A while ago I suggested that all newborn babies are ugly – and, while I can take a step back, look at this objectively, and continue to agree with this statement (after all, my daughter looks like Popeye when she has wind), I’m still in that phase where I’m all loved up and think my daughter is the sexiest baby on the planet. Especially when she gets her legs out.
That photograph was the fifth or sixth I took of Jemima at that moment: not because I am so obsessed with her that I want my mobile phone gallery to be a raft of photos of exactly the same thing, but because the majority of photos I take pretty awful. It makes me facepalm. And when I facepalm, she facepalms.
And so I’m going to expand on my original ‘ugly baby’ statement, and say this: that, at any given millisecond in time babies are ugly, but when you put all these ugly moments together you get something really quite beautiful. It’s the little things: the slow clench and unclench of a fist; the way she kisses my cheek when she wants a feed and thinks the side of my face is a boob; and that when she tilts her head back to reveal her little baby neck, chin and jawline I find myself wanting to munch her little face off.
The best bit is when she falls asleep on my chest. I freakin’ love that, and am making the most of it whilst I can, because pretty soon she’ll be too big and grown up to want to. Every now and then I’ll try to cuddle my 2 year-old in such a manner; he takes it as an invitation to fight, and ends up beating the heck out of me. And the eldest (5) just whinges that I’m in the way of the TV. I haven’t dared ask my wife to sleep on my chest yet; I think she, like Noah, will just assume I’m inviting a play-fight, and – in my experience – they always end in tears. One day, Jess. One day I’ll be strong enough to beat you.