There is something weirdly gratifying about watching your child nearly every waking moment through their early years. I mean, it can also be exhausting and stressful to be responsible for another human 24/7, I grant you. Particularly once they start moving.
Just hear me out here.
I think it’s safe to say most of us enjoy people watching on occasion, non? It’s such a base impulse. That curiosity. Hence, the prevalence of reality tv. Out in the world, however, you need to be a bit more discreet or you may seem a tad creepy. With your kids, on the other hand, you can indulge that urge to blatantly, unashamedly stare to your heart’s content. In fact, you’re pretty much required to by law. So there. Soak it up! In a few years, your kid is going to be like, “mu-uuum, stop looking at me, gawd!” (slams door in face). Dare I say, it’s even starting? I get the occasional, “go away,” and the more frequent, “I do it (on my) own!” Tell tale signs the tides are turning.
But for now, I can mentally document all of Leni’s first experiences like a super clumsy, not so subtle, undercover agent. The fact is that little people are the best subjects for spying on because they already live their lives like no one’s watching (even though they are ALWAYS being watched, like even when they sleep–thank you technology). They give no shits. They have zero filters. It is glorious to behold.
Fact is, I know every inch of my babe from countless hours of mooning over her.
I witnessed each new freckle (she has three so far) seemingly pop out of nowhere. Pop pop pop. I was privy to her transition from coos to grunts to words to sentences to belting out songs at the top of her lungs (with accompanying actions) whenever the mood struck. I cheered along with her when, after months of hard work, she finally got both feet off the ground in her very first legit jump. I encouraged her as she slowly built up the confidence to sit with our lovely music teacher Arianne and watched with pride as she gently offered her hand to another toddler in the class. I saw her ever-evolving relationship with our Jack Russell Ruby become what it is today–how they play and cuddle and drive each other crazy, just like any other siblings. The strawberry scar–a token from the vacuum that helped bring her into the world–hidden beneath her dusty blond locks still gives me an ache every day when I pull her hair back into pigtails.
Each new gesture. Every subtle shifting expression. Good days and not so good ones. I get a front row seat.
It’s definitely a decent gig for a snoop like me.