Our blueberry-eyed boy is now eight and one-half months old, and oh my goodness, how he has grown! It is a fascinating study to watch your first baby grow from a helpless and fragile seven-pound, fourteen-ounce newborn, to an active and robust twenty-four-pound baby, and in only a few months’ time.
Each day now brings something new—yesterday the soldier’s crawl, last night piggy noises, this morning a new favorite food—that brings delight to me and his dad, but most especially to Benjamin, who is discovering himself and the larger world. What a privilege and blessing it is to share this magical time with him. It is also often bittersweet to watch Benjamin mature, time and distance expanding daily between his first homecoming and the blueberry-eyed little boy I see emerging before me today.
Benjamin remains an easy child, mild-tempered, and happy most of the time. If he fusses, which is rare, it is primarily for one of two reasons—food and naps. He is a self-scheduled baby, wanting his bottle or food every three hours and a short nap in between. We swear he has a little alarm clock inside to alert him to exactly three hours passing, and when it does, life is happier for all if a warm bottle awaits him. Thankfully, he does not expect the same service at night, instead going to bed in the early evening hours and sleeping for nearly twelve hours at a stretch. Only occasionally at night will I hear a whimper or cry on the monitor, both easily soothed by a quick visit to replace the lost Binky. Benjamin hardly awakes, only opening his mouth to receive said Binky, and then rolling right back over, a return to slumber. Sometimes my reward is a brief flash of those baby blues in the glow of the night lamp and occasionally a gummy smile to acknowledge his appreciation.
Next to his Binky, Benjamin’s Lovie is another dear and favorite item, a miniature version of an ultra-soft, robin’s-egg-blue, satin-lined, Little Giraffe larger blanket & pillow set. The ensemble was an extravagant baby shower gift from a dear friend. Whenever Benjamin sees any one piece, he reaches out and grabs it with zest, shrieks and smiles, leans over and buries his face in it, and then stuffs a corner in his mouth. After the enthusiastic greeting, he explores the soft texture, opening and closing his four tiny fingers repeatedly and in unison, a careful study with eyes focused and lips pursed. We forgot the Lovie recently on a weekend getaway, even after checking and re-checking my travel list. With horror I realized it at the airport, too late to return home. Thank goodness we brought the larger matching blanket, and it seemed to suffice. However, upon returning home and placing him in his crib for a much-needed nap, we handed him the real Lovie— too tired for shrieks or laughter, Benjamin promptly rolled over and buried his face in it, a blissful reunion.
Another love of Benjamin’s is water—in the bath, in his little backyard swimming pool, and in the big neighborhood swimming pool as well. Fearless, he splashes and shrieks with abandon, never minding water in his eyes, nose, or mouth. He finds joy in a warm bubble bath, securely seated in his bath seat, splashing and playing with his numerous bath toys, his bright yellow rubber ducky and a miniature red intertube, his all-time favorites.
The backyard blow-up frog pool was perfect for about one week, during which time he was content to splash and play within the confines of the pool. Two weeks later, Benjamin has started the soldier’s crawl, not quite a full crawl, but he is now fast and can go anywhere his little elbows and knees can scoot him. Naturally, now he prefers to scoot right out of the little backyard blow-up pool and investigate the patio, rocks, landscaping bark—anything but the pool. At our neighborhood pool, Benjamin enjoys a little sun-shade floatie in the shape of a giant black and red ladybug. He loves floating around, watching the other kids play. He looks so relaxed and content, never minding the initial cool water shock. It’s a tough life floating around in the shade, Mom and Dad acting as rotating pool tour guides. Envious male neighbors have commented, if he had a drink holder for his sippy-cup, he’d be set for life.
During a recent viewing of a favorite television program about a family with twins and sextuplets, I burst into tears when old videos were shared, their past precious moments captured forever on home video. We had not yet purchased a video recorder at the time, instead delaying the expense for a brief while—my idea, I must admit. Watching the videos, my regret overwhelmed me, realizing how many memories have already been lost. After looking at me strangely and learning the cause of my tears, my husband promptly disappeared into the office, taking advantage of the opportune moment. Within minutes Amazon.com sent a purchase confirmation for a new camcorder, one he has wanted to own for some time. I didn’t object. Benjamin is growing up fast, and I don’t want to forget this time with him. I want to capture these prized moments in word, photo, and video and tuck them away for later years, to remember and recall with delight his precious moments. How could we ever forget piggy noises, his Incredible Hulk routine in the highchair, his Michelin Man thighs, the booming call that unknowingly seems to beckon “Da-da,” and his squeals of delight when he sees his favorite toy, a disabled TV remote, a gift from big-brother Nick? I will not allow time, the thief of memory, to steal them away forever.