Sunday, January 24, 2010

Witness for the Prose-CUTE-tion*

*worst wordplay ever

Yesterday I mentioned NJ's first successful rollover -- there were four or five, actually -- and how delighted The Wife was to see them. She says she missed the first one; she put NJ on her tummy, turned away to fiddle with her camera, and turned around to find the baby laying on her back. She quickly flipped NJ over and the kid obliged with another rollover. And another. By then, I was down the stairs to see what the fuss was about (it was kind of a grown-up version of a boy running to the tree on Christmas morning) and The Wife -- who'd been clapping, cheering and encouraging NJ -- turned to me and beamed. I got down on the quilt and was rewarded with a couple of rollovers, too, and there was no one in the county happier at 8 a.m. than The Wife and I.

Later on I was thinking about the moment, and how many more of those moments there are to come. The big ones, of course, the ones that put the butts in the seats -- crawling, standing, walking, speaking that first word -- and lots of comparatively smaller ones, too. Recently we've had NJ's first solid food feeding, NJ's first play date (a male caller, no less) and now, of course, she's rolling over like nobody's business. I thought that I was one lucky dad to be at home and with her most all the time, ready to capture that first mobile moment on video or her first time standing on her own with the camera.

But if my odds as a milestone witness are improved, The Wife's odds are reduced. And that puts something of an asterisk next to my good fortune. She's absolutely smitten with NJ -- she lives for NJ's smiles, and when NJ gets going on a good laugh bender, eventually the child's laughter is drowned out by The Wife's. I love seeing how happy my daughter makes my wife.

It wasn't easy for The Wife to go back to work. She was afraid she would miss NJ like crazy, and she was right. That first day I snapped a photo with my phone and e-mailed it to her, and sent another the second day. The third day, I was really busy and didn't get around to it in the morning. A little bit before noon, though, I had an e-mail sent to two different accounts from The Wife, as well as voice messages on both the house's land line and my cell phone. "Is everything OK?" "Yes, all's well. Just doing some things around the house." "Well, I didn't get my picture." At that point I smiled and thought "Oh, every day? And early, too?" And I've e-mailed at least one photo of the kid to her every day since.

The Wife spends every possible moment she can with NJ -- they're together for hours in the morning, she takes her as soon as she gets home, and on the weekends my solo time with NJ dwindles to practically none. I hate the idea that The Wife thinks she's missing out, and I do what I can to make sure she doesn't. So the streak of Mom and Dad seeing all of NJ's milestones together ended yesterday. The Wife was there, but I missed the first rollover. And I'm almost glad I did. Instead I woke to the sounds of a delighted mother.

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