Our baby’s odometer finally hit the big 001 last Saturday. And what a difference a year makes. I mean, nowadays, we’ve got some good ol’ fashion interaction going on. No full-blown words yet, but interaction nonetheless.
The lion’s share of the interaction goes down during feeding time. He’s all over the signs we taught him for “more,” “please” and “all done,” but he loves to make noises, too. Like “mah” and “dah” and various other guttural sounds that end with “ah.”
And the heightened communication during meals strikes me as appropriate. Because that was how I first communicated with him. How I first bonded with him. Through the bottle.
Before you zip down to the comments and tell me how irresponsible we are for not breast feeding, please know this: my wife tried, and it didn’t work. Please also know this: we’re good with whichever method you’ve chosen. I mean, you probably chose it because it was the one which works best for you and your baby.
My point? This post is not about the bottle versus the breast. I’ll leave that debate to others. This post is about how this dad loves bonding with his son through feeding, not only now that he’s one, but back when he was none. Well, back when he was just days and weeks old. Back when I bonded with him for the first time.
Back when I wrote him this:
I hear you. At least I think I do. So I look to see if your mouth is moving. But through the pitch black of midnight, it’s impossible to tell. Still, it must be you. No one else in our world can make that type of noise. At least not anymore. I can’t say I’m excited to hear you. But I can’t say I’m not, either. Because together we’ll go. And we’ll be alone. Just the two of us. And I look forward to our time together.
Even so, I drift back to sleep and only realize it during your next series of soft cries, the ones which finally prompt me to gently pick you up from the Moses basket. And together, we’re off.
To the place, son. Where we convene. Every night when the clock strikes twelve. Or when your belly strikes empty and your tiny little lips part long enough to announce that our rendezvous is upon us. It feels good to be there with you. I sense you like it, too.
Do you know it’s me?
Because I know it’s you.
Last time I was here, there were three of you. And each time you and I are here together, it takes me back. Tonight is no different. I often wonder which of the three you’re most like. Everyone has their theory, you know. But they’re all wrong. Because despite my musings, I ultimately realize you’re not like anyone else. I can tell by the way you feel. And the noise you make when I balance you on my knee and gently tap your back.
It’s through your uniqueness that I relive theirs, you see. The earliest of the thousands of yesterdays which begot today, rediscovered, unearthed even, and what a treasure you’ve led me to. Without you, I’m not sure I would have ever unearthed such artifacts. And it means a lot to me to have done so. And to remember them as they were, even if I go on to forget again.
It’s funny. When we first found out about you, I must confess, I dreaded these sleepless nights. Because, straight up son, having kids? It’s a young person’s game. Don’t get me wrong. Your mom and I aren’t exactly old. In fact, I think we do a better job than most at staying young. But we’re not exactly 25, either. So I gathered these meetings of ours would inevitably take their toll.
It’s early still, so goodness knows they may eventually do just that. But so far? They’ve really not been as hard as I had expected. Nor have they been draining. To the contrary.
They’ve been invigorating. Enlightening.
By the way, I can tell when you’re faking. You’ll know I’m on to you when I poke the pinkie of my bottle-holding hand into the lock of your jaw. That always gets you to open up and move your tongue. Then it’s just a matter of tickling the roof of your mouth with the nipple. Your reflexes take it from there.
You drank nearly three ounces tonight which means you did pretty good, ol’ buddy. And we’ve only been on our little island for 30 minutes, diaper change and all. Which means I didn’t do too bad, either. But I’m not ready to leave our spot just yet. So if it’s cool with you, I’ll just wrap you up and hold you for a bit. You know, make sure the last little bit went down okay. Sound good?
After a moment or two, I’ll get up and lay you back down in your basket with a deftness your siblings unknowingly bestowed upon me. And the full circle will gives me chills. And it’s then our time will be up. But fear not, for we’ll have it again. In about two-and-half hours. Or whenever you’re ready.
You just let me know, okay?