I love my baby and his little hands. I outline each finger, admiring how meticulously manicured his nails look. I draw circles in his palm, and he reacts by closing his fists. I observe that he mostly keeps his hands shut tightly, as if he isn’t ready to receive all of the gifts that life has to offer. Time passes and those hands start to open up. They open enough to grasp my pinky finger. Even more time passes and he touches textures while we play, and he caresses my skin while we nurse. His little hands are growing and becoming more curious. And then one day he is no longer just curious about the feeling of carpet, toys, and skin. He furrows his brow and examines his right hand as if to say, “I see you, hand. Now let’s see what you can do.” His hands are wide open in the days that follow. He thrusts his arms and grabs the bright colored animals that hang from his chair. He swats the air and smacks the ground. Pulls (my) hair and scratches (his) skin. Pushes up on all fours, pulls himself up to stand. He does all of these things with those little hands. I watch as he picks up a piece of kiwi with his thumb and forefinger. He pinches it carefully. Purposefully brings the food to his mouth and chomps down. I think these little hands are starting to impress him.
He knows what these little hands can do on their own, but today he brought his little hands together. He claps for the first time. Such a small gesture, but such an exciting one! Tonight he fell asleep with hands clasped together in front of him, as if in prayer. Hands are used for acheiving things, but when brought together, they can also be used to help quiet the mind. My 9 month old teaches me a lot of lessons.