It’s been two months now, and every day is still an adventure.
You smile so much now that it’s not at all hard to catch your toothless grins with the camera. Your whole face lights up, and you open your mouth so wide sometimes and always have the tongue in play. You still often smile in your sleep, but more, you smile when you see me or your daddy smile. You recognize my voice, and I always laugh when you give me that happy face. I’m sure your own laugh is right around the corner. It seems so close, sometimes.
Last night, I was trying to get you to sleep. I was starting to get a little frustrated with the process because every time I moved or stopped moving, your eyes would open big again. So I brought you out to the living room where your dad was dozing in front of cartoons. I sat on the exercise ball, bouncing you, trying to keep the nuk in your mouth, and you opened up your eyes, looked right into mine and smiled, which beamed out from behind that pacifier. I tried not to smile back. Because it was time to disengage, to be calm, to sleep. But I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t look at you and keep a straight face. And of course, I couldn’t not look at you.
But as easy as the smiles come, so do the tears. We never know what is coming next with you. It’s almost as if the hormones are getting to you even more than me. You have even been known to smile and cry at the same time. And I’m sorry to laugh so hard at your obvious suffering, but it really is hilarious.
Before you were born, I felt like we had an understanding between the two of us. It was hard to explain, and still is, but most of the time, you seem to know just what I need. Not that I ever need to hear you scream yourself voiceless, but your smiles and quiet alert times have coincided well with times when I might need to laugh a little bit, myself, or fold laundry. I’m getting better at knowing what you need, too, even though you sometimes seem to be constantly changing your mind about that, yourself.
You are definitely getting bigger and heavier. You eat like a champ, but you haven’t gotten chubby yet. Instead, you have beautiful long limbs and an overall leanness. We can feel your muscles gaining strength, and I love to watch your arms and legs flail and kick. You have turned yourself from lying lengthwise to lying widthwise when left to your own devices, and you are beginning to squirm your way around the changing table during diaper operations. Your neck is so strong now that unless you are asleep, it’s usually working hard to turn your head so you can look at the light, the curtain, the sofa cushion or any number of other fascinating things in your environment. You have also become quite adept at pulling parental fingers toward your mouth, and even though you still don’t seem to notice that you’re sucking on your own fist instead of something new, it’s still amazing to watch how you’re learning.
One of our favorite things about you is how you scrunch up your face and stretch your arms as you wake up. We also love how you sigh through your nose as you look lazily around, as if you are suffering terrible ennui but have accepted that there is no remedy in sight. And that you often bless yourself after sneezing, how you love having a naked bottom, and like to chew on everything, including pacifiers, shoulders, cheeks, your own clothing, fists and fingers, our shirts, fingers, arms, and blankets on the floor. (Also my nipples, which is not so enjoyable.) You just do so many adorable things that I can hardly keep up with my camera and words because I usually prefer to sit back and experience interacting with you in the moment.
I’m sorry that I sometimes let your screaming get to me. I know that every new mom has their moments, some kept as secrets, when she just wants to let her fussy baby roll off her lap and drop to the floor, but I always feel bad about those moments. Those nights when I just can’t get you to calm down and go to sleep, the early mornings when I can’t solve your problems, the afternoons I just have to give myself a break and leave you with Dad for a little while. I feel like I should have tried harder, done better, but instead I had to pass you off, hand you over. And sometimes when your dad accomplishes what I could not, it makes me feel like more of a failure, but at the same time, I’m so grateful to him, so thankful for him. He tells me I’m a great mom, though, and when you fall asleep on my chest, I can feel in my bones that it’s true.
We don’t always bathe you every day like we probably should, and we haven’t yet established a regular nap and sleep schedule. I don’t read you stories every day like I want to, and we still have the television going a little more often than we probably should. But we always respond to your whimpers and sighs, and we keep you warm and fed and dry. We love you more with every new smile, gurgle and raised eyebrow, and even though we’ve let the whole Christmas frenzy fall by the wayside this year as far as decorations and gifts, having you around is more special than anything I could find wrapped up in pretty paper and bows.
Merry Christmas, little guy.