Your Hands


Yes, a section dedicated exclusively to your hands.  

Your instinct to grasp was delightful, and I could not help myself but to frequently thrust my index finger into your palm and feel you clutch it tightly.  I soon learned, however, that your instinct was only for clasping and not at all for releasing.  I had to pry my finger out of your determined grip in order to get it back.  

One day, you were batting at a toy that dangled above your play mat.  The toy had a wooden handle that I imagined a baby would, over time, learn to grasp with long periods of observation and some few careful experiments.  

If such a baby exists, you were not it.  

You hit the bell, and you hit it hard.  Hard enough that I was certain the reverberations found Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali in their graves and made them smile.  And then, most unexpectedly, you batted your bell with an open hand that aligned perfectly with the wooden handle and by pure instinct alone your wrapped it in a death grip.

You became hysterical, and I became panicked.  You ripped your arm back and forth in an effort to make the toy release your hand.  You screamed at it, it clanged at you, and the entire architecture of your playmat bent and swayed against the forces of your fight.  You won, but even now, you look upon that toy with pure suspicion and only occasionally kick it with your feet.  

If you fought to defend your hand in that instance, you fought against it shortly thereafter.  I watched you while you watched your hand attack your face.  In reality, it was only exploring the squishy, wet contours of a newly discovered body part, but to you, it was an assault.  You fought it with the only weapon available to you.  Your mouth.  Eventually it succumbed in your drooling grip, and a love affair began.  Your hand was seldom far from your mouth after that.

While your mouth already knew of your hand, your eyes only discovered it later.  During periods of unsettling quiet, I would peek around a corner, over a computer, or through a glass door to discover your arm extended above your face and your eyes incredulously observing your hand in silence.  

And then you discovered you had two.

I soon discovered, however, that babies should really be credited with four hands instead of two.  Without the obligation of walking burdening you, you used your feet as an extra set of hands.  Before fatherhood, had a person told me that a baby’s toes can clasp a finger, hold a shirt sleeve, or rip hair from a forearm, I would have called them a liar.  

It is no lie.  

Whether studying your hands or your feet, your fascination extended beyond reflective periods of solitude.  You could not be bothered to cooperate on the changing table, while reading a book, or during outfit changes—during all this and more, one of your appendages would drift into your field of view and all progress would grind to a halt while your desperately studied it.  There was only one thing that could break your concentration—the prospect of food.