Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010

Dear Oliver,
I don't remember doing the typical check for fingers and toes when you were born. I guess maybe I assumed someone would tell me if something was missing? I did call out to the room "he is a boy, right?" at some point before they brought you to me, though. And once I was all stitched up and we got to our room I realized that a number of people had seen your baby boy bits long before your mama had and I rectified that situation immediately. (Yes, I realize how wrong that sounds. But don't forget - I grew those bits inside my body, so until you can wipe for yourself I still have some claim to them.) But in scanning your precious little self in those first hours, acquainting myself with the boy who would be in my life forever, I noticed one imperfection. A tiny thing, really - just a little hole in your left ear, on the bit closest to your head, where a rebellious teen might get a piercing and regret it later on. I asked the pediatrician what the hole was, expecting to be told it was temporary, and found that it was a birth "defect" - one that you'd always have.

Instantly that little hole became my very favorite physical characteristic of yours. I loved your eyes, your bright blue eyes. And I could've eaten your sweet, perfect little nose (one that contrary to the ultrasounds, did not look a thing like Abe Vigoda's. Whew.). You have dimples sometimes. Dimples! (Remind me to tell you someday about when I used to try to burrow dimples into my own cheeks. That's how much I like dimples.) But still, the pseudo piercing in your tragus made my heart stop more than anything else. I think because it's unique to you - a physical manifestation of your individuality, right from birth. Or maybe it's because I always secretly fancied myself a bit punk.

But then, about a month ago, something miraculous happened. One morning, while we were standing in the kitchen, you raised your arm, extended a finger and pointed. Delighted by your new skill, I took you to the thing you were pointing at (a crystal bowl your grandma gave us which I have always hated and you, of course, adore. I mean, who spends $400 on a bowl that has no practical purpose whatsoever when we had place settings left on the registry? But I digress.). As I was saying, you pointed, I followed and fireworks exploded above our heads. There was an instant dawning of comprehension on your part, an immediate understanding that you could use that perfect little finger to tell me what you wanted. That first point was the gateway to an absolute addiction. You've been crawling for months now, but why crawl when you can point your way somewhere? Things, like the odd little door stopper at the top of your closet door, that were previously out of reach and which I never would've thought to show you, were suddenly at your fingertips. Literally. If the wrong parent was holding you the finger would stretch out, begging for new arms to hold you. That finger became your lifeline and I love it.

I never realized how important pointing would be to your overall development. I never stopped to consider that it would be your first means to communicate not only that you want something, but to differentiate *what* you want. I didn't understand, before you did it, that pointing would open up a whole world in our daily dialogue. Or that it would lead to an actual dialogue (or the rough draft of a dialogue, anyway). You point to a bird, I say bird. Next thing you know we're reading a book with ducks in it and you're all "bird bird bird". Remarkable.

So I have a new favorite body part. I adore the pinprick in your ear and always will, but it's never going to thrill me (or you!) like that finger does right now. Someday someone will tell you that it's rude to point, but don't believe them, Ollie. Coming from you it's not rude - it's absolutely beautiful.


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