One of the many benefits of spending so much time with Edie Mae is observing and interacting with her. I witness her firsts and the incremental changes in her development, personality and appearance. I love everything about my baby, but I’m partial to a few things about her.
First thing in the morning, when the soft light of the day is just brightening the bedroom, Edie is alert and cheerful. She looks delighted to see me—”Oh, you’re here! Wonderful!”—and rewards me with the widest, silliest smiles. Lately she’s throwing gurgles into the mix in what I imagine will later become laughs.
We also spend this time playing. I bounce her around on my lap, swipe a blanket over her face in peekaboo and hold long conversations. (I gave her an anatomy lesson this morning—”And this is your elbow. It connects your upper and lower parts of your arm and lets it bend.”)
Bath time is my other favorite activity. I take a soak most nights (the most welcome order from my midwife!) and after the water has cooled, Eric brings in Edie for her bath. Washing her squirmy and slippery body on my lap is much easier than in a baby tub, and she doesn’t cry. After all, she rests on my legs instead of on hard plastic, and she stays warmer.
To rinse her, I lower her into the water. Keeping her head dry, I move her forward and back. She looks a bit bewildered but happy—”What is this? I like it!”—as she floats on her back. Perhaps it feels like being inside the womb, or maybe it’s a glimpse into her future as an Olympic backstroke medalist.
Friends who first meet Edie swoon over her itty fingernails and soft feet, but I’m especially drawn to the tips of her ears. They’re dainty yet are covered in fine hairs. She’s my tiny hobbit. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at her verve for food!
My other favorite body part is her belly button. To start, it’s in the center of her round tummy that gets even rounder after a meal. The skin folds this way and that to create a unique pattern like the petals of a rose. The best part, though, is that it’s the site where we used to be connected. It’s the evidence that I once provided everything she needed. When I was pregnant, I did everything I could to ensure she was healthy and secure.
I hope that she admires her own belly button when she grows up. Whenever she feels sad or alone, she’ll have it as evidence that I still love her completely and unconditionally. Her belly button is proof that even though we’re no longer connected, I am always here for her.