She was a blob of protoplasm, carried from room to room, doted on and stared at. She absorbed it all.
Long, slow back rubs led to cat-like stretching. Whispering into her tiny ear brought her head closer to my mouth. Singing Miss Adelaide's songs from Guys and Dolls slowed her breathing. She lay on my chest, swaddled or naked, rising with my every breath.
There were creases and folds and curves to love. The nape of her neck.... the inner bend of her elbow.... all those thigh rolls.... I could lose myself for long, lovely minutes at a time. Her wishes were expressed in scrunched eyeballs and loud yelps, in twisting and curling away. Displeasure was clearly understandable; her face became square and purple and full of angry wrinkles. It never felt sad; she was pissed off and letting us know it.
Falling asleep with the baby on my chest, matching inhales and exhales, everyone tiptoeing around so as not to disturb the scene. Daddy dancing with FlapJilly swaying and dipping and twirling. Thomas the Wonder Dog sniffing and barking and licking and taking care. Through it all, the baby was the axis around which we rotated.
She wasn't bringing much to the table. She didn't initiate activities, unless they were digestive in nature. She was waking up to the world around her, and we were there to be sure that she survived. Little Cuter kept telling her that it would be much easier to be her parent if there were words available; she'd be happy to do whatever it was that the kid wanted, if she could only deduce what it was.
Tracking with her eyes. Seeking the source of a familiar voice. Finding her mouth with her hands, then individuating the fingers. Petting the pooch with those fingers, marveling at the sensation she'd created all on her own. Closing those fingers around Mr. Giraffe and bopping herself in the face with him. Recognizing that getting naked and then swaddled meant bedtime, following the one arm, then the other then the legs routine with a smile on her face. She was investigating her world one little piece at a time as we watched her grow.
She laughed out loud. She rolled over. Then she rolled the other way. It surprised her and she was displeased, but she got over it quickly. There was no time spent wallowing; there were other things to learn. The shiny Nambe rattle kept bonking her in the head; coordination was required. Solid foods were introduced, and the tongue and lips and gums were called on to do new and more interesting things. Peas! Carrots! Apples! On her face and her fingers and down her gullet into her tummy. Ounces and ounces of foodstuffs, pureed and, most recently, in small, soft pieces. Without teeth, cheerios are still unapproved. Slices of avocado can be mashed in her mouth, taking her down the path toward hot dogs and bagels.
And now she is sitting up. All on her own without props or encouragement, she's looking at the world head on. In six short months the infant has vanished and a little girl has arrived. She sits in the pink plastic car we bought her and beeps the horn. She poses for her mother with an upright spine.
She reaches for and knocks over the stacking toy before her and suddenly we know - it's time to start to play!
I miss the infant I knew and loved. I can hardly wait to become acquainted with the little girl now inhabiting her body.