jeanhee
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October 22, 2005

Little Old Man Chiara

Tomorrow, Chiara turns seven weeks old!

I can’t say time flew by, but at the same time, i’m amazed that she has reached this age. I am totally head-over-heels for her and feel an attachment and a responsibility that I never could have imagined before.

In the last couple weeks or so, Chiara has grown so much. She really looks out on the world with curiosity, and holds her gaze steadily on people, and also things. She seems to like to stare at light reflected on walls, as near as I can guess. She also follows intensely the animals on the mobile, first her eyes moving around in their sockets, and then her head turning, taking each of the animals in turn.

I’m really struck by her maturity. Just a few weeks ago I would say she did nothing but eat, sleep and cry. She basically managed about five minutes a day of stillness and awareness of the world. But now, she can spend long periods of time being content and curious. She prefers to be in my or Luke’s arms or lap — or in the arms of any of her many, many loving aunts, uncles, grandparents — but she’ll also spend a while lying on her playmat contemplating the world.

Chiara is finally getting her digestive system on track — although she’s not there yet. She had been pooping only once a week! Now, she goes about once every two or three days. And have I mentioned that Chiara is gaining weight? We haven’t weighed her since her four-week pediatrician’s visit, but her face is noticeably plumper, and she’s developing another chin. Her baby jowls are more in evidence and her cheeks are so pinchably chubby — i can’t resist.

She has been smiling a lot more often lately. Her maternal grandmother declared on Wednesday that Chiara would smile purposely by next Tuesday (which is the next time Grandma will be visiting, of course). I think it’s a good bet that Chiara will be smiling purposely within a week, though. She’s on the verge of it now. And her smiles are like the dawn: First the corners of her mouth lift, bringing up the chubby cheeks, then the corners of her eyes and then literally, you can see the muscles at her temples get in on the action and her entire head is smiling like daybreak. It’s mesmerizing and intoxicating like, i imagine, the strongest dope would be. Once you have it, you want more and more of it.

The most hilarious development is her hair loss. She has lost all but the wispiest and downiest of hairs from her eyebrows to more than midway up to her crown. Basically, she has the receding hairline of an old, old man. The rest of the prodigious hair she was born with remains, though. I can’t really compare it to any style you’ve ever seen, past or present, although the closest is the style worn by capuchin monks.

here is a photo of chiara that I took a few days ago. You can see here how she can hold her gaze — and also why so many people have jokingly commented on her intelligence. It’s early to be making such pronouncements, I think, but she really seems to be processing what is going on here.

jeanhee @ 2:10 am

October 9, 2005

Mona Lisa Smile

Our little Chiara is now five weeks old. She is a wonderful, sweet and tender presence in our lives. It still doesn’t get old or repetitive to hold her and gaze at her sleeping face for hours on end. I always look for that transitional time, when she makes these involuntary facial expressions and her eyes open and close repeatedly. Sometimes she’ll look devilish, with the corners of her mouth lifting into a smile, while her eyes open and roll to the right or left. Sometimes she’ll look sweet, eyes closed, but mouth lifted in smile. Those are fleeting, though, and as much as I’d love to think she’s really smiling, I know that it’s unconscious. Although, Dr. Sears in a sort of forced and awkward way, has argued that rather than being what most people call a “gassy smile,” Chiara is really giving us “a smile of inner rightness.”

Whatever you want to think it is. It is fleeting and it’s impossible to predict when you’ll see one. So today, when I was taking pictures of Chiara lying on Luke’s lap, I was delighted to find that I caught one on film! The photo is totally out of focus, but there is an unmistakable smile on little Chiara’s lips!

jeanhee @ 10:49 pm