Pick 4

His smell. Sharp and sweet. I inhale it as I draw his sleeping body toward me, gently disturbing him to begin the day.
His toes. Little pearls of flesh and nail. Running my finger along their bottoms they curl into a smile and retreat.
But I hang on. And tug them back to me, cradling their wonder in the cup of my hand.
His honesty. Big butts. Sagging faces. Torn socks. Colored skin. Proclamations made aloud, proclamations unhindered.
His kisses. Puffs of affection reluctantly given, though eagerly sought. Pecks that graze the surface, masking a deep love.
His bottom. Curved, chubby, round. It bounces on the bed, it floats in the bathtub, it pokes up to form a tent beneath the pirate sheets.
His tears. Salty puddles of innocence unearthed too easily, overflowing like a tempest, cracking my heart. Halted by a chocolate.
His open-mindedness. Plates match, socks match, pillows match, neighbors match too. Siblings that don’t match? Beautiful.
His hair. Infused with twigs, patches of paint, glitter, glue, grass. A small window into his day, the knots in his hair tell all.
His embrace. Tailored to my body, the outline of chest and stomach form-fitting to maternal breasts and belly.
Twig arms squeeze bent neck, burning head rests on broad shoulder.
His toes (again). Peeking out beneath the red blanket. Wiggling with contentment. Winking back into the warmth.
His need. A presence at my backside, tugging on my shirt. A presence by my thigh, pulling on my arm.
A presence in front of me, demanding an ear. A body running and jumping into my unsuspecting arms.
His Danger Zone. That delicate membrane of skin beneath the shoulder and under the arm. A graze of the fingers and my child is helpless.
His determination. The red juice is everywhere, it spills past the fallen cup, across the table, in flowing battalions onto the floor and into the carpet.
Yet still he pours, trying to get it right.
His fists. Curled in petulance. Striking out. Balls of fury by his sides. Gripped. Unfurled. Kissed. Nibbled.
His eyelashes. At first nonexistent. Now lush. A field of standing sentinels ready to protect, wink, kiss a cheek.
His morning breath. Sour, but like a flower. Emanating from pursed lips, chips of white beneath the surface. An entire life yet to be lived.
His dreams. Raptors. Superheroes. Castles in the sand. Legos. Motorcycles. Sidewalks without end.
His guilelessness. A pout at dinner, head turned side to side, lips refusing all entry.
Pout turns to pride as finger points to food carefully ensconced in napkin.
His feet. Pressing against me as a pair. Big toe next to big toe, outline and ankles aligned.
Together they find my lap and stretch against an assured bulwark of security.
His lack of boundaries. Bathroom doors pushed open, hands slipped across breasts, drawers explored,
purses upturned, closets disassembled, papers strewn, curiosities irrepressed.
His fidgets. His irrepressible squirms, his multiple movements, his frenetic, energetic, tics. He is Prince of Fidgetland!
His kindness. Without words a proffered arm, a gift. Small fingers touch small fingers and a toy finds a new home.
Why? Because she needed it more.
His nose. Flared in fury. Limned in an angry red. Leaking disregarded snot. Blowing frustration and determination.
His intelligence. Day by day it gathers, grains stored for later, patterns recognized incognito, until a flash bursts forth, stunning his parents into silence.
His voice. Ioooumoom. I ooo yo mum. I wuv you moomy. I wov you mommy. I love you mommy.
His arms. Long and thin. Breakable as twigs, smooth as steel, bending, straightening, posturing with an en guard!
Wrapped around the cat, hidden beneath soap suds, prickly with goose bumps, changing every day.
His skin. Softer than butter. Thinner than paper. So clear, so perfect, so vital. Ear to chest a world beats beneath.
It burns, but heals. It protects, yet tears. It covers, yet remains forever exposed.
His extremes. I love you, to a babysitter. I hate you, to a teacher. Die, to a stuffed bear. Marry me, to a stranger. You’re a princess, mommy.
His neck. Three fat fingers tall. Slender, with a bony curve on either side. Unattended, unsuspecting, unprepared for the incoming ticklish mustache kiss.
His snuffles. His sniffles. His snot. Burning head, parched lips, a loving embrace eagerly sought.
His essence. Light, dark, stormy. The cracking thunder has quieted. The length of his body vibrates against mine.
Watching the rain and breathing deep, absorbing every inch of him into my being.
His elbow. Just because.