My little boyfriend, and his sweetness

A friend once said, “Sons—it’s like having a little boyfriend with you all the time.” I didn’t know, then, what she meant, but now I get it. He’s my buddy, my partner, my little platonic boyfriend. We become more attached every day. “I feel like I do when I’m falling in love,” DH said. “It’s that same dreamy obsession.” Yes, that’s it.

S is just so sweet. His sweetness is pure, innocent, heartbreaking. He loves people, babies, dogs, toys, books, baths, bodies of water, birds, cars and trucks, spoons, any teacher (gym, yoga, music), and my car keys (also obsession-level love—he must eat the car keys. Must. Eat.). He’s very social and it kills me to see his face light up and crack open into that lopsided grin of his when he’s interacting with someone or something that delights him. And then I am the one he always turns back to, falls into, snuggles up to, clings to. His fuzzy melon head under my lips. His sweet smiling up at me in security, in joy.

Sometimes he pants like a puppy and gazes up at me dreamily, grabbing my nose, my lips, my teeth, my tongue. He presses his mouth to my skin and zerberts me. When I pat his back, he pats my leg or arm at the same time. I stop patting, he stops patting. I start patting again, he starts patting again. When I point to him in the mirror, he makes that sweet, high baby, “Ah-ahh-ahh,” and kisses himself. He grins up at me while on the changing table, showing me how he can play “drum” on the box of wipes with his feet.

In the morning, he sits on the floor in front of me like a gangly baby chimpanzee, supporting himself with his primate arms. I massage his tiny shoulders, and he grunts low and long. “Uhhhhhhhh, uhhhhhhh.” In pleasure. Then I scratch his back and arms. Sometimes he closes his eyes. “Uhhhhhh, uhhhhh.”

He touches my teeth, then touches his own teeth (three on the bottom!). The other day, when I talked for the Panda bear we named Pan-Pan, and who can only say, “Pan-pan, pan-pan, pan-pan,” (Pan-Pan’s a simple creature, poor dear) he whipped his head around and looked at my mouth. Back to Pan-Pan. “Pan-pan, pan-pan, pan-pan,” I said, and in mid-word, he turned and his little hand shot up to my mouth as I was speaking. It was so clear that he was thinking about how I was talking for the panda bear, that something in that moment clicked for him. And he grinned at me as if we shared a secret.

“Get Grover,” I said the other day, and he turned and picked up Grover. He knows Grover’s name! He loves Grover deeply. Now Grover has a little Grover, whom we call Baby Grover, and who is Grover’s son. You can’t imagine the sweet, excited grins and laughs we get, the high sing-song words and squeals, when father and son Grover nibble on his hands and feet and belly. The loving sighs when he finally gets to hold them in his arms.

It amazes me how much he learns every day. It’s just me and him so much of the time, and I have the honor of witnessing every change, every tiny step he makes. In the bubble bath the other day, baby boy in my arms, he was nibbling on a rubber octopus. I put the octopus in my mouth and nibbled, too. He took it back, and I said, “Hey Ba-Ba, can I have some, too?” I showed him again, put the octopus in my mouth and nibbled. Gave it back to him. He chewed away. “Can I have some?” I asked again. He seemed to pause for a bit, uncertain, before holding out the octopus and putting it directly in my mouth. I nibbled. “Mmmm, thank you!” I said. Wow. Wow!

We hung out with a friend and her charming baby (S’s buddy) and their dog, the other day, and S petted the dog, delighted. I showed him how to pet gently, and he imitated me. I don’t know if this will continue, but right now, he can be incredibly gentle, and he seems to take my lead on being soft. Like when we go to the baby trees in the front yard and say, “Good morning, tree, thank you for giving us oxygen,” and he shakes the branches, hard, at first, but then gently, gently, after me.

He is a sleuth, accumulating and dissecting clues to the biggest mystery: life.

It’s as if everything is for him, especially for him, there specifically for his inspection and enjoyment. Can you imagine if the world still felt that way to us? We can learn so much from these babies, these little balls of light.

The music outside the music hall we passed in town: especially for him. For him to boing to. The cars that pass on the street in the morning: For him. For him to follow with his wide eyes, as if he’s never seen a car before. The birds in the sky. For him. For him to breathlessly listen to.

