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Watching

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I have never spent so much time just staring at someone. I spend hours every day looking down at him while he nurses, watching him sleep, examining his tiny hands, smoothing his shiny hair. It is impossible to describe how much he has changed since the moment of his birth, because I haven’t looked away from him for more than a few hours, so the changes happen gradually right in front of my eyes.

I don’t know when he started settling into a pose we call “senior class photo” at the end of every feeding. With his chin resting on one fist and his head on the other, he appears to be carefully contemplating his future plans.

He has always shown he’s getting hungry by sticking out his tongue, but I think this variation is more recent: he carefully looks off to the side before testing the air with his tongue, as if to say, “I’m totally not interested in your boob, but if it just happened to show up in my mouth that would be cool.” Later, when things are getting more serious, he opens his mouth in a wide, cockeyed way, which somehow reminds me of a pirate. “Yar,” he says, casting about for the nipple.

And he’s definitely smiling more and more every day. Not quite smiling at us yet, but smiling a thousand-watt smile into the middle distance. It breaks my heart with its beauty.

We’ve put up small mirrors next to his changing table, and in the last few days, we’ve both noticed him starting to focus on his own face in the mirror. He was staring at himself in the mirror today as he got so excited about his new diaper that he sprayed pee up into the air, onto the mirrors, into his hair, and all over his outfit. In a few weeks, he’s going to do that again, except this time he’ll do it with a mischievous, lovable smile.

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