Recently, Chick has started to recognize shapes. If you point to a triangle in a book, he can pick them out on the page and point to them. His favorite shape ( if that’s possible) is the circle. Ever since this discovery, I have found myself absent-mindedly singing songs with the word ‘circle’ in them.
And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captured on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game
Chick is one year old. I have found myself thinking back to where I was a year ago, to where we were in the circle. I point to things and places, and say “You were here when you were just a few weeks old.” When I look down at him, completely unimpressed with his year over year progress report, I have a hard time imagining him as the 5 pounder I brought home.
I do, however, remember with vivid detail the raw madness of being a new mother. Waking up every two to three hours to pump while Chick was at the hospital. Taking the elevator up to visit him, desperate to see him again but worried about any potential setbacks that might delay his coming home. And then the day when the doctors cleared him, feeling sure that *something* would happen in the last 5 minutes and we’d be in NICU purgatory for another week. I was in shock when we walked out of the hospital with our exceptionally small baby snapped into his car seat.
As if to rub it in, Chick has been on a growth and developmental trajectory over the last few weeks that I can’t begin to recount. It’s like he was cramming for some mythical 1st year baby exam. He most certainly had a growth spurt– clothes that barely fit him one day were snug the next. (Literally, ONE DAY. Cue panicky online clothing purchase.) He is crawling like a pro, pulling himself up and getting back down with relative ease. This week, he figured out how to crawl upstairs. And for better or worse, he is getting much better at expressing his likes and dislikes. He expresses approval with a “Na, na, na.” Disapproval is a more…er… full-body experience.
While Chick is in his crib asleep, I find myself looking at photos from a year ago. They are almost all of him asleep as if the act of being outside in the real world were just too exhausting. I’m not exactly wistful… more that I am still in shock that this exceptionally small baby has turned into an exceptional little person.
The funny thing about babies is that they don’t get nostalgic. They barrel forward into the future to the next step, the next great leap while we sigh at photos of their former selves.