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“It is the peak of baby.”

Newborns don’t speak. One year olds are closer to little children than little bundles. The exact midpoint, the six-month period, is the best time of babyhood.

“Wait until she turns six months old,” I’ve told people. “The beginning is fun, but that’s the age when it all comes together.” I knew it, I believed it, I saw the pictures of our first child around the key point in her infancy, yet it is always amazing to experience.

Noelle has been smiling and laughing for a few months, now. In fact, she is actually one of the happiest babies I have been around. Sometimes, it takes nothing more than a simple look in her direction to send her into a giddy glee, and every time her delicious cheeks swell, so does my heart.

I can, indeed, confirm that the use of the adjective ‘delicious’ is not hyperbole. I eat them. Daily. And I am sustained by her cheeks.

Apparently, she is, too.

So inclined to consume the most adorable part of her tiny being, I ate her face once. Then twice. When I went back for dessert, she was ready.

In fact, she was excited.

A child’s laughter truly is as magical as people say. Earning that laughter through any action is thoroughly rewarding. In fact, tickles would otherwise be considered an act of torture if not for a baby’s obvious desire for more.

Sometimes, it seems like an accident. Like the baby is clearly enjoying the moment, but unsure of why or how. Placing myself in the role of a tiny infant, I could imagine daydreaming about milk or stuffed animals or the universe’s dark matter, only to be jolted into elation by a giant face eating my own. I can’t image it’s desirable, but her actions tell me differently.

It was at this moment when I stopped to take a breath and gauge the situation. Had I eaten enough of her cheeks? I wasn’t hungry, per se, but I enjoy recreational snacking. With the added caveat that my meal was another human being, I waited for a reaction that I don’t typically receive from my meals.

Noelle stretched out her little, muscleless arms – baby arms are hysterical in the sense that they move as one giant unit without the use of elbows, flail around as if they have actual importance, yet struggle to do anything with ease. The touch of her hand on my face caused me to look down into a pair of eyes so strikingly similar to Tina’s that I would consider them identical if not for my eye color.

I looked down at the sweet face staring back at me, smiling. Smiling and waiting.

More in disbelief than confusion, I tested my theory by inching towards her face slowly, then eating more of my meal. The beautiful sound reached my ears and I backed away, beaming. Again, so was she.

Six months ago, I held this little girl’s hand minutes after she was born. I fawned over her incredibly swollen, yet adorable cheeks. I stayed up an extra hour or two to watch hockey with her or play a video game as she bounced in the carrier on my chest. I had waited, knowing that most of my actions would be lost into an abyss for nearly half a year.

As sudden as the brush of five little fingers on my own cheek, Noelle and I had turned a corner and seen the rest of the world in front of us. I looked down at her, smiled, and was overcome with the simplest of thoughts.

My little girl – my littlest girl – is playing with me.

Each baby has his or her own personality. Watching this develop is one of the great joys of parenthood. Through no doing of our own, Tina and I have already been blessed with two incredible daughters that carry their own separate strengths. For Noelle, her personality is as clear as the everlasting smile on her face.

I knew the day would come, but still was taken aback with excitement as I realized the moment was upon me. For over a year, I was aware that we would be a family of four. For six months, exactly, I was learning about the newest addition to our family. For weeks, I was enjoying every smile and laugh. I had enjoyed an infant.

Now, I’m about to enjoy a baby.

Phases, stages, and time have no concerns about the desires of parents, yet we still have our preferences. Some want to fly through the first year, while others dread toddlers. Unfortunately, a side effect to a baby’s magical powers is his or her rapid growth. Despite the months and milestones, they all go too fast.

Six months go too fast.

That is, until we arrive at the destination. Now that Noelle is here, at her “baby peak,” there’s nothing more to do than enjoy it.

Happy Six Months, Ellie!