How to love a baby

“Kisses!  Kisses!” the woman squealed, at which command her baby opened his mouth into a drooling “O.”   The mother blissfully exchanged saliva with her infant.  “Now give her kisses!” she urged, motioning toward me with a generous smile.  I was old enough to know I couldn’t flatly say no, but not old enough to think of a gracious way out.  Two decades later, I still remember that unpleasant kiss.  I have three kids of my own now—thank goodness none of them kiss like that.  Uck!

My youngest is just four months old.  He’s my first boy and my first baby that really knows how to eat.  This baby can empty a breast in three minutes.  He’s also my first baby that knows how to spit.  Invariably, three minutes after he’s emptied the breast, half the milk comes back up.  The consequence of his eating so much is a triple chin.  The consequence of his spitting so much is a grimy line of soured milk buried deep in the recesses of his neck.

After I feed him in the morning, I lay him on the floor and pry his chin back so that I can get to the bottom of his odor with a wet washcloth.  As I wash, I admire his cheeks.  From this angle, they look like little plums, and I just have to give them a pinch. Next I take off his jammies and wet diaper.  There’s nothing cuter than a naked baby, especially a fat naked baby.  He’s so fat that even when his wrists are curled forward, there’s still a tight crease between arm and hand, like a pillow with a string tied around the middle.  I love to feel how taut the skin is there, just barely containing all that fat.

His knees have cellulite; he has what teenagers refer to as man boobs; and a few weeks after his circumcision, I had to ask the doctor why his foreskin had fallen back over the head of his penis.  She told me he had formed a “fat pad” above his penis that puts downward pressure on the foreskin so that his penis now resembles a bellybutton.  Adorable!

Evidently he’s running out of places to store fat.  I can see he’s been sending some to the tops of his feet—they’ve got little fat pads too.  I push one foot’s fat pad back and forth, back and forth; he curls his toes.  What’s that between his toes?  A piece of lint.  I smile and pull his toes toward my nose.  “Stinky toes!  Stinky toes!”  He gets ten kisses, one on each toe.  I put on a new diaper, and it’s good I didn’t wait any longer because he’s gassy.  I smile and pat his bottom.  “Cutie tootie bum!”

He responds with a loud sigh, glancing at me with disinterest before surveying the ceiling.  His plum cheeks and pokey ears are so funny I just have to nuzzle them. He hasn’t spit up yet, but he does have some bubbly drool oozing out over his tiny, pink, precious, wet lips.  I lean toward him to wipe the drool with a burp rag and then, before I can stop myself, I find that I’m squealing:  “Kisses!  Kisses!”


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3 Responses to How to love a baby

  1. Heather Johnson

    I’m so glad that you started a blog. You are such an entertaining writer – I’m excited to follow you.

  2. Peggy

    Isn’t it amazing how much we love our gross little babies? Cardon’s neck always smelled like sour milk and graham crackers to me and I would bury my nose and breathe it in. Gross, but I loved it.

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