My Cherubic Charlie

7.9.07: In the prime of his babyhood


You know the baby you imagine the entire nine months of your pregnancy? You know—the one you picture before you deliver your actual baby, who comes out looking all squished and scrawny, like some mutant cross between an alien, a wrinkled old man, and a plucked chicken? I'm talking about the cartoon-character baby...the movie baby...all plump and pink, with bright eyes, and chubby cheeks, and roly-poly thighs?

That baby is here. Right now. My Charlie. I'm expecting a call from the folks at Gerber any minute now.

Charlie has entered what Will has dubbed "the magic time." At seven months old, he is in prime baby mode, with his milky-smooth skin, his soft, downy hair, and his practically celestial expressions. He's got Popeye forearms and pillow-top feet. The rolls on his legs are so scrumptious, I am tempted to take a nibble. He charms the pants off of perfect strangers, who stop us on the street and say things like: "Well, he's certainly not starving, is he?"

Today, he is sitting Buddha-like, flashing his two-toothed grin, reaching for toys, screeching for food, rolling and laughing and gnawing on things. He has the disposition of a lamb, smiling as Julia snatches a toy out of his hands, squealing with joy if we pay him the slightest bit of attention. Kiss his belly once, and his eyes smile flirtatiously behind his pacifier. Kiss his belly twice, and he howls with laughter. He is turning into a real little person, clapping and waving, peek-a-boo-ing and pat-a-cake-baking. He rolls over and sleeps on his belly now, then wakes in the morning chirping "Dadadadadadadada" in a voice so sweet, I'm sure it must put the birds to shame.

Yesterday, he said "mama" for the very first time.

I may be just a teensy bit biased, but I think Charlie is the most fetching little guy I've ever laid eyes on. He is simply cherubic. Give him a set of wings and a quiver of arrows, and we'd have to change his name to Cupid. I am completely smitten. Utterly love-struck.

So why am I filled with so much angst?

Because just as I was reveling in Charlie's beautiful babyhood, I opened the "Seventh Month" chapter of our What to Expect the First Year book and read something so disturbing, it's almost too painful to write:

"By the end of this month, your baby may be able to walk holding onto furniture."

Excuse me? Walk?! My baby?!

It's just too much—the thought of my Charlie teetering on the brink of babyhood, contemplating that first tottering step. I feel like I'm simultaneously dangling over some sort of parental precipice, hanging on for dear life and begging him not to move a muscle.

If Charlie's first year were the face of a clock, he'd already be on the upswing, ticking his way toward the midnight hour like some sort of Cinderella baby, as I watch and wait, fully aware that at the stroke of midnight, his ripply rolls might stretch into muscles, and his sweet baby coos might transform themselves into the first toddler tantrums.

The second time around, I know all too well how quickly this time will pass. When Julia was a baby, I saw my life stretching out before me in an endless sea of diaper changes and nursing sessions. And then—suddenly—I looked around, and it was gone, like the filmy fragments of an incredible dream that faded away even as I tried to slip back into it. Thankfully, Julia also taught me that each new phase brings its own magic time.

Right now, my Charlie is seven months old. He's the baby boy of my dreams. He is sitting, smiling, laughing, rolling, playing, drooling, and cooing. But, definitely not walking.

Not now. Not yet.

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

Read the next entry: 7.16.07: Ferberizing Charlie