Thursday, September 27, 2007

Right now

I've got to write down some of the things le Petit does right now because in the next umpteen years that I'll be responsible for his care and feeding I'm likely to forget the details.

He's sleeping in the Bjorn as I write. He just lifted his head up four or five times and, without waking, let it drop heavily back against my chest. It makes an impressive thud each time, and I wonder what strange, unconscious wiring is responsible for this useless reflex. He ends up in exactly the same position, his head turned to my right. He seems to prefer this side and I wonder if it's because his ear is just over my heart.

When he falls asleep while nursing his head will drop slowly into my lap; he'll often continue to move his mouth in the air or against my belly. If he wakes up a moment later, as he often does, he'll sometimes look up at me with his forehead wrinkled, confused, as if he just noticed he'd misplaced something, like his keys or his glasses. That nipple must be here somewhere, he seems to say. Other times he'll wake up with a start, eyes filled first with bleary surprise then panic like a train passenger who has just realized he's dozed off and missed his stop. If I'm feeling indulgent (which depends on how many times he's just done this, or whether or not I have a good book within reach), I'll nudge his head back up, cradling it with my elbow. When he knows the nipple is again somewhere close by, he'll start frantically turning his head from side to side and throwing it forward randomly. It reminds me of when I'm blindly looking for something at the bottom of my purse. Once the nipple is again safely in his mouth, he closes his eyes and seems to sigh in relief.

When we give him his bath he looks incredibly serious and alert, like he's trying to make a good impression but is not enjoying himself at all. I suspect that when he's older he'll have much the same expression when he goes on job interviews. He curls one arm back behind my husband's, who holds him under his armpit, and he seems to grip on with that hand for dear life. I am in charge of soaping him from head to toe and I always wash that hand last, carefully uncurling his fingers to avoid scaring him.

He gets lint between his fingers and toes, and dirt under his fingernails. I suspect he's gardening in his spare time.

He's started grabbing my index finger while he's nursing if I place my hand next to his head. If he doesn't find my hand he'll grab my shirt or my necklace. Sometimes he'll start patting my belly with his other hand. He does it all absently, but I wonder if he's just making sure I'm not going anywhere without him.

He smiles slowly. The sides of his mouth curl up first, then his lips part and his toothless gums appear, and finally a dimple shows up on each cheek. I think the dimples aren't symmetric, and I think he gets this from his father. I'll have to make my husband laugh tonight to find out.

Sometimes he'll start to smile but only the corners of his mouth will move before he gets all serious again. I think he's trying to make us work harder as parents. "That's my little guy," I'll tell him, my voice in full, high-pitched Mommy mode, "You got a smile for me?" And I'll try to tickle his belly even though I'm pretty sure he's still not ticklish.

He's already changed so much, and three months haven't even passed. I look at his first baby pictures and I almost don't recognize him. Never before has right now seemed so damn short.

No comments: