Thursday, January 22, 2009
Benny helpfully pointed out yesterday that my "about me" blurb on this blog has Manolin perpetually stuck at 6 months of age. He's actually closing in on 8 months. At this stage of the game, a difference of two months is actually a very big deal. Two months turns flopping to sitting, rolling to crawling, rice cereal to finger foods. Big doings when you still haven't reached that pivotal milestone of being in the world longer than you were in the womb.
Watching Manolin leapfrog forward has brought out all of the emotions you would expect. I daily find myself reveling in his new skills, all the while looking wistfully at the time that has already passed and the skills already discarded.
Manolin is developmentally on target. He sits solidly, rolls when he chooses, eats like a horse and babbles meaningfully whenever he catches your eye. He gives the biggest belly laughs I've ever heard from an infant; he's even developing a bit of a sense of humor, which is delighting Atticus to no end. Manolin sucks his thumb, basks in the love of others and is comfortable enough to fall asleep in his daddy's lap when the mood strikes him. He is the epitome of an almost 8 month-old.
You'd never know his history by looking at him. The only reminders of the abuse he suffered that will carry into his adulthood are a small indentation at his hairline and a white teardrop scar in the corner of his mouth.
We love him like crazy. The bonding between our already established family and this smiling, happy baby was almost instantaneous. There was no courtship--no dancing around emotions, no getting to know you, no wondering what the future would hold. The first time I saw a photo of Manolin, I knew he was my son. I can't tell you why or how. I can just say that it was so.
As I write this, Manolin is making concerted attempts to turn his on-his-bottom scoot into an actual forward crawl. He's reaching, straining, fussing and casting me the occasional "a little help here?" glance that lets me know I have seamlessly become his safe place. In a few minutes, I will scoop him up and tell him it's time for a nap. I will settle him in his crib and he will beam at me as I hand him Bandito, his stuffed Racoon, and cover him with his velvety blanket. He will wedge his thumb in his mouth and snuggle Bandito against his cheek. In two hours, he will let me know he's awake by babbling loudly and thumping his feet against the crib mattress with a resonating bang that still shocks me with its veracity. He will have a bottle and then he will go back to the work of learning to crawl.
And I will be there, every minute. I will watch and take note, because these precious days do not last, even when forever is on the table.