Eve has discovered her fingers. She sucks them in her sleep, when I peek at her before tiptoeing to the bathroom in the dark cold of 5 am. She sleeps in her room now, in the crib we bought and assembled in our living room. Limbs akimbo, draped in warm cotton: I love her tiny pajamas, enclosing her delicate frame with snaps and zippers, decorated with all of the pink hearts and frills we swore we wouldn't allow in the house. It's cute, and like, whatever. I adore the routine, pulling errant arms and wayward legs into submission, blowing bubbles on her round tummy. Warm washcloth, almond oil: she'll even let me clip her fingernails, if she can watch the Baby Einstein puppets while I snip. Her grin is blazing, radiant; a far cry from the hesitant lip curls she offered weeks ago. She screeches now, shrill and throaty, and every time, we scan her face with worry, searching for pain, a tear. But she is happy. She is playing with the sounds she's found, and so we just laugh with her.
We spread sheets on the rug and set her loose, surrounding her with friends: Wormy, Olivia, her squashy Hello Baby book that contains no words, just concentric circles and vivid patterns. Her raspberry pacifier that she chews with puzzled determination. She rolls and scoots, rolls and scoots, grabs and pulls and bites, every object within her reach brought inexorably to her hungry mouth. She gnaws endlessly: on her hands, her toys, her clothes, my fingers, desperate to soothe tender gums, ready to sprout. She watched me eat dinner tonight, eyes wide, mouth flopped open in an easy smile. "Are you looking at me?" I teased, and her body shook with mirth, eyes aglow.
I was sort of watching Master of None, but mostly watching her, abandoning the couch to lay beside her on the ground, whispering to her in a reminiscent stream of consciousness about missed flights and bus rides and a sleepy Barcelona and the dark streets I wheeled heavy suitcases down to find my friends, as the minutes ticked toward my twenty-first birthday. She listened, watching me with heady-lidded eyes, sprawled on her back as I lay on my side, rain beating staccatos against the window as her blinking slowed and drifted into sleep. Netflix asked me, Are you still watching?, sensing my distraction, and I ignored the prompt, preferring to watch Eve, so content and soft beside me, sucking on her fingers.