He is now three months old. Okay, three months and a week- give or take a day or two. As he coos softly to his grandmother, who is sitting on my couch with him in her arms, she finishes sizing him up. “He looks like himself” she finally pronounces matter of factly; this, after naming all the relatives, one by one, and looking for something in his face that resembles whichever family member she is thinking of. With each child born into the family this ritual is performed over and over again by grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, even strangers.
Meanwhile, as this current round of analysis goes on, I sit in a chair just behind my mother and look at the face of my little son. He has blue eyes that (see, here I go) look like his mom’s, and they smile as much as his mouth does when he is happy. Really, his whole body smiles- his legs kick, arms flail, eyes sparkle, body wiggles, and- of course- his mouth smiles- tongue out- with little happy noises emanating from deep down inside that come out as little squeals, ooo’s, and awww’s. I grin to myself as my dad, who had been sitting on the couch next to my mom, begins marveling at the strength and athleticism of the child. (He did a little back flip for us)
This handsome little three-month old is my fifth child, so I have already participated in this necessary and important ceremony over and over again with my older children. I think it is all just a part of welcoming a new friend into the world- since babies can’t talk- we have to come up with another way to connect with them. Thinking of loved ones and comparing the baby to that person must, in some way, help us connect with the new arrival. Or, maybe because we all share the same DNA, it’s fun to look for a part of yourself in the face that makes somebody else a special and unique person.