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Simon has been working on cutting his central and lateral incisors (the front four teeth) for over a week now, and it has resulted in some fussy, uncomfortable days and some board books with chewed up corners. Friday night I finally saw the culprits-four tiny icebergs just about to break through the gummy surface-when Simon opened wide to laugh at something. His entire upper gum line appeared tender and swollen, and I felt real sympathy for him.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, though, Friday and Saturday Simon had a holiday from the discomforts of teething and had really good days. He played quite a bit, squealing with delight whenever the cats crossed his path, and he ate and slept well, too. He also repeated the new trick he mastered Thursday, putting the toy stacking rings back onto their cylinder holder.

The capper to Friday came at its very end. Matt and I had Simon on the bed with us for some quiet, pre-bed playtime, and I bent over to rub noses. “Eskimo kisses!” I declared. He giggled. So I did it again. And he giggled again. We repeated this exact scenario over and over until he giggled in anticipation of my bumping my biggish nose against his tiny upturned one. I had no idea he could laugh for that long.

I kept waiting for the giggling to turn into pre-sleep crying because typically, regardless of how good a day he’s had, Simon has a short burst of fussiness just before he goes to sleep. He becomes antsy and uncoordinated, rubbing his eyes and changing positions frequently until he finally gets comfortable and settles into a quiet, pre-sleep state.

But Friday night, once he tired of all the giggling, Simon turned on his side and quietly stared at me. In turn, I got on my side facing him and stared back, my face a mere inch or so from his. Simon lay completely still, held my gaze for ages, breathed his hot baby breath onto my face, and reached out to pat my cheek. Then his eyes got heavy, a sleepy grin stretched over his face, and the hand on my cheek dropped to the bed. He was asleep seconds later.

That half hour or so was unbearably sweet. I think it was the sense that Simon wasn’t so much enjoying our game as he was just enjoying me that made it so wonderful. Usually Simon is happy in active, energetic ways; he’s happy because he’s having fun. Friday night I think I witnessed happiness that stemmed from a profound contentment and sense of security. Whatever it was, it left me with a warm glow and made me drift off with a happy, sleepy smile on my face, too.

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