A year ago at about 9:30 in the morning, in a room crowded with nursing students and onlookers, my midwife placed a white-covered, howling baby boy on my belly. Through my own tears of joy, I found myself swearing fealty to him, telling him I loved him over and over as they wiped him off and I pulled him up to my arms.
There are moments that stick with you. He will never remember, and I will never forget.
Nathaniel Augustus Flynn — my sweet Thane-boy. What a gift you are, and what a gift our year together has been.
The general outlines of what a child learns in their first year of life are the same. They lift their head. They smile at you for the first time. They reach out to play with a toy. They roll over. They sit up. They stand. They crawl. They walk. They call you by name. For a healthy child, the outlines are the same — like lines in a coloring book. But oh the vivid differences that show up!
Thane is my book-reader and belly-sleeper. He’s a nose-crincher and cat-lover. Thane is my thumb-sucker. Thane is my independent son. Thane is my patient child. I hear him tell himself stories in the morning in his crib. When he plays, he’ll every-so-often come over and grab on to your leg, lay his cheek against you and suck his thumb. This lasts for a few seconds of love and reassurance, and then he is back to his play again. At night when he goes to sleep (which he does like an absolute dream, night after night), he refuses to lie down until he’s turned on his crib bubbler. If you turn it on, he’ll look reproachful, turn it off, and turn it back on again. Car rides are far more peaceful than I remember them being at 1, as he gazes out the window, reads his books, and removes his socks.
Thane is, I think, destined to be a gentle giant. For all his quieter ways (and quieter is a comparison — he’s not quiet), when Thane makes a decision he’s very hard to stop. I fear dirty diapers, because Thane twists like a muscular corkscrew on the changing table. He’s far more interested in the “Ba! Ba!” (book) over there than lying down! He is so strong, it’s hard to credit.
Thane follows the cats through the house and eats their catfood if not supervised. The other day in just a moment’s inattention, I came to find him drinking (surprisingly skillfully) out of the cat’s water dish while eating their kibble as though it was popcorn. The cats were rather put out.
Thane is persistent in his skills. I watched him try no fewer than 20 times to both put the Weeble on the Weeble-horse AND spin it, until he finally mastered the effect he desired. He was patient, thorough and unhurried.
When Thane smiles, his noses crinkles up.
Thane is being cautious with language. We will hear a word once or twice and then it will disappear. The consistent words are “Book”, “Mama” and “Dada”. When I ask him to say his own name, “Can you say Thane?” he gives me a reproachful look and says with great emphasis “Mama”. I’m sorry son. I like your name. I know that only native English speakers over the age of 7 can say it, but I still like it.
Thane loves loves loves water. He has no fear of it. He loved swimming this summer. He loves taking baths. He will stay in the water until his skin is blue and he’s all shivers, and weep bitter tears when he has to come out.
Thane gets this amazing expression on his face when he’s trying to explore something by tasting it. I’ve seen him bring his mouth down to experience the busy ball bopper or the carpet or the bathwater, with this same intent expression.
Thane and his brother get along wonderfully, although they do still seem to inhabit largely separate worlds. Grey makes Thane laugh with the least thing he does. Although they periodically have their differences over toy-possession, Thane and Grey seem to really like each other.
Thane learned to walk so he could carry toys in his hands as he wandered from room to room. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason he saw a point.
Thane’s favorite food in the world is cheese. He also loves yogurt, but wants to feed himself. He loves bits of meat and enjoys gnawing on pizza crust. He’ll inhale a pair of fried eggs. He finds Cheerios vaguely insulting and expresses his disapproval by sending them all to their fate on the floor.
Thane enjoys fingerpainting with the milk from his bottles.
Oh Thane. How I love your golden curls, your disproportionate smile, your crinkled nose. One year has been wonderful. May we be mother and son for many, many more.