Bulldogs and belonging

We own Evan: nook, crease and cranny. When I need a smile, I take all his clothes off and watch him jump in his crib. Nothing but skin and a grin and boing boing boing. Instant happiness.

I stick my finger in his neck, the secret place that makes him giggle. We twiddle his Squirrel’s Nest, the soft patch of fuzz at the top of his bum.

No man's a man without a good squirrel's nest, Daddy says. And we both crack up at the sight of him scrambling away from a fresh diaper, joyful as ever to be naked and unrestrained, a prize bulldog.

It’s a limited-time sight. With every year that passes he’ll be more his own, and less ours. He’ll be embarassed to pee with the door open. He’ll hide when he gets dressed. He’ll have secrets.

He’s starting to smell like a little boy, gobs of nut butter stuck in his hair and clammy sock fluff stuck between his toes. For now he is ours, an extension of our own bodies, another limb. We can peek down his pants to gauge toxicity, de-boo him and blow raspberries on his pudge.

Until the day he becomes his own, a phantom itch I wish I could scratch.