The Frustration and the Wonder

I’m pretty damn sure that Felix sometimes cries not just because he wants something but also because he’s annoyed I can’t figure out what that thing is. Just a few minutes ago, for example, we were funning on the bed. Playing peek-a-boo and tickling his belly now makes him smile, while talking in a falsetto and making faces captivates him. If he’s in the right mood, just flashing him a goofy grin is enough to start his excitement going: the quickened, deepened breathing, the crooked half-smile, the big alert eyes, the hands flailing about in the direction of the thing he’s interested in.

The bitch is, some of these are also his pre-meltdown signs, and getting Felix worked up inevitably ends in him crossing the boundary from cool to crying.

Which frustrates me, because I can’t ever figure out what it is he wants. Our games on the bed ended when he seemed to want something on my face. But what was it? He bonked my cheeks a couple times with his hands, but he lacks control of his fingers, and his aim ain’t very good, so I could only wonder. Maybe my glasses? Maybe he just wanted to reach out and make contact? Though I tried walking him around, it was too late—the tears started and fun time was over. S suggested he was bored, so took him for a walk in the garden. (As I’m writing this, I can’t hear whether he’s wailing or not.)

If only Felix and I could more clearly communicate with one another. Dealing with him when he gets fussy like this makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer’s number gets mixed up with moviephone and he decides to sit in his apartment with the movie listings, waiting for people to call so he can give them the times. At first he tells them to press one for this movie or two for that one, but when he can’t understand the beeps, he tells them, “Why don’t you just tell me the movie you’d like to see?”

Since Felix can’t tells us, S and I’ve become detectives, trying to piece together his likes and dislikes as if we’re constructing a personal ad for a stranger based solely on observation. Likes include staring at string lights, mirrors, and splotches of morning sunlight creeping up the wall, holding onto fingers, listening to high-pitch voices speaking in a put-on foreign accent, smelling fresh mint from the garden, and sucking on binkies. Must have a passion for baths.

Bathing definitely chills Felix out, and over the weekend I got in on the action by hopping in the tub with him. We were visiting Grandma, who doesn’t have a baby bath, and this seemed like the easiest way to bathe the little guy. I held his head and submerged his body in the warm water, and he spread his arms out, letting them float. He had the most contented and chill of all expressions on his face—eyes wide, mouth slightly open, breathing steady and sure—the look of someone in a state of happy relaxation, soaking in life.

At the best of times, that’s what spending time with the little guy has been like for me too. The logical detective goes on vacation, and, imitating my son, I try to hold my gaze as long as I can without blinking, just taking him all in.


1 Response to “The Frustration and the Wonder”

  1. 1 Camille July 9, 2009 at 12:36 am

    You will get there, my dear!

    This is what the early months seem to be about – just getting to know each other and how you all work together, but also Felix trying to work out what HE likes. Just like every moment with Felix is for you a moment of amazement, the same can be said of him! He’s probably completely amazed at all this newness around him and sometimes gets overwhelmed.

    I think that even if you work out how to ‘scratch every itch’ for Felix, he’ll still have moments when he cannot be soothed. And that’s totally okay. I think of myself in low moments when nothing is right and no one can help me (least of all myself) and if you converted my adult ramblings into baby speak I would probably sound the same as Felix…

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