I wrote Old Guy post 44 – Emma: Day 1 of a life – on the day my granddaughter was born. Today is day 177 of that life, and what a difference 5.77 months make. Emma is well on her way to becoming… Emma.
Okay, let’s be honest. Every newborn looks and acts like every other newborn: red scrunched-up face, eyes usually closed, hair slicked down on tiny head, always asleep, cries when hungry, and has that unique new-baby smell. Adorable, for sure; but just like every other adorable baby.
It’s amazing there aren’t more identity mix-ups in the maternity ward. (I think this is Emma. Not sure.)
After day 1, however, those infants start developing into little humans, right before our very eyes. This is when it’s great to be grandparents. We get to watch that baby transform almost daily from generic adorable infant into Emma Daisy Mitchener, as unique as her name, Social Security number, and tiny fingerprint.
When Emma’s dad was born, of course, we witnessed the same things, but we were too tired and overwhelmed to fully enjoy them. After all, we had a baby to feed and dress and change and bathe and change again and entertain and protect and change once again before getting him into jams and then bed. And for the rest of the day, we had to work and take care of our own needs.
But here we are now, Grandma and Grandpa Mitchener. We live five blocks from our very tired son, exhausted daughter-in-law, and their energetic, very active 177-day-old daughter. We have plenty of time to marvel over every move that child makes.
For example: the first time we saw her actually interacting with a toy, and realizing that she could make it move and make noise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ret5DNtTijI
Since she’s discovered her smile, it’s become part of her regular repertoire. And she’s beginning to establish a meaningful relationship with the camera.
And lest you get the idea that she smiles constantly and loves everything, she’s developed her own way to communicate her disapproval.
You realize what I’m doing here, right? This is the age-old practice of showing grandchildren pics to friends. Thanks to technology, I can put those pics and videos into my blog, rather than boring everyone at a party showing a stack of 20 new photos. This way, I can’t see your eyes glaze over after the 3rd one. And I tell myself that all of you are as delighted as we are by this incredibly charming, intelligent and beautiful child.
Being part of her life is a gift. The biggest part of that gift is knowing that we’re part of her everyday normal. She knows us, as shown by her quick smile and kicking feet. (Emma kicks her feet the way a puppy wags his tale.) If Mom and Dad have to run errands, no problem. Emma’s perfectly content with Grandma and Grandpa.
So where was I? Oh yeah, her constant evolution into a person. At times, she seems like she’s a miniature adult sitting there having a conversation with us.
And now, she’s almost crawling. Watching her facial expressions, body movements and obvious excitement, she knows she’s on the verge of something important, something life changing. She’s learning to travel from one point to another under her own power. That’s major; and we get to witness it. (And she’s obviously a Bulls fan.) https://youtu.be/fQLH2hXidTg
The most important thing we’re privileged to witness, however, is not Emma’s milestones. We get to see how happy, content and secure – how loved – our granddaughter is every day. And that’s because her Mom and Dad are such natural and loving parents. They’ve created a comfortable environment in which their daughter can thrive and grow and laugh and explore, and become whoever she’s becoming.
Both of them read tons of information they brought home from the hospital and their pediatrician. And they did their own research on the first weeks of life. But what we observe as they interact with their daughter is not something they learned from a book. They are intuitively caring parents.
Becoming Grandpa was not something I could have anticipated as the high point of my Old Guy life. But now I can’t imagine anything that could possibly eclipse the wonder of watching Emma Daisy Mitchener grow into herself.
NEWS FLASH!! This just in: Emma ate her first piece of banana today. You can look forward to 20 banana photos next time.