In the Light

The little dumpling has two shiny white teeth now, poking through his upper gum. I'll never set eyes on his sweet, toothless grin again. In the last few weeks, as I've been rapidly aging due to sleep-deprivation and stress, he's grown into a little boy who looks and acts much less like an infant. I look at his face, especially in the half-dark when I'm feeding him at the end of the day, and sometimes I can glimpse his past, see just the barest shadow of the tiny boy he was a few short months ago. It seems twilight is the time when I can look into the future or the past. When he was a few weeks old, I could see the baby fat fall away from his features to reveal the little boy he would become in a few months, or even a few years. Now it's the only time I can remember what he looked like when he was born. Even though he changes so quickly, and he was just itty-bitty not so long ago, it seems like eons and the details are hazy already.

He's been practicing his new pouting skills, which are perfectly crafted to work my nerves. Yesterday after a day of it, I said to him as I sipped the dregs from my glass, "There isn't enough wine in the world." He answered by whining. I said, "I take that back."

Even still, he's showing such bald affection for us that it's impossible to stay cranky at him for long. Even when I'm dragging my sorry ass out of bed to play with him after a night of bitter insomnia, he's such a delight I try to not be a curmudgeon. It seems so wrong in the face of such unflappable good cheer that his only companion is a complete wasted shell of a human. Luckily, he's decently entertained by sticking everything in his mouth, and all I have to do is hand him new toys. So we do that for a couple of hours until he's ready for a nap, and then I lull both of us back to sleep in our bed. He never sleeps long enough for my tastes.

And the light is now dipping toward the south. I've watch the seasons change more this year than I can remember in recent history. Back in April, when I finally figured out that the bun needed a more regular sleep schedule, I began feeding him at the same time every night in our bedroom. The sun was already down for the day.

But for a few days this summer, the sun hit his room when I was trying to get him to sleep in such a way that it was in flames, the sun licking the leaves of a tree outside which made ripples of firelight on his walls. I remember thinking it was a drag because the bun would be distracted by it and not want to sleep. But it must have only lasted a few days, and now that it's dusk again when I put him to bed, I wish that it was lighter.

Autumn is in the air. It seemed instantaneous. One day it was roasting hot out, and in the blink of an eye a chill hit the air and has never felt summery again. Part of it is the tilt of the light, part of it the edge of cold. The marine layer stays longer during the morning than it did just a couple of weeks ago. Soon it will just be unabashed cloud-cover and fall will be here officially.

I'm so aware of the passing of time in all its permutations now: his reckless growth, my late-night sleepless marathons, the length (half an hour, too short by a long shot) of his naps, the seasonal changes, the time the sun sets. I bought the bun's first Halloween costume today, which seems impossible. But the calendar just ticked over into September, and before I can blink I'll dress him up in it (hopefully it will still fit--no guarantees with this kid) and we'll parade him about and show him off to each other and take oo-gobs of pictures. And then it will be Thanksgiving. And then Christmas. And then his first birthday.

I can remember so clearly writing a jokey journal entry about what my future would hold, with my predictions up until the bun was born. That was a year ago, more or less. It's impossible how my life has changed. It's impossible how impoverished my life would be without this little person in my life, even on his cross days, even when he's testing my nerves to see what will get a rise out of me. It's hard to believe he wasn't always here, wasn't always ours.

He's the still point in the turning world, a constancy within the greater chaos.*

*Odd, since he's the cause of the chaos.