Posted by: emjb | January 13, 2006

Two Months

Fear the cuteness.

Dear Nathan,

You’re so far away, on the eve of your second-month birthday, away in Texas being spoiled and adored by your grandparents. I think you probably miss me, and that makes me feel guilty, but I know you’ve got many years of my attention coming your way, so I’m sure we’ll make up for it. The next week before I see you is going to go awful slow, though. I look at your pictures all day, trying to get my fix, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.

Your daddy tells me you’ve gotten a little sore from all the picking up and cuddling you’ve had the last few days, and it makes me wish I was there even more, fending off well-meaning relatives who want to love you to death. Though who can blame them, really? Still, it must be kind of a shock for you after a fairly quiet month up here, to be suddenly shuttled here and there and squeezed and cuddled to pieces. Don’t worry, it’ll all calm down soon and we can get into whatever our new routine will be.

I miss you, but I’m so glad you’re there and out of here. Our little apartment with its crumbling linoleum and substandard lighting was good enough for me and Matt. We’ve been gypsies a long time, we’re used to living skimpy. But when you came home with us, suddenly I could see how dim and cruddy it was, and it wasn’t good enough for you. For you, I’m willing to up my standards. I’m willing to go back to Texas (or anywhere else, come to think of it) if it means you can have a decent place and maybe a yard or even a dog when you’re old enough. God willing, we’ll be able to give you those things without too much trouble.

Your dad has been in a sort of baby boot camp with you, first here in Brooklyn and now in a slightly easier situation where he has his parents to call on. Still, you are our responsibility, and we’re going to keep being the ones changing and feeding you and getting up with you at night. Our parents aren’t going to get us off the hook on that one, because they paid their dues already, and that’s only fair. We’re groggy and battered, but we’re surviving it, somehow.

You’re an easy baby, but “easy” and “baby” are a contradiction in terms. You can’t do anything for yourself, and even easy babies keep their parents hopping. So don’t take it the wrong way if we seem really eager for you to grow past this stage; it’s not that we don’t love your baby-cuteness, it’s that it’s kind of a grind when we’re your only entertainment 24/7.

Still, there is something about your little cuddly body, and the way you are delighted by shadows and colors and sounds that seem very ordinary to us, because to you it’s all something brand new and amazing. Your smiles are still uncertain and fleeting…happiness is new, too, so you are not always certain when a smile is called for. And somewhere in the random sounds you make I can hear a laugh forming, but you haven’t finished creating it yet. You already get that musky little-boy sweaty smell that is so different from that of a little girl. It reminds me that I really don’t have any idea what I’m in for with raising a boy, but that it will be interesting and hopefully fun all the same.

There is something in the way you look at me, sometimes, when I’m feeding you, with your eyes so round and curious…what is it that fascinates you? It’s hard to believe my perfectly ordinary face can be of such interest. It’s hard not to get a swelled head about it, too. It’s like being a movie star, being stared at by her number-one fan.

You’ve left Brooklyn for good, but you’ll always be able to consider yourself part-Yankee if you want to, a relic of your crazy parents’ decision to go haring off to the wilds of New York. But I know in a year you’ll start babbling with a Texas accent and sound like any other little redneck baby. Someday we’ll bring you back up here and show you where you lived your first 7 weeks. Perhaps it will be when you’re a loutish teenager, bored, and wondering when we’re going to take you someplace interesting, already. Is it weird that that idea makes me laugh? That I look forward to your loutish years, to all of it? But I do. Your life is a book I can’t wait to read.

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Responses

  1. “Your life is a book I can’t wait to read.”

    THAT is SO beautiful.

    Hh

  2. Damn, he’s cute. And big. And bean-bag floppy.
    Although hard for you, it’s cool that your husband gets this time with him.
    (Though it does highlight a gross unfairness: men taking care of babies are treated like gods. When my husband went out with our baby, people fell all over him. But when I did, they avoided my eyes, like, ugh — a mother with a baby, hope she doesn’t make me hold the door for her or something!)
    Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  3. aww, thanks. The flip side is (I posted a few entries down) that he also gets treated with suspicion….one stewardess on his flight down seemed to suspect he’d just stolen the baby, and grilled him before she let him on the plane.

    But overall, yeah, people are all “Wow! That’s so progressive!” As though we were doing it to Make a Statement, when really, it just happens to work better that way. If it worked better when I stayed home, we’d do that. People need to get over their gender role hangups.


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