Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kamal's Christmas present to us

The first time Kamal rolled over from his belly to his back I posted about it here. Adam and I were as excited about that sudden, accidental-looking rollover as we were about the fact that we were both home and watching him in the instant that it happened. That we both got to witness that milestone, together, felt like an incredible gift.

Then we waited and waited for him to do it again, and when it didn't happen, we figured that rollover had just been a bit of a fluke.

Four days before Christmas, Adam had run out to the grocery store for just a few minutes. I set up Kamal for some tummy time on the yoga mat. He looked up from the mat, beaming at me, and he was so cute that I ran to get my phone to snap some photos.

Almost as soon as I was back and parked in front of him with my phone poised for picture taking, this happened:

rock rock rock rock rock

wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle

that's how i roll.

Each of those stages lasted a good several seconds, with Kamal flailing his little arms and legs around like a turtle trying to right itself. It was clearly no fluke; rather, it was a very deliberate act. It was the very first time he'd rolled himself over with any sort of detectable intention, and only the second time he'd rolled himself over ever. I was as thrilled to capture these moments as I imagine any wildlife photographer capturing some rare animal's covert grooming ritual might be.

Much later that night--actually really early the next morning--Kamal and I were up in the big orange chair, nursing. There was an enormous clap of thunder. I started, Toby cowered, and Kamal went on nursing peacefully as though nothing had happened. A few minutes later, I changed his diaper, then set him down in his playard and went to wash my hands. Just as I came back and was about to picking up there was another enormous clap of thunder. I looked down at him expecting him to be terrified, or at least startled.

And he laughed. He laughed again after the next clap of thunder, and the next. My very first thought was, "He's talking to God." I don't exactly know what my position is on the existence of God, is the thing--but it felt really clear that he was talking to something. He was talking to the storm, maybe, or to the sky. The conversation was obviously delightful.

I know he's only a baby. I know he's not yet five months old, unable to talk to us or understand exactly what we say to him. But he does communicate, in ways that sometimes make me forget he can't talk. He has an outrageous sense of humor and an outpouring well of love. He's connected, online, so much more than just a little bundle of milk-need and sleep-stealing. He perceives things, I feel certain, in a way that maybe all babies share, in a way that we adults just don't quite get. Whatever frequency Kamal listens to, it assured him that this particular loud, house-shaking noise was no threat, that in fact it was a friendly sound, or a celebratory one.

And I can't help but think that Kamal saved his first flukey little rollover for a moment when he knew that both his dad and I would be watching. I can't help but think he waited till I had the camera ready to capture his first deliberate, effortful rollover so that his dad could experience it through the photos, and so that we could share it with our friends and family, all of whom would maybe be almost as thrilled as we were. It was our wise little baby's gift to us, generous beyond price and freely given, and it was as perfect a gift as anyone could want.

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