The other day, my 10-month-old daughter punched a unicorn in the face.
Her mother was playing with her in the nursery with some stuffed animals. Anj held up the horned toy. My daughter grinned at it, giggled, and got it with a right cross.
This surprised us, but it shouldn’t have. One of Sparrow’s favorite things to do with her softer toys is to slam them together. She also did the same thing recently, in her high chair, with a couple of shrimps. Then she ate them.
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We’re pretty sure she got this love of roughness from watching football on television. Whenever an NFL game would come on, she was glued to the screen. The first time she said “Mama!” was just after the Super Bowl ended.
Our friend Evan was holding Sparrow and teasing her. She put up with this as long as there was football to be seen. Once that was over, she wanted relief and trusted Anj to deliver.
Like most other people in the country, we have been sheltering in place for going on two months now. My wife does her full-time sales job out of the guest bedroom. I fit in writing in the other rooms, when I can. It’s not ideal. Frankly, it’s driving us a little nuts.
But — and this is a really important but — we’re both spending more time with our daughter than we would have otherwise. That has been a wonderful opportunity made possible by this world-shrinking pandemic.
Here’s the great thing about babies that you’ll see when you’re paying attention: They’re more of a person every day. Their brains and bodies grow rapidly. They make mental and physical leaps that are hard to fathom. They go from being almost inert and helpless to little terrors, tugging at everything in reach, practically overnight.
They’re a mix of mother and father, and so in them we see ourselves. Sometimes more clearly than when we do those things. Sparrow is very growly. “She gets that from you,” Anj says. She also wants to go out and meet everyone she lays eyes on. “Like her mother,” I say. And then we have to go hold her back.
Jeremy Lott once punched a blow-up clown display.
Editor’s Note: How are you spending your time amid the coronavirus shutdown? Please send contributions of 250–400 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.