Nathan and I took to the road yesterday to go visit some of my college friends while Jason and Audrey had a daddy/daughter day (or Pancake & Waffle day, if you will). Our day was full, and I didn't blog. Friday, I had built-in time for blogging. I had planned on making soup for dinner. It needed twenty minutes to simmer - bingo. But Audrey, sitting at the table snacking while watching other children playing outside, expelled some gas. "My fart said we can go to the park," she said. I don't speak fart (and really, is there any use arguing with a fart who means business?), so I left the stockpot empty on the stove and told her to grab her coat.
I could have blogged that night. I had a free hour. But there was this baby. He was smiling. I was smiling. If he had been farting, the fart would have said, play with me. So I did. I sang "Everybody was Kung Fighting," (it's a manly song, right?) while moving his arms in karate-chop dance moves. Our smiles grew bigger. Together we performed some baby calisthenics. We laughed. Both of us stayed up way too late. I didn't blog.
During the days, I marvel at faces, comments, firsts, and feats. I tell myself that there are things I will never forget: touching my newborn's back over and over again the first time she was handed to me because her skin was the softest thing I'd ever felt; my son's first deep laugh, the songs that calmed them down (and my awe and relief at being able to do so); and the ways she made me laugh. And, hopefully, I won't. But, just in case, I snap pictures. Pictures that I dig out on lazy Sundays (or search through digitally) with a toddler on my lap. I show her the pictures of her first birthday, her smashed pumpkin cake. She asks to see pictures of friends, her first friends, all of them just babes and all of them playmates still. I begin to notice things. The things I did not (could not) see - the full face and arms (so slim and muscular now) that I did not notice against the rolls of other babies, those that fell average on doctor's scales. I realize that even at nine months she knew who she was: a girl of dress-up and make believe and a rather clever repurposer of found objects, as well as the wearer of never-ending adventure-inspired boo-boos. While enamored with this baby who was (and those parts that still are) there was so much in front of us that we could not see. We could not imagine this girl before us who holds her alphabet-song-singing toy to her ear and exclaims, "There's a kid in there that knows the words!" So we watch, amused and awe-stricken from behind the lens or the keyboard and we try to capture it all. Because we don't know what his tight grip means, or his comfort at stacking his hand on top of ours to keep us there while he sleeps. We only know that it matters, and that time and pictures (or perhaps, his farts) will tell.