When that need is relentless, it can be overwhelming. I'm trying to remember it is part of Summer's growth. One day she'll slam the door on me, I'm sure. Today, she needs my arms, my presence close by, my reassuring drop to the floor to spontaneously cuddle.
She is starting to take steps: along the table, pushing her little shopping cart. She is learning to go where her feet will take her. Away from me, into my arms, after her sisters. It won't be long before my last little baby takes her first steps, and then she'll be off. No turning back. In the meantime, if she needs my legs as a prop, my arms as a comfort, I am (mostly) happy to oblige. I can make supper with her strapped to my back, pulling my hair, scratching my shoulders. It is not comfortable for me, but that's not the point.
I am her mountain to climb, her refuge when frightened or hurt, her safe place to land. What a privilege, what an honour.