Cold and sticky and plump and white like dimpled marshmallows, my son’s hands mash into me. Like tiny tree frogs his fingers splay across my face and suction onto my nose, my lips. They refuse to release hold of my dry and cracked fingers as I try to slip away from his crib at night. Strong baby muscles pull my hands over his face, suggesting I caress his cheeks and rub his forehead and stay.
As a newborn, my son had difficulty keeping his little fists away from his mouth while nursing. My husband used to have to hold back the hands while I helped the little guy get a good latch. Older now, my sneaky baby boy likes to wriggle a little finger into his mouth while he eats, as if I won’t notice. And sometimes, when he’s feeling particularly witty, he’ll try to sneak his finger into my mouth. Or my nose.
I remember the first days that he discovered his hands. He turned and turned them this way and that in front of his face. He still does this when, upon lying down for a nap in his crib, the morning light streams through his window. He experiments with the shadows and light patterns that play across his up-stretched hands.
One time as we sat in my chair, Geddy discovered the shadow my hand was making and reached for it. I moved my hand and he stared at the spot of light on the arm. Then I waggled my fingers and he reached for their shadow twins again. Then we started doing shadow puppets on the wall. I see a lot of this in our future.
When his teeny tiny nails scratch and claw and tell me that it’s time for trimming, I lightly pinch each dainty finger and try to hold an entire squirmy body still with that pinch. Only a distraction and his tummy full allows me to finish the task but I dare not do the toenails too. Another time. (Speaking of toes, he's discovering that his are not as tasty as his fingers. He sometimes makes a little face after removing a toe from his mouth!)
His little hands teach him so much about his world. The texture and temperature of an object. The cause and effect of his poking and prodding. So amazing to observe as he watches his hands learn.