What Do Babies See?

Trying hard to not rock the tan microsuede chair while Evelyn eats, I know it will only encourage sleep when she should be nourishing her rapidly growing body. Her blue eyes track my face, studying my own azure gaze, my mouth moving as I talk nonsense to her, my nose flaring as I fight back a sneeze. Her pensive stare obscures the wordless thoughts that must be flashing through her ever-growing brain. Neurons firing, connections building, it’s as if her brain expands as I watch her finish the last drop of milk from the stubborn bottle nipple.

Trying to coax the trapped air bubble from her ping pong ball-sized tummy, her tiny bottom fits securely on one of my thighs. At first, a sour face, followed by a soft wail, emanates from her twisted lips. With a reddened appearance, she protests the light pats and rubbing circles on her back. As the air rises to its ultimate escape, she calms. Her eyes lift. She watches the wooden-framed archway that leads back into the living room. I move her head to the side, her tranquil eyes fix on that spot, refusing to relinquish the gaze. wpid-imag0987.jpg

Her chosen site is too far for her baby eyes to focus; I wonder what she sees. With her senses growing and developing, perhaps Evelyn’s greatest gift is a perception of energy we cannot see nor smell nor hear. My imagination wanders as a vision of her big sister Sophia emerges, her essence often felt when I have Evelyn with me. Does she sense it too? Can she find the energy? Has she felt Sophia’s tender existence as we did five years ago?

While I have no proof that energy of the deceased exists, homeostasis is a fascinating notion. When one passes, where does the energy go? To the ground? In the air? Or does it simply disappear?

When I look at Evelyn, I see Sophia. Her stubby little nose, her almond-shaped blue eyes, her tiny dimpled chin are all reminiscent of our firstborn. Evelyn’s face transcends me to the day we held our angel, watching her tiny movements and memorizing her miniature features before the nurses took her away.

Day after day, Evelyn watches her spot near the ceiling. Day after day, I watch her watching it. I will never know what she sees, and she’ll never know what I see. Yet, somehow it is this very perception, this very sense, that brings us together as mother and daughter.

Maybe we are seeing the same thing.

Published by lkgaddis

I have been working on this memoir-style project for a while now, and I'm excited to share it with others. My hope is to get as wide an audience as possible, and to receive comments, suggestions, and ideas to improve and expand what I have. I also want to encourage others to become curious about the topic of babies, and the loss that can come with the adventures of trying to start a family. In the world of celebrating healthy babies, we who know otherwise need a voice too.

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