Sometimes I just can’t wait to see his smiling face in the morning. The way he rolls onto his back and that little tongue goes in, out, in, out. The number of tongue in-outs is like his star rating of whatever is happening. I know he really likes a new person we’ve met if his tongue is going in and out like crazy through that lopsided grin.



The above are S’s first published words! Congrats, little man. He was with Dada, and he wanted to sit on my lap and see what I was doing. And then he bent down to this keyboard and wrote the above. Bravo, sweet boy.

He also joins me when I play guitar, now, on drum. He doesn’t pound on the drum at this point but slaps it rather thoughtfully, imitating our slaps, or keeping his own private time to whatever I’m strumming and singing. His singing is a yodel-yell.

I’m listening to Franzen’s _Freedom_ right now, book on CD, and S sits in the backseat going, “Ba-da-da-da-da-daw-daw-daw-daw, aw-aw-aw, eee,” etc, on and on continuously, and it seems to me that he is imitating the continuous flow of sound of the narrator’s voice. When I am having a conversation with another adult, he does the same thing, and it seems as if he is trying to participate in our conversation.

He now produces the longest raspberry sound in history when he is annoyed, especially when getting a diaper change (he would prefer to live in a nudist colony). He squints his eyes, purses and puckers, and goes, “Pppphhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” for longer than you can imagine, spit flying everywhere. When that one is done, he starts another. “I hear ya, little man,” I say. “I get it. Being nakes is so much better!” He takes a deep breath. “Ppppppppphhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” he says in response, eyes tightly squeezed, little chin jutting up to the ceiling.

He is becoming more and more a little boy, a little boy who wants to cuddle up to his mama. I can feel his craving for intimacy. He takes my hand and moves it. He grabs a finger and moves my hand so that I am stroking his cheek up and down. Last night before he fell to sleep, he moved my hand all the way down to the middle of his chest and then back up his neck and up his cheek, then back down his cheek and neck and chest. Over and over. He smiled. He fell to sleep like that.

He wriggles deep down in my arms, likes to go down where he can rest his cheek against my breast, his favorite pillow.

He likes to cuffart in my arms, too. That would be a cough + fart, a very pleasing simultaneous release! During our niece’s first Communion in Brooklyn, he cuffarted and farted in my arms throughout the ceremony, jiggling his legs giddily, quite pleased with himself, but luckily the organ music and the choir were loud enough to drown him out. And there was plenty of incense in the air.

Oh boy—I just left him and Dada on the porch to come up and here and finish this, and I can hear his cries. That separation anxiety can really start to peak and rise for months and months right about now. Yesterday, he was beside himself while I got ready for the day (which I usually do while he naps, not while he is awake) and I felt a literal ache in my chest when he reached for me, red-faced, real tears. “Mama! Mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mmmaaaaaahhhh!”

I caved the other day at bedtime. He’s sleeping through from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and he used to drop off to sleep in his crib pretty easily, but now there is quite a bit of lead-up to bedtime. The _Time for Bed_ story-time has gotten more elaborate, as it now involves his sometimes kissing the animals (love!) or nibbling on the corners or helping me turn the pages and there is generally a lot of rolling and giggling and jiggling and grinning at himself in the mirror, or cool-down time in Mama’s arms in front of the AC unit. When I put him the crib, he reaches for me and does the “Mama” thing and I feel his yearning so viscerally. I’ve gotten into the habit of going back in at least once to comfort him. But the other day when I picked him up, he fell to sleep in my arms almost immediately and I took him into bed with me, where he slept beside me, with his sweet angel face, for at least an hour before I put him back in the crib. I watched him dream. I watched him smile and laugh in his sleep. His eyes moving back and forth behind his eyelids, his soft fingers clutching my thumb. 

I would do anything for you. These are words I often think. And also, hilariously, the words from that 80s Jefferson Starship song are always popping into my head:  All that I want to do is hold you forever, forever and ever.

All right: self-care time. A yoga class before our day.

Over and out,


Leave a comment


  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful, like all your posts. I am in love with your son and the beauty of him!

  2. Aw, the was such a tender, special post! I hope you let him read it one day… it’s sweet and magical how you describe your little guy. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I love hearing from you and the tiny man! I’m so happy that he’s doing so awesome!!!

  4. Awwww, this just sounds so wonderful and sweet. Glad all of you are doing so well!

  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous post. He is so sweet! And I love how you’re capturing all these moments of development, of awakening to the world around him. I love how you help him explore but the exploring is all his. Just love this post.


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