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Happy

June 27, 2011

My son is in the thick of his first singing experiments. He sings in an impassioned voice, somewhat loudly and tunelessly—though he’s gotten much better even over the last week—while skipping around. Though to be clear, he is also still learning just how to get his legs off of of the ground in the choreographed patterns he either wishes to imitate, or that come naturally to a heart-happy human.

He is tiny, he is two, he is happy.

He’s also difficult, yes: he shrieks ouch! when I put sunscreen on him; he lays down on the sidewalk when my main objective is to get into the house with him and the sixteen dollar watermelon I am carrying; and he collapses his weight onto my arm on the subway platform. He won’t listen; he climbs everything that is dangerous to climb; and he’s passing out fewer kisses these days. But when I’m not trying to figure out what a good parent would do in those situations, and rolling my eyes around, I am so happy that he is happy.

I mention it because, he didn’t seem all that happy when he was born. He seemed to be healthy, which was a relief. And he seemed to be somewhat calm for the bulk of the time. But he had a fast and furious ramp-up to rage and tantrum when things weren’t going his way. And while he did smile and giggle, he wasn’t off-the-charts laughy, like an eight month old I saw on the subway platform earlier today.

Like all parents, we wanted very much for our child to be happy.

In the first days, we read that book that everyone reads: the one about the swinging, the swaddling, the swooshing, the swordfighting, and the samurais.

Actually, we watched the video, because who could read with all of that screaming?

There are 5 esses to making one’s baby the Happiest Baby on the Block, but maybe only two of them worked for us. When he wasn’t in our arms, he certainly wasn’t going to agree to be laying down anywhere, so our child spent a lot of time in a white-noise-making battery powered swing. The bad thing about the swing was that you couldn’t safely swing him in tandem with our other crutch, which was a swaddle. I mean, with his arms are bundled up and unable to fit into the restraints, he might have flown out.

But we did weigh the odds of him flying out, is how desperate we were to help him even sleep more, and cry less.

Aside from his parents and my friend Kevin, he didn’t want anyone to hold him when he was little. He didn’t want to go to mom and baby yoga with me and have me, god forbid, do yoga instead of hold him.

It took him a while to warm up to living on earth. I can see that. One of his pediatricians once told us that the first six months are all about proving to a baby, “it’s not that bad out here.” When I told someone about that once, I actually teared up. It’s so simple, and yet it’s a really thoughtful plan.

It took a while, perhaps longer than six months, but he seems to have been convinced. He does very well at the “school” where he spend a few mornings a week. He is as accepting as anyone of us dropping him off, and he plays well independently, and he’s starting to play well with other kids. He’d ditch me in a heartbeat to hang out with his grandparents. He has beloved cousins and friends and classmates and has cultivated his own friendships with certain of my adult friends.

He has his songs and he counts a whole bunch and he makes up wishes about sleeping on our neighbor’s balcony, and once he told me that he’d just seen Donald Duck floating past in a cloud. He’s a bit shy about dancing, but occasionally he’ll make up his own move, and I’m not sure anything pleases me more than that. Yesterday he rode a ride at Coney Island, one where he believed that he was driving a little white monster truck. He told me that he was so happy that he thought it was his birthday.

There isn’t much too this, but I just wanted to say: I am so happy that he is happy.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    June 28, 2011 5:50 am

    Thank you. I needed that.

  2. July 5, 2011 12:09 am

    Really sweet story Meredith. Thanks for sharing.

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