13 May 2009

Hartley: 4 Months Old


I can’t remember who said that a baby isn’t really a person until (s)he learns to laugh, but your mummy must be only half human, as she finds most of the things people say not very funny and spends the bulk of her time with other mummies only pretending to laugh. You, on the other hand, need only go from a fairly placid expression to that maniacal grin of yours and I just can’t help myself - I am ROTFL (you’ll not only know what that means one day but will probably find it rather dated). And I guess on the 20th of April at approximately 1600 hrs you decided to get all personable, because that is when I heard you laugh for the first time.

You are easily bored at home and even though we’d been out for most of the day and I hadn’t once resorted to putting you in front of the television, I was running out of ways to entertain you. I started lifting you over my head in a kind of rhythmic, vertical airplane ride so that I could keep my eye on the Gilmore Girls and suddenly you made a noise that sounded so perfectly like a baby laughing I thought you might be hiding a tiny tape recorder of sound effects in your nappy (thank you for not doing ‘gun going off’ or ‘woman screaming,’ by the way). I brought you down to face level and studied you for a moment before throwing you back into the air, again and again, making you laugh and laughing with you until my arms ached.


Try as I might, I could not for the life of me get you to replicate that sound for daddy, not even after a feed and a lovely nap and me saying, Wait, watch, I think he’s going to do it! while I pumped you into the air for the twentieth time and you sucked your fist at me with mild interest.

Of course since then, we’ve been doing our best to understand just what it is about us you find so amusing. Sometimes I’ll be feeding you and typing an email over your head and for no discernible reason you’ll stop mid-suck to look up at my face and laugh. I find this unbearably sweet and always tickle your chin and kiss the folds of your neck whenever you do this, so possibly you’re just discovering better ways to get our attention – ways that do not involve indignant squawking, which you always resort to if I leave you to amuse yourself while I dry dishes or put away groceries or hang out the washing. I think you are expressing your resentment at having to watch your mummy occupy a traditionalist role within our household. We may need to hire a maid.


You’re growing in so many ways now, and so quickly, that I’d need to completely deconstruct you in order to tease them all out. I won’t attempt this, but I will itemise some things I don’t ever want to forget in case you outgrow them before next month:

  • The way your squawks of indignation turn to excited shrieks as you see me fumbling at my nursing bra. If I reach you before you’re good and ready to pack up your pity party, you’ll make a few more noises of despair, even though my nipple is in your mouth and you’re already contentedly feeding.
  • The way you lace your little fingers together while you eat
  • The way it sometimes takes you a few seconds to calculate whether or not the occasion of having woken from a deep sleep warrants a cry and, once you’ve decided that yes, it does, the way your bottom lip pops out and you let out a staccato waah that sounds more like baah before bringing down the house with your hoarse, boyish wails. Forgive us – we laugh because we love these. We practically stumble over ourselves to make you feel better, although once I rocked you in my arms while daddy filmed you.
  • The way you smile at me whenever I appear in your line of vision. The way you smile extra hard at daddy, now that you realise there are two of us on your team, and that one of us is not afraid to hang you upside-down from his knees.



I could go on and on, but I don’t think I can convince you to nap for much longer, and anyway, I hope that you’ll keep doing these things that are unique to you, and that I won’t have to resort to writing them down so as not to forget them, at least for a little while.

In the meantime, please know that your smile and your laughter mean more to me than anything, because sometimes it hits home that you are doing these things for me and then I feel sorry that you got stuck with such a silly, frightened, self-conscious mother who has to push through all her insecurities just to get you out of the house and around to all the people who want to see and play with you.

But it’s hard to stay anxious when the most beautiful little boy in the entire world is beaming at you with his whole face, and then you know that you musn’t be doing too badly.


Happy fourth month, little smiler. I love you hugely.

1 comment:

thelass said...

He just gets cuter and sweeter with each of these updates. What fun you and Bruce must be having!!