Thursday, June 15, 2006

So, How's the Baby?

How is he? How is he, you ask?

Well, he's hungry. First and foremost, he is hungry, about 26 hours a day.

The little sweetie has been gotten so big, and is growing so fast, that the combination of formula and breast milk that we've been feeding him no longer does the trick. The 8 oz bottle that he could never finish now barely seems to take the edge off. He cries to eat every two hours or so, just as he did when he was a baggy, monkeyfooted newborn, struggling to get back up to his birthweight.

So last night, being 1) a great believer in anecdotal wisdom and 2) just fucking exhausted, I flew in the face of our pediatrician's advice, and dissolved a spoonful of rice cereal in his 9pm bottle. The Sears book, like our doctors, tell me there is nothing to be gained by this; meanwhile, literally uncountable moms and dads swear up and down that some cereal in the bottle is our express ticket to the Promised Land of silent nights.

The Sears book has been awfully good to us. And we think the world of our pediatrics practice. Both assure us that the point of learning to eat solid food is to learn to eat solid food, with your lips and tongue, from a spoon, not to fortify bottles of milk. Besides, what if our friends are wrong? What if the cereal disagrees with him?

In the end, I think, I was moved with compassion. He's just so hungry! And he wails, in a way that sounds like grief and pain together, like he's mourning the loss of food from his life, like he'll never eat again.

After the cereal bottle, he's motionless in my arms, stunned, and I wonder for a second if I've killed him. I watch him breath for a full minute, feel his astonishing skin, toasty as a muffin, and lay him down on his back.

He wakes up in a little while with a faraway smile, different than I've ever seen. It's as if he knows that his life will never be the same.

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