On the spectrum that is parenting, I like to consider myself fairly liberal. heh. I do my best to keep Grey out of the dog dish, but I'm not stressing over the half pound of dog food he sneakily ate two days ago. I'll brush off the visible dog hair from the cracker he threw on the floor before giving it right back to him to finish eating. [Note: I will proudly admit that I am, however, totally conservative and slightly manical about his sleep schedule]. And the most obvious example of my liberal parenting is that I left my 11 month old for 2 whole weeks and only "talked" to him on the phone TWO TIMES. in two weeks. I know. I can hear mothers round the world gasping in unison. But I am proud that my husband and I did that together. I'm happy that Grey had the opportunity to spend a whole week being spoiled stinking rotten with each set of his grandparents.
But we're still booboo's parents and 2 weeks is a very long time to not see your child's smiling face.
We did great; B and me. We giggled and flirted and made inappropriate jokes and said all the really bad curse words and didn't worry about drinking too much and slept on trains and didn't take showers for days at a time. And all along the way we would say things like, I wonder what booboo's doing? And, We need to bring booboo back here someday; he would love these elephants. But we were still okay.
And then we got to the second Tuesday and we woke up with an ache in our chests. It had been too long since seeing his tiny teeth in his mouth. And too long since smelling that sweet baby smell that hides in babies' necks and hair. And too long since having his little hand grip the back of our shirts when we carry him on our hips.
And even though we were at the beach (for goodness sakes!) we still couldn't shake the booboo ache. We had two too many margaritas at lunch and that helped ease the booboo ache, but it was still there. We went to the pool and the couple sitting next to us had their 14month old son that looked creepily similar to booboo (with his curly hair and little nose) splashing in the water happily. We got delicious Thai food at a hole in the wall restaurant outside the bus station and a little boy was laughing hysterically (just like booboo) across the street. Booboo was everywhere. He was in the playful smacks the little girl on the bus was giving to her mom's lap. He was in the sweet soft hair on the head of the baby that his mother was so carefully cradling in the train station.
At one point on Wednesday, I said to B, I don't want you to think that I'm not having fun, because I seriously am. I love being here with you, its just that I really miss booboo. But that's not something you have to explain to another parent, because he gave me this look that said, i know, me too and then we both sighed and held hands on the beach.
When we finally got back to booboo, he was big. Not just physically taller and had more wild hair than when we left. But BIG. I could see right away from his new facial expressions. I guess it was happening little by little before we had left, but the difference was so noticeable after being away for 2 weeks. He had changed from baby to child. The change is this: before we left, he was still looking at me with this face like, mumma what can i do to make you smile? i love everything that you do because you are my mumma. And now I get all kinds of faces from him, like: i can hear you saying no, but i'm going to do it anyway. dare you to try and stop me face. And watch me do this! face. Or, don't help me, I can do it by myself face. Sometimes I look at him now and I swear I can see what he'll look like when he's 8 years old...and once this week when I was making him get out of the tub before he wanted to, I exaggerate not, he looked at me with the face of a 17 year old and I thought, good Lord, this little shit is going to be the end of me.
I looked to Brandon the other night and said, he's not a baby anymore; he's a child now. do you see his face; its different. And again, he looked at me like, i know, because that's not something you have to explain to a daddy.
My only saving grace is that even though booboo is not a little mummie-pleasing-i'll-look-at-you-with-only-love-and-admiration-in-my-eyes baby, he still smells like one. So until that smell disappears, (and please, Mary; Mother in Heaven, let that day be light years from now), I am going to bury my face in his neck and inhale until I am dizzy.