A few weeks ago I watched as
Cam worked out how his hands work.
It was fascinating to watch, the tiny fingers opening wide, then closing into a fist, over and over again,
Cam’s bright blue eyes watching with an intense concentration. That was level one.
Level two came shortly afterwards, little digits opening and closing independently of each other. From a fist to a flat palm, one finger at a time. Wonder in his eyes at this new ability.
Just as I do every time he does something new, I felt an overflow of pride and excitement.
It was short lived.
Because, it transpires, level three of the development of dextrousness is “The Grab”.
The Grab is Cameron’s new trick, and I don’t like it.
Want to take Cameron away from his Rainforest Gym play mat? No. The Grab means he’s clinging onto the hanging parrot toy and Freddy Firefly with the sort of grim determination I’d expect to see when being dragged to the electric chair.
The Grab means he is now able to wait until we think he’s just about to drop off to sleep, before curling his fingers around his dummy and deftly removing it from his mouth, followed up by a triumphant smile and newfound alertness.
Oh yes, The Grab is truly a great development in the arsenal of weapons at our baby’s disposal. It’s most devastating deployment though? The one which truly puts fear into my soul? His Streetfighter 2 style special move?
The Chest Hair Grab.
What begins as a lovely skin to skin cuddle, a pairing of father and infant son in unmatched closeness, descends with lightning quick rapidity into an infliction of pain.
There is no warning, no chance of taking evasive action. The first you know of The Chest Hair Grab is the sharp stab of pain spreading outward from ground zero.
Clever too. You try to pull away and The Grab inflicts more pain than if you’d just stayed still. Like a crocodile clamping down on its prey, then letting the victim’s struggles do the real damage, it is as perfect as it is simple.
You have no-one to blame but yourself for that fetching new bald spot on your chest. You battle with the shame of knowing that you have been defeated by a baby. This is the changing of the guard. The apprentice becoming the master. The end of your run as Alpha male.
Then he lets go, and smiles, and you forget it all.