Friday, May 2, 2008

Little Fingers and Little Toes

Four months is a magic age. I wish I could bottle it up and keep it for always… occasionally unscrewing the lid and breathing it in.

I can’t lie. The first three months were difficult. The newborn fussies left me exhausted and frustrated. Kiana was a fickle sleeper. The only way to keep her happy was to hold her. But holding her wasn’t enough. I also had to be looking at her. And smiling. And if I wasn’t looking at her there would be tears. Not angry tears, but “Why doesn’t anybody love me?” tears. I sometimes felt manipulated. I realize how silly that sounds, but a woman who wakes up to feed her baby three two seven times a night for three months is too tired to be rational.

There were many wonderful moments of course. She gave her first honest-to-goodness social smile at three and a half weeks. When she was happy, she was really happy, emitting heavenly smile spasms that could shake the world.

She was so tiny, swimming in her newborn nightgowns and fitting like a ball into two hands cupped tightly together.

The tenderness a mother could feel toward her newborn daughter actually blew me away. It felt like silky rose petals fresh out of the dryer. It tasted like caramelized strawberries swirled in sweet cream. It sounded like a velvet piano disguised as a whisper.

But that love multiplied as Kiana passed over the three month bump. A whole new baby emerged; one who recognized her limbs as her own, one who could be content on a blanket to explore the world by herself, one whose tears were limited to hunger pangs and onesies being pulled over her head.

But four months, four months is the most amazing age yet. Still a princess, Kiana carries the expectation of be looked at and admired at all times. But I feel appreciated rather than used now. Like the sun rises and sets with me. Like I am chocolate milk.

She is only 11 ibs, barely grazing the 8th percentile in height and weight. Her newborn body was preserved for me to enjoy for just a few extra minutes, but I get all the tricks of a four month baby. She rolls her way across the room. She wears a permanent display of frothy bubbles on her lips and kicks and giggles in the tub. She coughs to get my attention. She uses the word “goink.”

One of my favorite parts of this age is watching her explore with her hands and feet. She holds my hand as she nurses. She finds toys and crinkles them with her tiny fingers. She pulls her daddy’s arm hairs as he holds her in his lap.

Her toes are a wonder. She can open them, close them, stretch them out wide, and wiggle them individually. I’ve never seen anything like it (except in my husband, but he wears socks). Kiana is enamored with her feet. While in her car seat, she’ll lift one foot up in the air and examine it till we arrive at our next destination. When I put her on the blanket, she spends most of her time hanging onto her toes or playing footsies with the nearest stuffed animal.

And she snuggles. As I rock her back and forth she allows her body to dissolve into mine. She squishes her cheek against my face. I walk her to the mirror and we stare at our reflections. My face is weathered by the sun and blemishes; hers’ is seamless and perfect. We look beautiful together.

She is my daughter.


brenley said...

you seriously are the best writer and you capture moments so perfectly!! i wish i could have you write the thought and feelings i have about my son and daughter on the way. really bethany, you are so good at writing!! i love reading your blog!

Kristy said...

Ahhh, that was a blissful read. What a beautiful daughter--I want to keep her!

karenh said...

so cute !!!!!!!

Rachel Evans said...

She is so sweet and precious! I love that little girl. She is quite the princess!