Julia is 6 weeks old as of yesterday.
And she’s smiling!! On purpose!! At me!! And at Bill, too, which, in some ways, is even better, because he responds to her smiles, and that is an important milestone in the development of a father.
Plus, to generalize and stereotype in the same breath, this is the beginning of the “wrapping Daddy around your little finger” phase in the life of a little girl.
Just kidding. I don’t recall having my father wrapped around any of my fingers, and I don’t think he was wrapped around my sister’s fingers either. Or is. But then, Mere and I weren’t your cliched “daddy’s girl” girls anyway. I remember wishing I was a boy back when I was younger anyway – I idolized my maternal grandfather and my father, and I guess somehow I thought it was better somehow to do the stuff they did…not realizing that I didn’t need a penis to learn the difference between a flat head and a phillips screwdriver…or that pliers and wrenches can sometimes be used for the same purposes, but not always,…and that catching a ball or throwing it or kicking it can all be done with hands and feet, regardless of gender…and that it’s not a masculine thing to attach a big wire basket to the front of your Schwinn – anyone with the proper tools and rudimentary mechanical ability can do this. And have a paper route.
But I digress.
And I did get past that “I wish I was a boy” thing. I was such a tomboy for a long time, though….which, in retrospect, is not a bad thing. I’ve always thought the word itself was odd…but I am glad that I learned how to do all those stereotypically “boy” things – I am a pretty capable person as a result.
Please don’t anyone write and tell me “girls can” do all the things I mentioned above – I know that. I’m proof of that, actually. But somehow when I was growing up (I’m in my thirties – that’s all you need to know) there was still a wider line of division between what you did and didn’t typically do as either a boy or a girl. Or maybe it just seemed that way to me.
Anyway – I digress again. And babble too. Back to my daughter.
She is smiling.
And it’s one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. So were my son’s first smiles.
There’s just something about those intensely alert and focused eyes and that open-mouthed, toothless grin that grabs your heart and squeezes real tight. And it doesn’t ever completely let go, I’ve noticed.
So she’s smiling in response to me speaking in a Minnie Mouse voice (a few octaves above my normal speaking voice) and saying the silly goofy things you have to say to babies…”How’s my little baby Julia? Hi! Hi! Hi! Are you smiling? Are you smiling? That’s my pretty girl! Oh what a pretty smile!”
I am slightly queasy as I type that – and yet, I can’t help but let it pour out of my mouth when I’m looking at her big eyes and big smile. Mommy insanity.
Of course, Bill is equally silly. He does this “ka ka ka ka” thing at her – kind of a Jimmy Durante “hot cha cha” thing (or whatever he used to say) – and it works. She smiles at him and gazes adoringly. He is under her spell.
And Alex. Oh my little guy.
He is still really wonderful with Julia. He gives her hugs all the time and wants to hold her. Demands. Insists.
So I have him sit on the couch in the corner – anchored against the back and the arm – and have him hold his arms out – and I place Julia carefully on a diagonal across his little tiny lap – and he gently holds her and last night leaned his blond head against her reddish-brown one.
Oh my aching heart. No camera handy, but the image is in my brain and I am sure he will do it again and next time I will be ready.
But – must close now – I hear Alex talking to his stuffed animals and Julia is yelling so she’s awake again too.
Oh – but the best news – she has slept 6 and a half hours for the past two nights!! Already!! Alex took way longer, as I remember.
Anyway – gotta go!