Friday, 8 April 2011

The first few months

Spot the difference
In the run up to Marty's arrival one of the joys of Leanne's life was to lie on the sofa of an evening and "Bump watch". This involved interrupting my TV viewing pleasure with constant nudges and cries of “Look, look, she’s moving” – for some inexplicable reason we had it in our head that “he” was a “she”. Only very rarely could I discern the difference between the ‘bump’ moving and Leanne passing wind, so I rapidly lost interest.

Then the big day arrived and ‘Bump’ became Marty and life became distinctly more interesting, and this was despite all my mates telling me that babies in the first six months were really boring.

To be honest I can see where they’re coming from; Marty’s conversation is at best limited, he can’t sing, he can’t dance and the less said about his social skills the better. All in all he’s an ideal candidate for X-Factor.

But there’s still a world of fascination about him. Over the last few weeks he’s learnt to go “goo, goo, goo” and generally gurgle with contentment in such as fashion as to melt the hardest of hearts.

After four weeks, if you tickled him under the chin you would be rewarded with a huge toothless grin and if you watched him when he was asleep you’d see him do the same thing; a slow, lopsided, smile slowly appear as he thought his baby thoughts – no doubt something along the lines of large breasts and milk.

In week six his eyes suddenly started to focus on me and he started to follow my face as I moved. I’ll grant you that it didn’t last for long and the ceiling would occasionally usurp me as an item of immense interest but he suddenly seemed ‘alive’. Before this he tended to just stare into space in a ‘the lights are on but nobody’s at home’ fashion. Now he seems to be engaging with the world and it makes such a huge difference.

Other little things gain enormous significance. When Marty was born he had a little chip out of his left ear and we’d put this down to the birth; after all it’s a tight squeeze at the best of times so it wouldn’t be that surprising if things had dropped off during an arduous delivery. As it turns out it’s hereditary! Yup, we popped down to Kent to see the rellies and Charlotte pointed out that she also had a chip out of her left ear, as did almost everyone in her family.

It sounds daft but it’s things like that that truly brought home to me that Marty was ours; a product of me and Leanne and everyone else in our family. Bearing in mind that I studied genetics I guess it shouldn’t have been that surprising, but there’s a huge gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘realising’; actually living the event rather than just studying it.

Of course I get told that he looks like me all the time but I think this is more of a social norm than a statement of reality: I’m much taller, he has more hair; I have wrinkles, he has skin so perfect you can’t even see the pores. There are lots and lots of telling differences between us. I’ll grant you that I have been known to lie sprawled upon a sofa with dribble running down my chin but I can’t imagine that I ever managed it with quite the natural grace of young Marty.

Just to prove our differences, Marty appears to be an adept in the martial arts - something that I never got involved with. If you make any kind of noise when he's asleep his arms will suddenly shoot into the air, fingers spread wide apart, in what is clearly a Ninja "Hands of death" stance. Quite what sort of damage an 11 pound Ninja baby could do to you is debatable, but its good to see that the attitude is there.

All in all, yes he will probably become more and more engaging as he gets older, but boring? No it’s been far from boring.

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