I didn't realize I had completely forgotten what newborns are like until my second child sailed down the Punani Canal and into town. It didn't take long to conclude that, somewhere along the line, the initial half-year of my firstborn's life had been erased from my memory.
The same goes for The Partner's flawed recall. On our first full day at home as a family of four, he called me into the room in which he was sitting with the baby. "I think something's wrong with him," he said.
"What?" I squawked.
"Watch. He won't even look at me." The Partner waved his hand in front of the baby's eyes repeatedly. "And he doesn't react to sounds." He clapped his hands right next to the little guy's ears. Topher didn't flinch. "The Boss was never this vacant, was she?"
"Well, I. . .uh, I mean. . .he is only three days old. . ." I stumbled over the seeds of doubt The Partner had planted. Though my instincts told me everything was fine, my brain was hormonally fertile ground in which visions of the worst case scenario flourished. My heart started to pound in my chest as my eyes watered. Was there something wrong with my baby?
I walked over to the book case and pulled out three different parenting books. I dropped two in front of The Partner and took one for myself. It didn't take long for us to determine that Topher was right on track. None of the experts expected him to do anything but lay there.
Looking at The Boss now, it's hard to believe she was ever so small and dependent. Seeing in Topher all the characteristics we'd forgotten about in her, I'm nostalgic for those lost traits. Soon enough Topher's newness will go the way of his older sister's. But at least now I know that. So we take more pictures, and bring out the video camera more often. And I write. . .
. . .Topher makes sounds like a bull, or sometimes like the whinny of a horse. When he's hungry, his tongue pokes through slightly rounded lips. He's always hungry. He sleeps a lot too, though, so that he nods off for four hours and then eats almost straight through the next four. His fast growing nails are scratchy on my chest, next to his face. He looks at me now and I think he sees me. Yesterday his cheeks pulled his mouth into the first hint of many smiles.
He is three weeks old.