Those first morning cries are not urgent or sad. Steady, measured bursts of sound come from my baby daughter's mouth to wake me up. I retrieve Baby N from her crib and am greeted with a smile and the sounds of gulping. She starts moving her arms and legs like a challenged octopus and gives me the look of pure glee that is reserved just for me. We settle in with the Boppy and the blanket and she curls her body toward me.
Every morning, my Baby N and I nurse and rock in the same place. It's the bright red rocker that has harbored the spills and snuggles of two newborns before her. The rocker stands out as the "eclectic" piece in my gender neutral, jungle themed nursery, which adeptly reappeared for each kid in three different houses.
Baby N stretches her legs straight as planks and pulls her arms high above her head, fists tight and eyes closed. Her chin is tilted up and her lips pucker out and downward, reveling in the stretch. It's the newborn stretch that stands out for me in the blur of newborn hood. Baby N is now full and satisfied, and its as if she's telling me that the day can now begin. She's received the jump start required for a relatively seamless transition to the car seat (not to mention the spit up that inevitably appears when I squeeze her stuffing out with the five point harness).
From here, Baby N will take extra long naps while I scurry to her siblings' engagements or succumb to the siren song of the grocery store. She's ready to bump along, without complaint, over three flights of stairs to her brother's toddler school. She'll readily accept lunch in the snug fit of a non swiveling chair secured to a table at the local bowling alley. Later, Baby N will endure the "narrows" between the van and the garage wall as I make a a muddled attempt to get from car to house while carrying her, the diaper bag, T-Bone's plastic dinosaurs and various food and drink vessels. Once we reach the threshold, she'll patiently wait - inside or out - while I escort her sister to the bathroom to avoid a potty accident. From there, her next meal is any one's guess. Baby N may get top billing in the living room because my latte is still hot and I need a reason to sit down. Or she may have to wait, fretting at a low rumble in the bouncy chair while I tear up cold cuts for lunch or read T-Bone a story and get him down for his nap.
Throughout it all, the one constant my baby doll can rely on is a good rock in the red chair. One might expect a bang and rumble, quickly escalating to thunder in this unjust existence. Strangely, up to this point, Baby N has elected to take the high road. She sleeps soundly through the night swaddled as tight as flannel stretches and coos and giggles with her daddy and I after her sibs go to bed. It's a treasured time, like easy summer evenings or the bright days of September. Yet even now, as we delve into Baby N's third month of life, her personality is unraveling a calm and patient nature, not the Japanese "thunder" that the name Nari (Baby N), is supposed to embody. Perhaps she'll save the storms for teenage-dom, or even tomorrow. But for now, I'm happy to rock along in her quiet existence.