Five Months

it’s happening faster now

her hair is longer

though still fuzzy and defying gravity

her smiles and squeals bigger

passing toys from hand to hand

legs up, grabbing feet

louder voice

growls and fake coughs and yells

yeah yeah yeahs

lilting sing song

raspberries, wet and buzzing

it’s happening faster now

she can roll over both ways

but they are few and far between enough

that it’s exciting when it happens

she is even picking up her binky

and putting it in her mouth

if she can angle it right

she stands on her toes

in the activity table

and throws her arms down

hands splatting on the toy piano

with happy squeals

spinning the hedgehog and wheel with purpose

my big girl

playing peekaboo with that owl

that’s hiding in the bright orange stump

she likes when i fast-kiss her soft cheeks

and blow raspberries on her neck and tummy

and sniff soft bunny-sniffs in her ears

like my dad did with me

so that when i look back up at her she is smiling big and tickled

she likes watching her daddy play guitar

like his dad did with him

turning her head whenever she hears music

smiling at all his funny faces

grabbing his glasses and nose

and mustache

looking for his voice when he walks in the room

“i like spending time with youuu!”

her eyes have gotten darker and brighter

deeper and more twinkly

framed by the longest most beautiful lashes

so that even passersby have stopped and exclaimed,

“such big bright eyes!”

it’s funny

when i look in the mirror

my own eyes

a light blue

my formerly favorite feature

now seem too watery and anemic

compared to hers

rich and brown

i fall more and more in love with them each time

and each time i look into them

i feel that

that’s what eyes should look like

maybe that’s why mine seem wrong

it’s happening faster now

we have her sleeping in her own room

still in the bassinet

so that our tossing and turning doesn’t wake her

and her every little movement doesn’t wake us


so now when the monitor howls

i sit up in bed, throwing off my blankets

i unplug my phone in the dark

slip on my slippers with my eyes half open

quietly open and close our door

so as not to let the cats in or wake the husband

pad down the hall

and enter her room just as carefully

turn the dial up on the salt lamp so that

i can see her little face

pluck her from the bassinet

and feed her in the recliner




as she gulps



until the suction slows and she falls asleep

and i place her back in the bassinet

with a kiss on her forehead

and quietly leave the room again

but one night recently

she woke up at 3:00am

and was not crying

but talking to herself

that calming “ahhh…” like a sigh

over and over

i went to her room and she looked at me

with her big beautiful eyes

it had been long enough since she’d eaten

and i supposed she would have a hard time falling back asleep hungry

so i fed her

and in the middle of eating

she stopped and looked up at me

blinking, focusing in the dark

and smiled at me

a gummy, crinkle-eyed smile

like she realized who i was

and i smiled back at her

and whispered to her to keep eating

and she did

and when she finished she was unusually awake

i placed her back in the bassinet

still awake

still wide-eyed

but calm,

hands to her mouth,

chewing on her binky

and i kissed her forehead and said night-night

and went back to my own room.

on the monitor i watched her turn her head side to side

moving her hand back and forth on the side of the bassinet

like she does when i rock her to sleep—

gently pulling at my hair

and tugging at my sweater

and soon enough

she smushed her face against the mesh and fell asleep on her own

my big girl

and she does this every now and then

falling asleep on her own

i am so proud of her

it’s happening faster now

when i take her in the carrier

i face her outwards

so she can see the world

i had taken her for a walk at the beginning of the month

and had her facing inward

like usual

per her tiny size

and she screamed and cried

and no amount of comforting helped

and because we were on a walk

in the neighborhood

on the sidewalk

in front of a church

far from home

i sat down on church’s short brick wall and flipped her around for the first time

so that her little face was poking over the top of the carrier

her legs and arms dangling outward

and she stopped crying

she calmed and looked around

i began walking

and she began talking—

babbling and

growling happy growls

i could no longer look down at her face

to see how she was doing

but we walked like that for 90 minutes

my big girl

it’s happening faster now

“she’s gets cuter everyday”

it’s happening faster now

her eyes are getting brighter

it’s happening faster now

it’s happening faster now

she’s happening faster now