Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magical Moment 4, "Nose"

I sat on the couch with my 9 month old nephew cradled in my arms. I stared at his face with a wonder and amazement reserved for observing only the finest works of art. His light, smooth skin seemed the result of a painter who perfected the shade with a dab of this color and that color until the outcome was a creamy peach with a hint of rose. The artist brushed the delicate paint over the perfectly sculpted contours of his plump cheeks and tiny round nose. And for eyes, only the bluest and largest sapphires would do, framed by soft strands of golden silk.

As I held the bottle in his mouth, he contently stared back into my eyes, his glistening black pupils jutting about to the different areas of my face. It seemed like he was waiting to have a conversation, I just had to start it.

Using the couch armrest for support, I curled my left arm farther around him, freeing my right hand. I raised my right index finger and pointed at my nose. “Nose?” I said with a bit of a question in my voice. “Nose.” I said, more certain this time. I put my hand back down to steady the bottle. I tried again. Using my finger to point, I repeated, “Nose.” For the next several minutes, I showed him my nose. He was smitten. Intrigued by the new game, his eyes followed my finger up and down and he waited with bated breath for me to confirm that was in fact, my nose.

I was excited to think that maybe after a few more bottle feedings with Aunt Beth, he just may be able to declare to the world the whereabouts of his very first learned facial feature. And although the idea seemed too good to ever come to reality and much too far into the future, I pressed on with the lesson.

I put the bottle down and sat him facing me on my lap. “Nose.” I said. This time I didn’t point. “Where’s my…NOSE?” I waited for his response. I was about to ask again when I saw the inner workings of his mind begin to tick. He stared intently in silence, carefully processing all the new information and then with his chubby little fingers he reached for my hand. My first impulse was to correct him. That wasn’t my nose that’s my hand. But something kept me from vocalizing this. He curled his fingers around my finger and I felt him pull with all his strength. He lifted my finger up and smashed it right into my...“NOSE!!!!” For a split second, he blinked, startled by my sudden rejoicing and then he broke into a wide grin displaying his toothless smile in pride. "Oh sweetie, that's my nose!" I gushed as I pulled him for a hug of congratulations.

It was the very first thing I ever taught my baby nephew. Next, the piano!