Sometimes when I'm not expecting Number Two to be looking in my direction, his huge hazels make me jump. They don't blink. There are no lines in the vellum of his eyelids as they open with an intensity to which I'm not accustomed. His whole face--yellowish tan, with undertones of red--is pulled taut by the stretch of two enormous eyes. Nobody else looks at me like that. Nobody else cranes his neck when I am gone, always stretching, always searching, for me.
I can see in him the mama's boy, now and forever, when his gaze reaches me but his spastic wiggle won't. In those moments, the smoothness of new skin creases into wrinkles like age. His voice opens to a wail. He wants to hold onto me, but only his neck, and above that a mouth and two great eyes, are under his control.
In my arms he is quiet again, and no longer wizened, as if my touch has the smoothing power of a quick caress over a rumpled sheet. I smell the baby mixture of soap and tears and milk on the fluff of his head. I say "shhh" over and over because it is natural, not necessary. I sway and I shush. He is wide-eyed in my arms.