Another trimester has passed. And as much as I loved the newborn period, I love this one too. I know for many it can be very tough; but this transition, from 3 to 6 months, from newborn to infant, are some of the sweetest memories for me.
I love how much you’re learning. You play with toys and books, and reach for your paci all on your own. I love the way you grab your feet, and the way you always stick the same two fingers in your mouth. All of the milestones you reached, while they make me so proud, make me only more aware of how fast you’re growing. You learned to roll, you learned to sit, you learned to plank. You’re on the verge of crawling and I’m going to be on the verge of tears if you don’t slow down.
I love that you love being worn. How you’ll look all around at what’s going on, taking it all in. And when you’ve had enough, you’ll snuggle into my chest, and drift off to sleep in the middle of a party, or the middle of the ocean. I love that when you’re fussy, being put in the carrier always works to calm you down. Your head next to my heart, a perfect pair.
I love the sound of your voice. The newborn sounds have faded away, replaced by long conversations of babble, and the most joyous belly laughs. I love the way you talk to yourself in the mirror, and giggle out loud when tickled. Even when it’s 5 am, your intense desire to talk amuses me. I wonder what wonderful things you will say when you learn the magic of words.
I love the way you love your sister. She absolutely steals the show when she’s in the room; your eyes follow her everywhere. I watched you watch her the other night as she got up from the dinner table. Your face was overcome with sadness when she disappeared from your sight, and the tears started rolling and didn’t stop until she came back. When she cries, you cry. When she’s near you, you reach out to touch her. I can already see how much you look up to her, and I hope you have that look in your eyes for a lifetime.
I love nursing you. Your entire face lights up when I walk into your school at lunchtime every day. You jump excitedly in anticipation of the cuddles and warm milk. I love the way you touch my face, memorizing it until the next time I see you. I already see that nursing is changing; you’re more distracted, you move your arms and legs voraciously, you blow raspberries on me and giggle. I’ll miss the quieter moments. I love the way you sometimes drift off to sleep, barely holding on, but still moving your jaw every few seconds to make sure I’m still there. I love the way your milky breath smells. It smells of baby.
I love your wide gummy smile. Seriously, the gummy smile is the best. It’s what makes you still look like a little baby. I’m in no hurry for that first tooth to pop. Oh how it hurt when I realized you were ready for solid food last week. That you were about to start needing me less. That I would no longer be the sole source of your nourishment. When I carry you on my hip, my arm numb from the weight, I remind myself I’ve grown you, all of you, all 19 pounds of you, for the past 16 months, from womb to world. And it’s one of the proudest accomplishments of my lifetime.
I love comforting and snuggling you in the middle of the night. You’ve never slept through, but the only thing I care about is making sure you know that I’m here for you, and teaching you that sleep is a safe, wonderful place. Just this week, while daddy was away, I held you in one arm and your sister in the other. Her long legs were draped over mine at first, but then she was horizontal, and then upside down, and was what felt like miles away. The tears rolled down my face as I realized how quickly she had grown up, and I held on to you just a little bit tighter, hoping to freeze these snuggles in time. Because I’ll blink, and you’ll be a little boy with wild hair and a fierce penchant for asking why.
I love being your mother. I’ve only known you for six months, but it feels like you’ve always been here in our hearts. You’ve completed our family in the most perfect way. But that word complete is so final, and I’m realizing that all of your firsts… will be my lasts. There’s this undercurrent, this dull ache I feel, intermingled in the messiest of ways with all of the joy. It’s bittersweet for me, but forever my baby you’ll be.