I know we're programmed to love babies, and to find nothing more wonderful than simply, delicately feeling their tiny wondering fingers play over your face, then kiss the creamy expanse of their tummies...
...but it never prepares you for the full, mallet to the head, struck dumb with aweness of it.
And then I spend time with Nora, my whining, "pay attention to me again!" daughter, and she smiles, or wraps herself around my legs. Today we sang a song together about jumping and dancing. Nora dancing to order, moving her body randomly while I sing; a serious look on her face.
The core feeling never really changes, but the vulnerability has changed. Now I want to bite her toes and tickle her tummy until she squeals with pain and delight at the torture ("No more tickling!").
One of James' loveliest expressions: innocently hopeful. When he is lifting his head up, gently bobbing backward and forward, eyes wide and forehead knitted in to several horizontal lines, looking around in what appears to be total amazement (I'm sure it must be - why wouldn't it be, given that at this age, everything is always new), mouth open and shaped like a tiny "O".
And then he sighs the "Ohhhhhh" with an exhale before looking at me quizzically, one eyebrow raised, Jones style. And then his features soften in to a gentle smile.
Of course, within 20 minutes he'll be telling me how tired he is by screaming his head off. He seems to do nothing by halves. Hungry? JESUS, I'M HUNGRY!!! Tired? HELP ME FOR GOD'S SAKE I'M EXHAUSTED!!! Happy and replete? "Ohhhhhh". Whilst letting his hands bat against various hanging objects as he lies, jiggling on his playmat.
1.13 cait. Get to bed you danm moron. I wonder how Bob's getting on? I'm on Yoz's SMS list...