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Our baby is not as little as we always thought. His size is a kind of parody of our own size – which immediately makes him seem bigger, without making us seem smaller. The subject of size can be easily confusing to us. We would have no objection to a measure that would reassure us in this matter (such as a reliable metric ruler). We are intimately familiar with our size, and are fond of knowing it, and yet this fond familiarity is easily confused by a baby (we remember, it was never easy to measure our baby, he didn’t want to stretch out to accommodate our tape measure, as if there was a natural resistance to this endeavor). Perhaps, our baby says (with a voice we have never heard before), you should try it with my weight. And indeed our baby’s weight has doubled since his birth! But what exactly are we supposed to try with it?

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We take pictures of our baby (like everyone), many pictures, it’s easy to take them, it doesn’t require any skill or artistry, it’s effortless, almost automatic. When we look at the pictures then, joy, pride, and happiness don’t exactly dissipate, but the pictures feel false to us, untrue. As if they were on the wrong side. We are unable to harmonize their multiplicity with the one image we carry inside us, an image which we nevertheless feel it would be inappropriate  (vain and mistaken) to call singular. Maybe what we carry inside us is not an image, we think before grasping our baby under his arms, holding him in front of us and looking at him.

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What the child is, is not the baby. The two have a different nature. The difference is not as great as the baby’s difference from us, but it is a basic difference (sometimes we think that babies have no nature of their own, which is why they sometimes seem so vastly withdrawn from us). Thus little children who live in our house come to visit the baby, toy with him, squeeze him, lift him up, carry him around; they neither ask nor hesitate, they are close to the baby and want to be close to him (and for them, being close always means being close with their own bodies); and yet this closeness comes to a sudden end; from one moment to the next the children leave the baby in peace and remove themselves from his sphere. This is something the children can and are permitted to do: to leave the sphere of closeness (they are after all so close to babies). We, the most distant, on the other hand, stay (staying close, after all, is our practice).

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Is that our baby (on this radiant fall day) rolling in the fallen leaves that lightly and softly cover the earth? An intimate radiance: the radiance of sky (blue), the radiance of leaves in the trees (brown, yellow, orange), the radiance of foliage around the stems (in pretty layered hues). Strongest of all is the radiance on the ground, down there (is that our baby rolling about there?) the light of the leaves is a simple revelation: here is the passage for him who wants to rise. There is our baby, rolling about. How easily we lose sight of him in the light.

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It seems to us that we can see, hear, and feel what the baby sees and hears and feels. We know this is a mistaken notion but find it difficult to rid ourselves of the illusion. Maybe it’s because we are in the same place as the baby or in his immediate proximity. But it may be that our senses have met in the strange communion that is found in the great moments of love. Or else the baby shows, in his marvelously complex simplicity, that the separate moments of seeing, hearing, and feeling are based on the even greater misapprehension that we are no longer babies and have outgrown the state of infancy without any remaining traces, adult ghosts who no longer know how to communicate through the senses. (Our baby is rolling something in his hand, holds it up, and calls out to us.)

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How nonchalantly the baby accepts what we do and what world we live in. A beautiful world, a good world, he has no objection, knows no „againsting.“ He takes whatever comes his way, does not distinguish between useful and useless. His optimism is unbroken, he does not even reject the culture of unhappiness (nor does he have anything against riding in a bus. When we look out the back window, all things vanish as if in a funnel. When we look ahead, past the driver, we are approaching an edgeless plane on which now, now, and now one thing after another arises anew). At the next stop out baby smiles so seductively again. This kind of thing is infectuous: more and more, we find ourselves unwilling to see anything bad or ugly.

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Is our baby trying to abscond? Does he want to get away from us? Or does his attempt (intention, wish) to cross the threshold by himself and reach the hallway have nothing to do with us? Casually we remember: in the beginning the baby was only with us (with you, with me) or stayed where we left him (but it wasn’t a staying, he was always at one with wherever he happened to be). Now our baby wants to get away. It costs him great effort and gives him equally great pleasure. He is struggling, has to struggle. But it has nothing to do with us, we would like to think, and we believe that and don’t believe it. And then the baby comes back to us.