Kiddo#4, at six months, suffers from “curious hands.”
It is actually not he who suffers from it, I suppose, but everyone else. I don’t remember the other Kiddos being this grabby at this age, but Kiddo#4 has a quiet composure that makes it all the more strange when he unabashedly reaches for anything in front of him.
Today he’s reached forward to grab a napkin off the table, a spoon, the nice woman in front of us, the pattern on the bed sheets, the design on my shirt, his sister’s hair, my lips, the buckle on the car seat, and so on.
I understand he has to learn, and this is how babies do it. We used to joke around by speaking as though we were our other infant Kiddos: “Momma, it’s a big world. It’s going to take a long time to put it all in my mouth.”
He seems more poised, though. There’s no excitement or apparent longing. With Kiddo#4, it’s simply, “See object, take it.” He’ll be in my arms as I shop and if I accidentally stand too close to something, suddenly it’s in his hands en route to his mouth.
I stand at the end of the walk-in closet, watching my husband select clothes while holding the baby. Kiddo#4 is up in my Patient Husband’s left arm, head up over my Patient Husband’s shoulder. As my husband reaches for a shirt, the baby reaches in the opposite direction for my sweater on a shelf. My husband takes down the shirt; the baby’s fingers brush the edge of a large brown button but can’t grab it. My Patient Husband then takes a step toward the pants. The baby’s hands brush by the edge of the sweater again. He wears a concentrated patience. There’s no frustration, only quiet study. My Patient Husband takes a pair of pants, and the baby tries again for that enticing brown button.
It’s one of those little moments you can’t save from parenthood, but which afterward you wish you could — the baby using curious hands to grasp at passing buttons and parents using their hearts to grasp at passing time.