It’s tea time. Let’s get you some tea with lemon and honey, darling. Yummy! Hand in hand, we walk to the kitchen, my son B. and me. He takes a sip from his bottle, puckering his lips. Shall we try the old sippy cup again? He shakes his head. For some reason, it never grew on him. He prefers the new one. But this time he wants the one I drink from. I take the lid off, giving him his plastic cup back. He’s holding it. I’m assisting. Smiling reassuringly, he takes a couple of sips but starts to cough. I tap his back gently as he throws the cup down, watching it hit the ground with a thud and roll across the kitchen floor.
He runs away. He wants me to chase him. We chase around. I run after him, hiding my face behind my hands and peeking out at him when he least expects it. I see you, Peekaboo.
Hide and seek, don’t you peek, count to 10, then we’ll see if you can’t find me. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…He hides under the drying rack, nearly knocking it over. It startles me but luckily I’m close enough to catch it just in time. It’s potty time. I turn on the music – our Super Simple Songs. He loves them; mommy and daddy do too. While seated, he’ll play with his toy cups, nesting one colorful cup into another. He’s been sitting still for a quarter of an hour. The potty’s empty. The time’s not right. Later, in his diapers, where it’s nice and warm.
I’m hungry. I put the cheese spread on the cracker. B. wants some. He spits it out. I clean after him. I go back to chewing. He keeps looking at me with his big brown eyes, squealing like a bunny. Surprisingly (or not), this time he’ll eat it up. Would you like some jelly? Yuck! He puts his fingers in his mouth, wiping them against his newly washed T-shirt. Oops! I forgot the bib again and we’re short of hankies. I wipe his mouth with my hand. B. hates having his face wiped. He glares at me, his cheeks flushing. I take him by the hand, humming a nursery rhyme as we enter the bedroom. We take off his shirt together. He begins to fidget. He needs some cuddling. We share a moment. Closing my eyes, I sniff him as the mommy bear sniffs her cub. I love how he smells. I put my arms around him and cuddle him close. He’s warm and tender. I caress his head and kiss his neck. He opens his mouth wide as if for a bite. We’re overjoyed. We change his clothes and diapers; he cooperates.
Back in the kitchen, I’ll put away the dishes. What do you have in your mouth? B’s frowning, looking rather perplexed. His face changes all the colors of the rainbow. He runs into the living room and back into the kitchen. My hands are wet. I am putting my index and middle fingers inside his mouth, moving them around, feeling his teeth, his tongue and palate. Something tiny is stuck behind his lower central incisors. I take it out. It’s a chili pepper seed. A moment of recollection: I am eating dinner. I take a good bite of a red hot chilly paper; it’s so juicy that it bursts open. I see a small seed fall down. B’s sleeping. I’ll pick it up later…
I give him water and honey. It’s no use. Cookies. Jelly. More jelly. He sheds a tear. I tickle his stomach lightly. Though causing discomfort, he is smiling. A moment later, he opens his mouth as wide as he can and bursts into tears. Hey, hey, it’s ok baby. Everything’s gonna be ok. We’ve gone to great lengths to get that smile going. My positive mood is still on. It needs to be. He starts laughing. We’re good.