Holding Finn last night, he scrutinized the van dyke beard on my chin. He reached out and touched it, again and again, clumsily running his fingers through my hair.

It took me a second to realize what he was doing. Reaching! Controlling his movements so that he could examine something! Making a physical connection to me.

This has been the richest joy of parenting so far: noticing when new little abilities and interests come online for him. Realizing that I mean something to him is a bonus.

I sure do love that kid!

I was up early feeding him yesterday, about 4 or so. I had him cradled in one arm and was holding the bottle in the other hand. He reached out with his right hand and found my pinkie finger, on the hand holding the bottle. He squeezed it tightly and pulled, as if moving the bottle closer to his mouth.

I thought, wow, his dexterity has really improved in the last couple of weeks.

Then his left hand found the bottle. He slid his hand down the bottle until he found my thumb. Again, he squeezed it tightly while also squeezing my pinkie finger.

I burst into tears. It seemed like he was trying to connect to me. It seemed like he was trying to tell me that he knew I was there. It seemed like he was trying to tell me he relied on me.

It was beautiful. So beautiful.

I saw my son’s first smile. It was amazing.

It occurred during a visit from our friends Dan and Jenny. Taya had just finished nursing him and had turned him around so they could see his face. I was standing with them and that’s when he smiled — while looking at them.

I’ve never before seen anyone’s first smile. I’m so glad I was there.

Finn smiles a lot while sleeping, but this was the first one while his eyes were open. I’m sure someone out there might be eager to tell me that it wasn’t really a smile, but the expression of gas or something. To them I say: shut up.

I had just seen “I Walked with a Zombie,” a movie from the 40s. There was a scene where the main character visits a maid with a new baby and he smiles at her. They said that she was going to be a very important person in to him; that the first person a baby smiles at will be his friend for life. It was nice that they were who he smiled for.