Saturday, June 19, 2010

To Life

The Sprout turned 3 months this week.  Unbelievable.  This is reason to celebrate.  She made it through "the fourth trimester."  Humans come out not quite fully cooked, so to speak.  As a species we are not even able to hold our own heads up for months after birth, while other horses...are strolling around with their mothers in a matter of hours.

To watch the first 3 months of human life for a second time has been extraordinary.  With Li' Bit I was just so overwhelmed with the insanity brought on by sleep deprivation combined with the pressure of keeping her alive that I did not have the peace of mind to observe what was really happening.  No longer a rookie at newbie handling, I am exhausted, but much more relaxed with The Sprout, so I am able to enjoy the beautiful filthy dawning of a human life.

The soul begins awakes from a deep sleep during the first and second is a slow and somewhat painful process as it starts the body's engine.  The body's systems are set in motion...the nervous system with spastic flailing, the digestive system with lets just say...a good cleaning of the pipes from both ends and the other systems of the body jerk into drive. By the third month it seems like the soul has the clutch down, but is still learning the gears. 

While that first true smile melted my heart in month 2, it was when The Sprout found her hand and recognized it as her own in month 3 that really struck me.  About three weeks ago she raised her tiny fist three inches from her face and stared at it cross eyed.  She held it there for about ten minutes, studying it intently.  I was afraid her eyes were going to be stuck crossed she was looking so hard at her hand.  She did this off and on through out the day, for about a week until one day she slowly brought it to her mouth. 

The Sprout began sucking on her fist with such vigor that it made a terrible slurping sound.  It was almost disturbing to watch.  The first time I thought maybe she was hungry, but then she did it after nursing.  Slurping, sucking, and gulping at her hands in a frenzy.  I just looked at her and thought, "Newborns are so weird."

The movement of bringing hand to mouth is probably the one of the most important motion in a hand's repetoire don't you think?  There are so many sensations involved with the hand in the mouth.  The taste of salt for the first time in sweat being one of them.

Recent studies show that this movement is actually embedded in the general list of spastic reflexes that make newborns so squirmy. But the moment they recognize that hand as something they can control, when it is no longer a spastic reflex but a tool...that is when you see the lightbulb ignite behind your child's eyes.  She sees her body for the first time as her own, and it is a powerful moment.

A tiny fist raised high in the air... I think "Power to the people."  But really, it is an image that can be summed up in two words, L' Chiam!  To life.  

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