Our bear is six-months old – 19 of 100

James turned six-months old on Saturday. Here are some things I want to remember about this moment in time:

-After I feed him in the morning, I prop him standing up on my lap and he tilts his head to the right and grins at me.

-He’s desperate to stand up. He can pretty much sit on his own, but every time I set him down to practice, he’s pushing himself up, straightening his legs. I can’t be sure – but I think it’s a sign of independence and eagerness to get out and explore.

-He used to cry and cry when I put him down for naps, but now, he tucks into my shoulder, pops his thumb in his mouth and listens to me sing. My heart pretty much explodes every time.

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-He loves to be kissed – especially on his inner thighs. It makes him squeal with delight. He loves it when I howl like a wolf and then drop my voice right at the end. When I get him giggling, I’ll do anything to keep it going.

-I am amazed by how much communication can happen with a baby who cannot speak a word. He tells me everything: when he’s hungry, tired, what he likes, doesn’t like, when he’s bored, when he’s happy. I had this fear when I was pregnant that I’d be the first mother on the planet to have no instincts – but I now see that that is entirely impossible.

-When he was very small, I used to fear losing him all the time. I still do, but my more daily fear now is that I will die and he won’t remember me. It’s a bit morbid and maybe a little narcissistic. I have this crazy desire to stay alive at least long enough that he’ll know how much and how completely he is loved.

-Watching the man you love become a dad is an extraordinary thing. The way Dan can’t wait to see James as soon as he pops out of bed and again when he’s home from work. The way he swings him around and makes James laugh. The way he peeks at the baby monitor every night right before we go to bed and sighs, “I love James.” To have a partner in all this – to share this wild love – it’s beyond words.

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-Nicknames: little J, little B, Mr. B, Bugaboo, Bugabee, Bug Bug, James B, Mugwai, Bean Bon, Mr. Boo, Boo

-People want to hold him all the time-especially mothers. We were in Glacier National Park the other week in a little lounge and this older man and woman struck up a conversation, making silly faces at James, just being generally friendly. As we got up to leave, the husband piped up and said, “I think my wife would love to hold that baby.” You can see the look come over their faces when he’s in their arms- it is the same with every mother – a wash of love, nostalgia, of all of the mixed up emotions that come with time passing. And I get it. In her essay “Baby Weight“, upon becoming a mother, Cheryl Strayed finally grasps why her mother loved to hold babies so much: “I understood something that had never occurred to me before: that when she had raved about the smell or weight of a baby in her arms, she hadn’t really been talking about that borrowed baby, she had been talking about me.”

-And that’s the thing about being a parent: you live in a perpetual state of bittersweet. You are so excited to see your child progress – to roll, to laugh, to stand – to know who they are! And yet, a day will come, when you can no longer kiss his pudgy little thighs to your heart’s delight, or sweep him up into your arms whenever you like – when he’ll no longer tuck so perfectly into your shoulder and listen to you sing.

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-Time becomes different – a physical thing. You can actually see it passing in your baby’s growth, in their face, the way they change every day. And boy does it go by fast.

IMG_2376 -Sometimes, when he’s quiet, we’ll lie next to each other on the ground, roll onto our sides and look at each other. Or he’ll grab my face and pull me close when I have him on the change table. We look at each other, and he touches my face and I run my fingers through his downy hair, and we smile this twin knowing smile. I feel like we are having the most ancient conversation there is – like we have uncovered the very origin of love.

4 thoughts on “Our bear is six-months old – 19 of 100

  1. Wow Sky so beautiful!

    It is such a profound experience that you two are living! It delights/thrills us that you are appreciating every moment! And it gives us vicarious goosebumps!!!

    Jim Hornig

    >

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