I sit in your room in the chair by the window, soft afternoon light speckling your perfect olive skin as you nurse contentedly, occasionally pulling back your head to look your big dark eyes up at mine. It’s a rare moment of quiet while your brother is occupied, my phone is out of reach and your dad is working. It’s just you and me and that spectacular afternoon light. As your little hand reaches across my face I take hold, wrapping your fingers around mine as I try in vain to imprint this fleeting moment in my eternal memory.
I find myself often racing through the day from one ‘to-do’ to another, the afternoon and bedtime wrangle arriving before I feel I’ve had a chance to have my fill of your loveliness. Because you are, so lovely. And regardless of whether you are our last baby, you will never again be this age, never again learn for the first time to grab your toes and pull them delightedly into your gummy mouth. So each day I try my best to take leave of the rush and just be with you, to observe you in this moment in time.
And my girl there are plenty of moments each day that I just feel my heart swell with joy. Perhaps none more so than seeing the love grow between you and your brother. You reserve your biggest smiles and your heartiest laughs just for him. Often you will be mid cry and he will work his silly-face magic and within seconds your red angry expression will have softened into smiling eyes and a toothless grin. This is not to say that things are always harmonious between you. I find myself constantly reminding your brother to be gentle with you, to watch out for you. Sometimes those requests for gentleness don’t always work and occasionally an overzealous arm will be flung your way. Mostly you take it in your stride, learning to be tough for the mere fact that you have a rough brother. A few weeks ago, an hour before your dad and I were due to leave for a rare date night, your brother, in his excitement, connected his elbow loudly with your head. And you screamed and screamed until I could calm you at the breast. Movie night was cancelled and I instead spent the night checking your head for swelling. Thankfully such incidents are few and far between.
We’ve reached the four-month sleep regression stage where the developments come thick and fast and you are trying your best to take it all in. So you are waking more, crying more and generally more unsettled. Yet your easy-going nature makes navigating these developmental leaps only mildly challenging. And it’s a wonder to watch those connections form in your brain while you learn to use your hands and coordinate your body to grab things and bring them to your mouth (which by the way makes me terrified for all the tiny paraphernalia scattered over the house courtesy of your brother). You roll with ease now and move in a worm-like wriggle from place to place. I fear crawling will not be too far away.
Beyond the physical milestones you are increasingly intrigued by the world around you. As you sit on my lap your still slightly wobbly head turns from side to side observing the sights: inquisitive mind ticking over behind those brown eyes. Sometimes you will let out a squeal of satisfaction or a babble of conversation and I wonder at what your voice will be like, at the actual conversations we will one-day have. For now though, I’m busy enjoying wrapping my arms around your squishy body, smothering your face in kisses and delighting in that utterly endearing incomprehensible babble.
I love you beyond measure baby girl.