Friday, June 22, 2012

Everything He Needs -- For Now

At just under eight weeks old, my son has a ways to go before he's talking, motioning or otherwise utilizing more sophisticated means of communication.  

For now, his audible communication consists mostly of crying, a series of whimpers, sucking noises, occasional hiccups, snoring, and bodily functions    usually in that order.  

The next mascot for "Angry Grape Vineyards?"
Throughout this cycle, his eyes get big, and his mouth is left lazily open. His eyes narrow and tighten when he voices displeasure.

And, when he hits the "flip right the hell out " switch, his skin can take on the hew of a concord grape, with each of his capillaries visible.  

When volume won't do the trick he has a slew of facial expressions at his disposal.

There's "super, super surprised baby" in which his eyes grow as wide as he can make them, and lines form on his forehead while his mouth draws tight as a button. (Other bodily responses often accompany this one.)

There's the "I don't trust dad" where his eyes focus intently, his lips purse and his brow furrows more than your average retired man glaring at a group of skateboarding teens.

Occasionally, he smiles. We are told that it's too early for him to genuinely smile and most people attribute any expression approaching a smile to gas.

While my science education stalled after freshman-year botany it seems strange that a baby can be undeniably angry and have the corresponding face to show for it, yet a baby can't be enjoying a moment with a facial expression conveying that fact. 

"You won't believe what I just did."
Until some killjoy scientists publish a study conclusively proving that infants are incapable of smiling genuinely, I'll believe what I see. 

When he's hungry or wants his diaper changed, he gets an angry, frustrated expression. 

When he appears to be comfortable or otherwise enjoying himself, he occasionally smiles. Why wouldn't he?

Life is pretty good right now. 

He cries or otherwise fusses and he gets what he needs. 

Bottle, blanket, tighter swaddling, clean diaper, pacifier? The world is your oyster my son and you don't even need a vocabulary. Process of elimination will see to it that, eventually, you get exactly what it is you're cute little heart desires. 

And, while the crying is every bit as bad as advertised, I am in no rush to be done with this phase. (Mrs. Blackwell might disagree with this assessment as she deals with it more frequently than I.) 

As mentioned above, the process of elimination means that, right now, we can meet each and every one of his needs    quickly. 

"You will probably believe - and be totally dismayed -
by what I just did."
Once he starts talking, the scope widens and addressing his needs is no longer so simple.  

I am thinking specifically of sending him to daycare and to kindergarten. Places where other people can affect his disposition. 

A bottle, a burp and a clean diaper soon won't fix everything and I know soon, I'll long for these days.

If crying and lost sleep is the price we pay for the simplicity of our current state it seems a fair trade. (Again, Mrs. Blackwell might disagree.)

Mrs. Blackwell and I talk frequently about how quickly this is all going by, about how much we'd like to freeze the present for just a bit longer.

Perhaps this self-awareness will lessen any future regret down the line that we took this time for granted or just didn't appreciate it enough. Who knows?

But for now, we're savoring the moments with our non-talking, burping, shrieking, grunting and    occasionally    smiling baby. 

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