“Your hair!” everyone exclaims. “What made you cut it?”
The answer is the same: Vinnie pulls my hair. Always has. Pulls HARD. Pulls out handfuls. Laughs maniacally while doing it. And although my brain can make the logical distinction that He’s just a baby, Sarah, my heart was taking it personally. He seemed to enjoy it, somehow. Enjoyed hurting me. It was bothering me, in a way I couldn’t articulate, so I just decided instead to cut off over 8″ of hair.
“I just don’t understand this baby,” I will say, while sighing. Bryan will smile and dismiss me, understandably, because who can’t understand a baby? Especially one that you – YOURSELF – gestated?
He is, in the nicest sense, a bruiser of a child. At 98% percentile of length and 75% percentile in weight, the child is in 18 month clothes. (He is currently 8 months old.) When he stands up to walk and I hold his hands, I barely have to bend over. (Depending on shoes, I may not have to bend over at all.) He is gargantuan, and this is foreign to a short person like myself.
Because he’s so big, everything he does is magnified by ten. There is no quiet playing with this child. There is no gentle, no subtle. There is LOUD. And BANGING. And ROUGH.
He is happy though, God bless him. He is all smiles, all the time. This is probably his saving grace, because he doesn’t believe in sleep. While Tony was a marvelous sleeper (and still is), Vinnie sleeps maybe thirty minutes from sun up to sun down. Some days it’s less than that.
Which means that the minute he gets home and gets confined to a high chair, he’s out like a light.
And then he sleeps – hard – until the middle of the night. And then he’s awake! AND MY GOD, YOU SHOULD BE AWAKE TOO! LET’S PLAY!
Don’t get me wrong – he’s a happy baby. Talkative and vocal about the issues that matter most to him.
And MY GOD, is he adored by his brothers.
But the baby just felt so foreign to me.
I know they say that you may not immediately bond with your baby. But they very rarely extend that to “and may not for, you know, eight months or so”. So I’ve been swimming along, taking care of this baby that I SWEAR I birthed myself but have no real intimate knowledge of.
Then just this last week, we were up early on one of the snow days, and something was different. He was looking at me, but seeing me too. This was new. It’s one of those things that BabyCenter or whomever delivers your weekly email says happens WAY EARLIER – along with, you know, sleeping through the night and crawling – and I realized it. He saw me. He smiled, watching my mouth intently. He suddenly had human qualities that I could identify with, instead of demonic possession of the happiest kind. He grabbed at my hair, now significantly shorter, and pulled both hands down and I realized – he is pulling me closer to him.
Ever since that morning, I’ve tried to find that realization in him again. I’ve noticed that he pulls at my hair when he’s overjoyed at something. His emotions – like everything else about him – are larger than life, and he cannot seem to embody them all. (He’s always been like this about sleepiness and stress; I’m embarrassed it never occurred to me that he would also react this way to joy or love.) His screeching – which is just That Pitch that makes your head vibrate – is now immediately tied to seeing me for the first time when I pick him up. His discussion with me (with me, not at me) is now lively.
I am not proud of this. I am not proud that I’ve spent eight months looking at my baby and wondering where he came from, wondering if I would ever understand him the way I do Tony.
I am not proud that it took me eight months to realize that they are different children.
But it’s where we are. And that’s okay. He’s a sweet, happy baby. And I’m glad that I get to meet him.