30 June 2010


I'm not living up to my end of the blog-bargain, am I? I have in my daily care the most fascinating and adorable creature on God's green earth and I don't even write about him, or--worse--post pictures of him? In my defense, it's been a very, very busy summer so far, and also, my camera has decided to disallow downloading of photographs. (Only days after the flip video went berserk, too. Grrr.)

Gabriel is 4.5 months old already (and still 90th percentile for weight and 98th for height!), and I can't believe how awesome and alert and wide-eyed and funny he is. Every week I think back to the previous week and realize he's doing or paying attention to something entirely new. Breathtaking. And how fantastic it is to have him around all the time, the best sidekick ever. There's always someone grinning at you wildly when you walk into a room, someone to force you to break out of even the most boring and serious grown-up-type conversations and laugh or coo or make baby-talk with abandon.

Actually, that's related to what for me has been one of the biggest surprises of parenthood. I knew there would be great parts, but honestly I also thought it would be an eternal DRAG, having to leave the party/tv show/movie/meal/conversation to respond to a crying baby or feed a hungry baby or change a dirty baby or whatnot.

But really? Whatever I'm leaving doesn't hold a candle to the satisfaction of being able to answer whatever need the baby has, the pure straightforward joy of feeling a child get heavy with sleep on my shoulder, the calm bliss of nursing, when his little hands wave like starfish, or even making him clean again.

Also, there's an added bonus. In party-like situations, where I've had to retreat from the festivities to feed the baby quietly so he falls asleep (or even when he refuses to calm down and it's just a long arm-aching shush circus) I actually RELISH the feeling of everything going on outside while we do our own thing. It's a legitimate, socially-approved excuse to be an introvert! There was one gathering (I won't name names) where M. and I actually squabbled over who would get to stay in the quiet room with an unconsolable infant!

When I lived at the unofficial department-party-house, and we hosted the semi-annual barbeques or halloween fests, after hours of hosting and socializing I would run up to my room in the wee hours of the morning to get something. Invariably I would sit on my bed, and lulled by the blissful feeling of being in my own safe cocoon while the hum of music and conversation filtered through the floorboards, I would lean back and drop to sleep. That's what retreating with the baby feels like: creating a hushed, safe place for just the two of us.

Once the baby is asleep, and I come out blinking into the light, there also exists the perfect awkward conversation exit, which is that I better check the baby or I think I hear the baby crying.

Anyway. It comes as a surprise to me that precisely what I thought would be one of the worst, or at least most annoying, parts of being a parent, is actually one of the best.