I've been finding a lot of joy in Carmen lately. Probably my favorite time of the day is the first thing in the morning when I go to get her up. I call out "Good morning!" and her little head pops up, startled and still delirious. Her eyes are puffy and blinking, and she's not altogether awake, but I lift her out by the armpits and settle down into our big marshmallow rocking chair. I snuggle Carmen up to me and rock while she eats and eats, eyes closed, growing more comfortable with each suck, feeling around my arms and shirt and face with her free hand. She is so funny and fat, and as we switch sides she starts to wake up a little bit, so when she's finally had enough she drops off, looks at me, and after a minute, calls out "Gah." It is such a sweet little voice.
Then we talk for a little bit, her calling out and me trying to copy her sounds, and we smile at each other as we study and admire each other's hands and facial feathers (Carmen is much more tactile in her study). At some point a diaper must be changed, and then the cares and restlessness of the day begin to intrude - next door another not-so-little voice starts singing or meowing or talking, and from that point on Olivia's conversation (often one-sided) monopolizes the day. But those early moments that so define the irreplicable bond between baby and mommy are sacred. Those are the ones I keep and ponder in my heart.