I think we've hit some sort of strange baby limbo. Topher hasn't hit any milestones in a long time and he's lulling us into a false sense of security that he is going to be this age forever. Is it true? Will he forever be this baby who only has a dusting of hair, who can roll across the room but still can't crawl, who can squeak and squawk but never seems to make any purposeful sounds? When I try to imagine him saying something--dada, mama, puppy, up, baba, no--it's just beyond my realm of imagination. When I try to picture him being coordinated enough to crawl or walk into a room, the picture in my head seems too comical to ever be true. We keep waiting for the first tooth to come, but after months of teething now there is still no sign of anything other than drool.
I suppose I shouldn't wish him older, but I can't help myself. He is so cute right now but so limited. I know he is frustrated when he lays on his back and kicks his legs as though running in place. I know he is confused when I give him a spoonful of sweet potatoes and he inadvertently loses it all in his lap before it reaches his mouth. I know sometimes when he cries he's wanting us to understand the words he can't yet form.
I guess the main question is whether or not, once these days are gone, I will wish them back again. I'm sure the temptation to romanticize babyhood will be there, but for Topher's sake, I'll just be happy that he made it to his more advanced self. What is the real appeal of babies, anyway, besides those adorable chubby legs and sausage fingers and button noses? When people talk about loving babies, they speak of how small they are all bundled up in bed and how cute it is that they can eat their own feet and how good that little head smells. But what is the appeal past all the cuteness? Is it just that they are so dependent and innocent, that they can't yet have an attitude or rebel? It certainly can't be those diapers full of orange poop, or those nights of being wide awake at 3am, or the fact that the little head smells like sour milk most of the day and only has that magic smell right after a bath. For me, I guess the appeal right now is that even though Topher can expose my weaknesses, he doesn't know he's doing it. He can't yet know that we're imperfect, and he can't compare himself to others or doubt himself. He trusts us, and he can't yet think that we're old or lame or out-of-date. Or make fun of our pictures from the eighties.
But even still, I can't wait for him to become a little boy. Babies are just the precursors to people, really (kind of their own little sub-species) and if I was only in love with babies, I can't imagine that I would ever be satisfied because they have a tendency to grow up. I'll admit that I don't have that baby gene. I did have baby fever a little before getting pregnant, but it was more all the baby stuff I was excited about. The actual baby was something that was too hard for me to imagine. I mean, you can read all the books you want but they never say, "Your baby will lay on the floor holding a little green pillow and gurgle to it while stomping his feet." (That's just what he happens to be doing at the moment.) "Your baby's gurgles will soon morph into a whining cry when he realizes the pillow is not responding. Your only hope of consoling him at this point will be to offer him a bottle which he will shove away several times before suddenly deciding he is ravenously hungry." But now when I see a woman with a newborn I don't think, Oooh look at that tiny little baby, that's so sweet! Instead, my thoughts are, Oooh, that lady is in for some loooong nights. Wow, I'm so glad I'm not her! Is that wrong?
I don't mean for it to sound like I don't love being a mommy. Topher has added a whole new dimension to our lives that we didn't even know existed. It's kind of like living in a two-dimensional world your whole life and then suddenly entering 3D. I love him more than anything, but I also can't sit here and say that every minute of it has been pleasant. I do know that the pleasant moments come more and more often the older he gets, though.
I know more milestones will come, but until then, we'll just hang out together in our three-dimensional baby limbo. It's really not too bad here, most of the time. And if you stare straight at that slobbery little smile long enough, you might just mistake it for Heaven.