It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a newborn babe in possession of a pair of chubby cheeks, must be in want of some smooching.
Or, in our household, it's a perfectly-rounded chin and some weird, sort-of-sucking action.

I'm a super-tactile kind of person: I love hugs, I love cuddles, I love just leaning against whichever loved one I'm sitting next to.  And as you might imagine, having a tiny, snugly baby in the house is amazing for getting that physical-contact fix.

But it's also been getting me thinking.

Back when Neeps was in the womb, I used to occasionally get a little weirded out by the fact that I was so aware of so much of his existence (when he moved, when he slept, when he had the hiccups, etc etc) while he was so completely oblivious to mine.  It made me feel a bit like a creepy spy, and led me to wonder if that's how God might feel.  But of course I couldn't help my "spying"- it was my body he was drawing his own from, and in that way he was like an extension of myself.  It was like feeling weird about knowing more about my lungs than they do about "me": ridiculous

Neep is on the outside, now, and while I might logically understand that he is not, in fact, one of my non-essential organs out on rumspringa, there's still a vague-yet-visceral sort of, "But he's mine, blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh," feeling going on.  Combine that with the fact that he is 100% helpless to feed himself, clothe himself, or even wipe his own anus, and you can see how the feeling of possession might persist.

I touch him for much of the day, every day.  Skin to skin, my hands on his arms, legs, torso; my lips all over his face and ears and elbows and toes and belly.  His chest pressed to mine, each warming the other; my arm cradling the straight line of his back; the soft curve of his skull nestled safely beneath the hard edge of my jaw.  There is no part of him I'm not allowed to touch, just exactly as though he was my own body.

But that will change.

At some point, I will no longer have the right to touch him wherever, whenever, however I want.  At some point, as he makes that mysterious journey from infant to adult, nibbling on his shoulder will move from welcome, to unwelcome, to just straight-up weird.

And so I redouble my present smooching and caressing, because I know I will mourn for these days when they're gone, and I don't want to waste a single snuggle-opportunity.  Oh, I'm sure I'll be delighted by the trade-off of being able to discuss his thoughts and dreams, which is a sort of spiritual-cuddling, if you think about it the right way.  But I do hope that sometimes he'll still let me wrap my arms around him as we sit on the couch together, watching Star Wars for the eighty-billionth time.

(although I understand if he draws the line at chin-sucking)


Meet Neeps

(I'm typing this while Neeps, my in-the-flesh-baby, has lunch.  Thank goodness for nursing pillows, that's all I can say.)

So our new addition has been around for about a month now- I think maybe we're starting to get used to the insane-o concept that we're really, truly parents.  Slowly but surely we're settling down out of the shrieking, "RED ALERT!" method of handling a newborn, into a nice, bio-hazard orange, with occasional flashes of hazmat-y yellow.  Which is to say, we haven't killed or seriously maimed him yet, so maybe we don't actually need to spend our days (and nights) in a state of constant, low-grade panic.

Turns out Neeps is a pretty classic example of an easy-temperament baby, and thank the stars for that, because let me tell you, this shit is hard enough as it is without throwing inconsolable crying into the mix. And it doesn't hurt that he's cute as hell.  Might as well call the human race done, ladies and gentlemen, because perfection has been reached.

Kwisatz Haderach, anyone?
I'm hoping to get back to writing more regularly as my life settles into its New Normal.  Ditto for  being active (which is currently restricted to gentle yoga and walking/hiking: but I should be cleared for climbing and cycling by the end of next week).  I'm also trying to remember to be gentle with and forgiving of myself as I go through the growing-pains of this new life, and to not despair when I spend an entire day doing nothing but laundry and trying-not-to-cry.  I know I'll get the hang of it eventually- probably just in time for everything to go tits-up again when I return to work. But then we'll just get the hang of it all over again, because that's how we do.

His secret is out.

Onward to adventure!