It started with teensy, tiny, scrawny little legs.
Like those of a chicken.
His skin draped over bones smaller than a sleeve of Sprees.
He was itty bitty. Pink. And wrinkly.
Therefore, my Chicken was dubbed “Chicken” (and sometimes Shicken, or Stinky Chicken, or even Sinky Shicken).
But today, just two days shy of turning a whopping four months old, those chicken legs have morphed into delicious ham hocks with rolls that cascade into the elastic of his diapers.
They are ticklish rolls. So ticklish, in fact, his pensive little lips betray his frown and show slobbery, pink gums and a curious lizard tongue as he smiles in delight.
I love him.
The smiley moments are few and far between, although gradually increasing as each day passes. At first, his fussiness seemed related to being born four weeks too soon. And then we learned of his acid reflux. But now, as much as I’d like to sugarcoat it, I think his fussiness is just part of his attitude. For now anyway. He likes what he likes. And if you deter from that, I can promise you, there will be a TOTAL. FRICKIN. MELTDOWN.
Because he was born a little early, he’s evaluated on an adjusted age scale. He’s not hitting the milestones of a typical (almost) four month old, but is seeming to lag about a month behind. We’ve had some early intervention evaluations and plan to continue until we see him catch up to his real age.
Aside from being “particular”, Henry is an incredible sleeper. Should I admit that? I’m going to regret putting that in writing tonight, aren’t I? Oh well. He sleeps like a dream. For most of his life we’ve been able to put him down in his bed (or bassinet) while he’s awake. He usually gives us an appreciative sigh, turns his head to the side and conks out for as long as he’s “supposed” to. He’s been consistently sleeping through the night for nearly eight weeks. Sleep… is by far his BFF.
And mine too, obviously.
Those hours of sleep are valuable. You know, to give him the energy required to fuss at me for most of his waking hours.
I’ll take it, though.
Even the most difficult days are better than the best days before he arrived.
And actually, I’m exaggerating. He’s improved ten fold in the last three weeks. His crabby moments can often be distracted with a jingly toy. He now greets me in the morning with coos and aaahs that could melt titanium. He flirts. He grins with one side of his mouth when I tell him I love him. He splashes in his baths, surprises himself, and then smiles so big you’d think his mouth might overtake his face. He stares at George with such curiosity. He parrots the tongue clucks George makes, and when he’s successful, his eyes sparkle with pride.
He is funny. And is totally aware of that. He does eyebrow yoga, giving me the most stern feedback, waits for me to laugh, and then breaks character and grins.
I loved him when I was pregnant. More than I’d ever loved before. But everyone said that love would be weak compared to the love I’d feel when I was able to hold him on the outside. It was true. And still is. The love I felt yesterday is nothing compared to the love I feel today. Every single day of his life suspends all comprehension of the infinite elasticity of my adoration and appreciation for him.
Children are amazing.
I could get high burying my nose in his sparse, feathery hair. I could glue my lips to his silky cheeks. I could watch him learn and observe and marvel at his world for the rest of my life.
I could gobble him whole.
Like a chicken.