The major recent development (in terms of the bundles of joy I call my own) is this: the little girl has discovered and unleashed upon us her genuine smile, and it is truly devastating to behold. I had already felt utterly beholden to my daughter and more than willing to overcome any obstacle and bear any burden to make her happy, but last night as it was getting close to her 11-ish bedtime she was flailing her arms with some unknown inner joy and giggle-cooing with glee and I said to myself, well, I’m pretty much wrapped around her little finger for the next eighteen years at least.
I’m calling this a recent development because it feels like it came on suddenly in just the past week or so, with the little girl spontaneously amusing herself (and extensively charming her mother) one day, or lighting up at the site of her big brother once I delivered him home from daycare another day, all culminating in the happy-fest last night. Of course the past week or so has been crazy with family in town and my wife going back to work, just as the week before that was fraught with anticipatory distractions. It feels like things are always moving fast and all too easy to lose track of. So has the little girl been smiling and/or burbling emotively for a while now and I’m just getting around to noticing it? I concede the possibility.
On the other hand, it may just be incredibly fortuitous timing. Both my wife and I (in different ways and at different intensities) got a bit spoiled over the course of this most recent maternity leave, and it was significantly harder to see it end than last time around for a variety of reasons. Irrational as it may be there’s always the fear that an infant, just barely emerging from the mythical fourth trimester of development, will be deeply traumatized by the sudden absence of the mother from every waking moment of existence. So to see our daughter not only unruined but in fact cracking herself up while taking my wife’s return to gainful employment in stride is vastly comforting.
Of course the little girl’s been hanging out in the same old house with her dear doting Nana this week, and next week brings yet another readjustment with the commencement of infant daycare for her, so we’ll see how that goes, too. There have already been a few acclimation sessions at the daycare center for her, though, so I’m generally optimistic. Hopefully there will be continuous baby laughter to carry us all through.