Thursday, November 6, 2008

It was cute before, but...

Sonny's face, at least, remains thoroughly adorable to us. It's changed significantly from its almost wrinkled sour-plum appearance when he first intruded upon the world six and a half months ago, and has filled out into a rather plump mien with a far broader range of expressions. His smile, conferred freely to all comers, we still enjoy. But there are other aspects of our little fella have not fared so well.

To start with, it used to be adorable how our little infant's hand would automatically grip our
fingers. These days, however, it seizes upon anything that comes within reach, then yanks viciously. More than once, we've seen Sonny scoot along to one of our little four-legged stools, not infrequently laden with drinks, then grab-and-pull. Disaster has been narrowly averted so far, but we're wondering if there's some injection we can give that will relax the little fella's grip, which is so strong that we have to pluck each finger individually away from the object to effect a release.

Then there's his mysterious banshee wail. We're not talking about his bawling or teary howling, which long ago proved a sore trial, not to mention a threat to the glass in our little home. But Sonny also has a gleeful cry that he emits when he finds something interesting - and used almost to serenade us as he proceeded next to joyful gumming. Now, however, the volume and shrillness has escalated to uncomfortable levels, so that his pleasure is our distress. Also, it has taken on a peculiar tonelessness that - could we not confirm by other signs that he wasn't actually unhappy - we might think someone was jabbing him with a needle. It's gotten to the stage that we can't wait for him to start mangling his first words - on the theory that he's not likely to shout them out.

Lastly, it was a joyous moment when it became clear a while back that Sonny was finally responding to his parents' voices, clearly recognising our features and seeking them out among the welter of impressions in a strange place. His grandparents are still hoping (slyly, but we can tell) to imprint their faces with him that way. The problem is that Sonny can't seem to get along at all well without having a familiar face around any more. He can't be left to his own devices for more than a few minutes before the windows start to vibrate with his protestations. There is, of course, a caveat: If there are lots of items lying around that he really shouldn't be getting his hands on (like stools laden with drinks), he'll be happy rooting about and yanking to his heart's content.

None of this is enough for one to conclude that 'familiarity breeds contempt', since on balance we'd still rather our baby had a good solid grip, coos with happiness regularly and enjoys our presence than otherwise. Still, it's a good thing that a child changes with time, so that there are always new aspects and characteristics that are fresh and marvel-worthy. By way of an unlikely comparison, this is probably why people are always trying to make improvements to their homes and switching the artwork around or rearranging the furniture: What looked just right initially becomes over-familiar, and then dreary and positively hateful over time, until a new do-over restores the newness that arrests the eye and calls forth pleasure.