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Around The Sun: Precious Infant

In straight-from-the-heart words Steve Harrison expresses the total joy of being the father of a beautiful infant – even when sleep becomes a distant memory during the long night watches.

So here it is, 4 o’clock in the morning, and I am holding this very precious infant in my arms, trying, while she feeds, burps, releases gasses and other unmentionable substances, to get her to go to sleep.

I want to go to sleep. She doesn’t.

During the day she sleeps like…well like what she is – a baby. In the evening she comes to life. I guess after nine months in the dark embryonic waters of her mothers womb the night is her closer friend.

To describe this small infant is like trying to paint a portrait of a chameleon. One second she is looking straight into my eyes as though we were engaged in a deep conversation about the meaning of life. She stares at me with a keen intelligence, wide eyes full of understanding, I’m talk to her softly in English. None of this baby talk stuff for her. She is nodding her head in perfect time, as if considering every word I say while weighing up a reply.

Her skin is pale. Her eyes twinkle like a thousand stars, looking directly into mine. Then in a split second the mood changes. She becomes flushed and dark, like a blood vessel about to burst. Her eyes dart in all directions, staring, bulging. Then comes that shriek - like a vampire in the night.

Okay, begin routine procedure. Nappy – dry. Bottle – in mouth. Bedding - warm and comfortable. Maybe a little water needed?

My little finger now finds its true function. Ever wondered why you have a pinky? It’s for moments like this. Now, at this moment, the pinky is the perfect comforter.

She sucks as if this is a teat of promise. Then comes the realisation that this lifeline is a link to her father. Her eyes glaze over. Her skin lightens. She seems to settle. I am in ecstasy, enjoying a few moments of calm.

Finally, when I think she is asleep, I place her on her pillow, tuck in her blanket and lean back to admire her. In an instant she springs back to wakefulness, her eyes again darting everywhere.

Now she stretches, a 2-year-old beauty queen in a skin that has been exposed to the outside world for less than six weeks. She throws a fist in the air, then the other arm, then a leg, followed by the other leg. She is trying to be a butterfly, striving desperately to shake off her chrysalis and take to the air. She wants to be a debutant, on her way to the ball, but she is 18 years too early for that.

Now a hand tugs an arm, as though trying to get it to grow.

I think of the future. Where will we both be a year from now. Five years? Fifteen? Will I be sitting up worrying, waiting for her to come home, wondering where she is?

Forget the future. Ignore tiredness. These are special moments. This child needs my protection. Is safe in my care. Cherish this time together.

Precious time. Precious infant.

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