The Always Growing, Squirming Bundle of Joy
A year in the life of a newborn
I'm handed a tightly packaged bundle and it moves, opening its cornflower blue eyes, and coos. Love erupts, and I can't imagine the future because I'm enchanted by the present.
Time passes, the bundle grows. Fists unfurl like daisies shaking off the dew and welcoming the sun. Legs kick and stretch, still a bit bowed, but sturdy. These same legs support a wobbly body – our little weeble – held upright so he won't fall down.
Tummy time on the play-time mat. Initially, not a happy time for either of us. Red-faced from the effort, finally after several months, a successful rollover. Then the fun begins watching a little bugger add independent mobility to his world.
I learn that someone else would rather sleep on his tummy than his back, but since you flip regularly, in the night, like a jumpy pancake, I don't worry.
Cheers to celebrate the boppy's final use as "propper-upper" when you push it away the first time insisting, in your wordless, smiling way that you can sit very well on your own – and you do.
Later, my cell phone sits on the ground out of reach. You're squalling because you want that "toy." I watch each part of you stretch, a determined earthworm working toward the goal: to reach the tempting "treat." I wonder why you don't resort to rolling. But something new waits on the horizon.
On your belly – this time by choice – raising up onto open hands and solid knees, toes pointed behind. I watch the rocking, back and forth, wondering whether the neurons' synapses will fire and your arm will move as you will it, then your leg, then your other arm.
A sudden scoot forward – I'm not sure who's more surprised, you or I. You reach your prize which I reluctantly pry from your triumphant grasp.
Fast forward to late fall. You've mastered the pulling-up and standing routine. You're multitasking when you clap or wave your cloth diaper, celebrating your new perspective on the world.
One day, a foot slides forward. A wobble. A fall. A second attempt. And a third and a hundred-and-third and thousand-and-third and you're walking. I love my little drunken sailor lurching side-to-side touching walls, furniture for balance and reaching for our hands for reassurance.
By your first birthday you've metamorphosed from powder-scented package to exploring toddler who's flashing an impish grin that challenges me to keep up.