Dear Little One,
Last night, you cruised through ten hours of sleep without a peep. I woke to an odd chiming noise, which, after some momentary disorientation, I discerned to be the alarm set the night before to wake me for a morning run. From your corner of the room came sucking, slurping noises as you occupied yourself with a drooly fist.
You turned three months old last week, and I think of the thirteen weeks and four days that have passed since you became such a tangible, weighty part of our lives. In the past thirteen weeks and four days, we’ve memorized your rolls (on neck, wrists, ankles, thighs, and upper arms), cries (hungry, tired, bored, scared, and surprised), and poops (once every four days and when it comes, nothing in a two-foot radius is safe, including, to date, your armpits, my shorts, and a hotel pillow).
Today Meme was walking on the beach and came across a mama horseshoe crab with a tiny passenger on her back. The mama was in trouble–deserted by a retreating tide and succumbing to exhaustion. The baby on her back scuttered frantic legs trying to release her mom from the sandy prison that would become a grave. Meme dug with a shell around the never-giving-up mama crab who, with a renewed whiff of safety for herself and her baby, propelled herself again toward the surf. Last seen, the mama horseshoe crab charged into the ocean, caught the current, corrected herself, and shot into the depths, her baby in its translucent, fragile shell clinging, still clinging, to the safety of her mama’s back.
Sometimes I have nightmares of you drowning, Little One. It’s a horror scenario that I know well from years of dreaming of Little Friend drowning as well. Especially now, with you still so translucent and fragile and dependent, I have waking nightmares of something happening to me leaving you to a beached life of no mama’s safety. These nightmares, while unwelcome certainly, can be read as clues on a treasure map, giving subtle hints to where the truest treasure lies: in you.
Even though you’re still so brand new to this life that you don’t know what ice cream tastes like, what a jet engine sounds like, what a hippopotamus looks like, you are my treasured passenger–every roll, cry, and poop of you.
In the past month, you’ve conquered great heights: two rounds of needles puncturing the perfectly plump skin of your thighs, a road trip to the beach, a full night’s sleep. This life that we normally measure from such great heights–like graduations, weddings, babies–comes into such sharp, slow focus that the first steps in sand get celebrated with fanfare usually reserved for more cataclysmic events.
Now that I’ve got ten hours of sleep under my belt, I feel refreshed enough to say: I love these baby months for the sharp, slow focus they bring.
But what I love most, the thing that would give me that final burst of energy to cross any finish line, is your smile. The slow way that you will focus on me with almost purple-blue eyes. Think. Register. Beam. Throw a gaping, sucking smile in my direction that says, “Hello! It’s you! I’m so, so, so, so glad it’s you!”
What do you want for Christmas, Little One? Name your fancy. Smile at me. It’s yours.
Happy three months.