On Tuesday you turned seven months old. You may as well be seven, that’s how foreign this feels to me. We’re more than half-way through the first year of your life. Its been a busy month of milestones flying past me so fast I can hardly keep track like sitting up on your own, and crawling, and standing on anything, the coffee table, the sofa, the crib. You love standing. During the day you stand in your crib and giggle, at night you stand, clanging your fists in fury like we are cruel wardens who have wrongfully imprisoned you. But I love your victory roars when you demand we notice you and demand that we recognize how amazing it is, this standing thing, and that you can do it so well.
You say mama now, a lot. Or rather, amma. You desi baby, you. I know you probably aren’t aware of what you are saying, but I’ll go ahead and pretend that when you say it to me, as opposed to the dishwasher, you really mean it.
You had your first Eid-ul-Adha this month. Your dadi and dada came to celebrate it with you. We hold no illusions that they came for anyone other than you. You wore the shalwar kamiz your dadi made just for you- and you opened gifts and pulled my hair. On that note, sweetheart, would you mind easing on mastering being a rope climber on my hair? It leads to me posing in nearly all pictures while holding you looking like this:
Speaking of hair, yours? Its starting to curl. I shouldn’t be surprised since everyone on both sides of your family sport curls, but it still mesmerizes me. One day it was straight, the next, waves like a silky sea. When you were first born, we wondered who you looked like with each genetically related family-member claiming likeness to themselves. For example, you suck your thumb all the time. I pull it out most times, but the problem is you look so cute doing it. Mamu Ali and Khala Aamina sucked their thumbs as kids and they grin at this development. While many babies suck thumbs, for us its further glimpses of how you’re a cornucopia of us [though still your own unique you].
Despite these debates, the older you get its becoming increasingly clear. You look like me. A conclusion unanimously reached once people see my baby pictures. I don’t see it most days, but sometimes when you’re wearing your striped footed pajama and glance at me just so, I freeze because its like a time warp. A glimpse into the past. Ofcourse I’d love you just as much if you looked like your Abu or even Cookie Monster- but still- this feeling? Hard to properly articulate. [If you’re reading this years-hence and are horrified that you resembled a girl, I offer you the comfort that I was a very boy looking baby girl]
Your Abu and I look at teenagers who talk back to their parents, roll eyes and demand money and wonder how parents tolerate this. Now I think its because of these moments right now, of pure guileless love. It settles into your heart and helps you weather the trying times of adolescence. As I glanced at old pictures of myself I was struck with the love I saw in my parent’s eyes. Its the same love I see in their eyes today. I realized, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, or 30, when I look in your eyes I will always see my baby Waleed. This grunting, crawling, cooing, crying innocent being I was entrusted with to protect. Happy seven month birthday Waleed. Know that I will always love you exactly like I love you today.