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How intimate is the mutual trust we share with our baby! We (the baby, you and I) have only been together for a few days, so it seems to us, and at the same time it feels like an eternity. It is a torment for our mind, because it cannot get a grasp of this trust and its temporal circumstances. We are forced to acknowledge that we are in close contact with a beyond to which alone our (happy) presence in this world owes all its splendor. The baby is our intermediary between this side and beyond, because he (still) belongs to both worlds. He simply lives their unison, and this simplicity, we feel, holds the secret of all trust, all intimacy – a secret that is as easy to unveil as a baby’s behind.

 

 

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What a colossus our baby is! The way he sits there on the floor, huge, impossible to pick up. For a few moments (which can take a long time) he shows us his true (amiably frightening) size. He looms far above us. We tiny little people, we featherweights, we say to each other, laughing, as we crowd around our baby (though we are only two), in search of his shadow as well as his light. Our baby giant, we call out, how could we have ever imagined that we were carrying him around, when, if anything, it is he who carries us! And so, in this ebullience, we feel ourselves carried when our baby stretches his arms in the air and we lift him up and carry him about, from here to there, in the certainty that we are not mistaken.

 

 

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Our baby’s gaze has been occupying us for a long time, always (yes, it occupies us, exacts hard inner work from us, sometimes even gets us to notice how hard we are working. It could be, we think, that we are employed by our baby’s gaze even more than we are by the baby himself). We take note of our tendency (weakness) to placate, downplay, simplify (or complicate) our baby’s gaze. For this tendency strikes us (me more than you) as quite possibly disastrous, as though a mistaken apprehension of his gaze were the ground for all other mistakes (that we might commit). It is simply not easy to look into each other’s eyes without declaring anything to be invalid. Even face to face with such a little, great master as he is.

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Our baby’s gaze has tipped over to the other side (ours?), we take note of it instantly, as though we had expected, or at least surmised, that it would happen. Not-knowing is looking at us! Not this or that not-knowing this or that (but yes, maybe that too). Our baby’s knowing look (delivered with a glance, just like that) is something we’re already used to, now we are almost disappointed. We don’t ask, where does this not-knowing come from, is it something we previously overlooked (surely not)? Then we realize (because we are good at being disappointed): this not-knowing look reminds us of our baby’s other look, the wise and understanding look, and of a deep relationship between them: that is what we previously overlooked, or failed to see, expect, surmise! (And now, we wonder, how is the baby looking at us now?)

 

 

 

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There it is again, our baby’s pure and noble sleep-face (how can we call it anything but holy, when that is so self-evident). It is immaculate, of exemplary composure, without desire (from outside – it is noon – the sounds of the city barge into the room, but in front of his face they abruptly come to a halt). We cannot take hold of this face. Our eyes try to do so first, then our memory: with equal futility (here, in this wanting, is its source). It is hard for us, and, we think, what else can we do but turn toward what is less pure, less holy, toward the unholy? A glance at our baby’s hand as it opens, releasing the tiny teddy bear (having held it for nearly an hour), keeps us, for now, from making that mistake. Turning back to his face (pure, noble, holy, unchanged), there is nothing more to regret. Maybe now would be a good time for that mistake (or we could confidently postpone it till later).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I too am a mother, I think (a soundless thought, which I would prefer to keep to myself, because at times I am an anxious thinker who imagines a furious retort, laughter, or a haughty understanding. Yes, soundless, that enables one to keep secret as well the pleasure of thinking soundless thoughts). I too am a mother: with my help the baby has settled down to sleep, his head and shoulders supported by small pillow I placed over my left arm, his body lying across my belly, covered by the old woolen blanket, held by my other arm. Sometimes he dips his head deeper into the crook of my arm, as if he wanted to disappear there. Growing more tired, he turns his head back, his lips form an O, and deliberately he pushes out air, until he suddenly shuts his eyes and becomes still. After a while I look down and see my sleeping child. 

 

 

 

 

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Is our baby compatible with this world? Can he fit in? Does the world comply with him? It does not escape our notice that we habitually view the world with reservation. We doubt its goodness. Don’t consider it the best of all possible worlds. Judge it with anger, presumption, arrogance. Think: if they would only let us, our world would be more beautiful. Would be more just. Friendlier and more refined. Its impenetrability would be our program. Flowering and withering would be equivalent. There would be no distinctions which we could not distinguish. In this world one could find one’s way everywhere, and if one couldn’t, it would be just as well. It would be a world of peace and noise with regular lunch breaks (two or three hours). A world where things and ourselves would be indistinguishable. (Our baby is tearing at our hair. We have gotten our worlds confused. We accidentally slipped into our baby’s world. It wasn’t hard.)