September 22, 2021•404 words
Sylvan is four weeks old today. This morning was cold, first day of autumn. I woke up at 5:30 and couldn't fall back asleep...went to the basement to work for a few hours, came back up and mom was nursing him in a torpor, early light revealing miniature moon-surface peaks and valleys of paint on the bedroom wall. I was in my bathrobe under the covers and chilly, and Sylvan fully clothed and wearing full arm- and hand-covers, little hat, wrapped and swaddled. I held him and we cuddled to sleep together, the white noise machine layering the room with the soft cascade of a digitally-simulated waterfall being devoured by a cotton hurricane.
This went on for over two hours, oscillating between sleep and awake. I was aware of the flex and response of every millimeter of muscle in my arm, shoulders, chest-- pulled taut to create a perfect concave cocoon for this sleeping lump that anticipates and supports his movements. My mother says he sounds like a distressed lamb when he sleeps, this is dead accurate. He emits these soft, civil, pleading bleets intermittently. Each time my ribcage swells outward to accommodate my swelling aorta.
Dozing with my child in this semi-awake state is pure bliss, it hits every cliché note ever written but it must be stated plainly: it is unparalleled bliss. I hold onto these moments like a fiend; feeling him fidget, miniature arms spasming out. I want this to last as long as possible. Maybe more as long as I want it to. Hours. A whole new dimension of emotional geometry stretches from past to future simultaneously. This is love's secret domain, unknowable from any position but under the blankets draped over us and hanging limply halfway to the floor. I wonder if he is dreaming of this world, our faces, the walls of the house--the little flashes of sunlight from his stroller as we walk the streets, mature Spruce and Linden canopy overhead, power lines, departing flights from the airport nearby. If not something like these, then I wonder if his dreams are more darkness and womb, the baby floating in orbit 2001 Space Odyssey. Though he won't remember any of these early moments, I am certain he is in a happy place here, wrapped up and smelling like emerging spring. His body tenses, face reddens, and he makes an enormous, mustard-colored shit in my arms, the cloth diaper barely able to contain the contents of this milky dream.