I e-mailed the above photo to my sister yesterday, who showed it to her work colleagues in true proud auntie style. An Indian coworker exclaimed that Leila must be a lucky baby, on account of her birthmark. Apparently in Indian tradition they are a good omen.
I suppose she is lucky, in the way that all babies should be and deserve to be lucky: she is fed and warm, loved and safe. And from the sound of her latest range of vocal stylings, she seems happy. The last couple of days have been filled with new chirrups, squeals and quacks. She’s making them now, when she’s supposed to be asleep. It’s quite unnerving, sitting on the sofa whilst a disembodied voice, a high-pitched cross between Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe (only with far fewer skeletons in its closet), if you can imagine that combination, issues from the baby monitor in the corner.
(Today, like a big obsessive loon- I did warn you in my last post- I called my sister at work so that Leila could leave her a voice message. Then called her again to discuss the voice message. Then, when she didn’t answer, texted her to inform her that she had an important voicemail. Then called her again. She was in a meeting with her boss throughout. Yes, I have become that person.)
As much as I love, and am perhaps disproportionately delighted with, these new noises, I confess that I miss the tremulous gurgles and purrs, the tentative ah-goos which were her first proper vocalisations. At nearly 3 months old, Leila is opening out to the world like a flower. A big, colourful, loud flower. When she was born she was my tiny bud, curled around herself and into my shoulder. Now she is all fat thrusting legs and swivelling curious head and bright beady eyes, and these new hilarious noises. It’s a strange feeling, to be so enchanted by the way she is growing and changing, whilst at the same time feeling wistful for the head that needed to be held up by my hand, the legs that didn’t reach the end of the moses basket, the black, endlessly deep eyes of a new baby.
But I only miss these things because they were amazing, just as the way she is developing is amazing. Being able to see her busting out into the world is a privilege which I thank my stars for every day. And some things stay the same, unmistakably Leila: her cheeky sideways look when she smiles, her silky mullet, her love of bathtime, the way she calms down and gazes evenly when she is perched in the crook of her Daddy’s arm.
Someone should stick a strawberry nevus on our foreheads, for we are the lucky ones, not her.