What You Do Well


Last night, by the time we got home from City Park Jazz and got Soren ready for bed, it was like 9:00. Usually, when it’s past Soren’s bedtime (he doesn’t have an official bedtime; he goes to bed after he indicates he’s tired, which is usually in the 8:00 to 8:30 range), we change his diaper, put him in pajama shorts (or pants if the shorts are all in the laundry), get him a sippy cup of water, and put him in his crib. Last night, I took him into the kitchen to say goodnight to daddy and he pointed to a book and said, “Book!”

Well, that’s cool. When we’re not out past his bedtime, after the diaper change and pajama application and before the sippy cup of water, there is a bedtime story, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is read by Ben or me on alternating nights, more or less. More often than not, though, these days, a few pages in, Soren gets up from story time, takes the book, walks to his bookshelf, and tries to put the book away, which is his way of saying yo, I’ve had enough of this and I’m ready to go to sleep now. Well, that’s cool, too.

So last night when he said book, we had a book. I sat on the couch and he sat on my lap, something that doesn’t happen all the time any more, either (sometimes he’ll just sit next to you and yes, I’m sighing right now, lamenting with sadness the fact that my baby is growing up this fast). We read the book once. We read the book again. I gave him the book because sometimes he likes to turn to random pages and look at pictures. (He also does this thing now where he points to stuff in the book and I tell him what it is. Yesterday, we had a great time with the “brown” page of his colors book, with him pointing and me being all chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, pine cones, bear, bread, feathers, butterfly, mouse, chocolate, pine cones, miniature pinscher (just kidding about that last one — there’s no brown min pin on the brown page, although there without a doubt should be).)

He got up to put that book away but instead of just putting it back on his bookshelf and walking over to his crib, he took another book, went back to the living room, and climbed on the couch. Well, that’s cool. So we read about food and he pointed to milk, bottle, cup, milk, milk, cup, milk, bottle. Then this whole thing happened again with another book. He ended up sitting on my lap on the couch again and even though it was like 1,000 degrees in here, I patted his head and snuggled with him for as long as we both could stand it before melting into the furniture.

It’s been a long time since he’s been that snuggly and I have to tell you, a snuggly kid when a kid isn’t really snuggly any more is the most deliciously wonderful thing in the entire world. He’s thinning out, as toddlers are wont to do, but he still has squishy legs. He has stripey feet from getting tan (even though he’s always slathered with sunscreen) while wearing sandals, just like what happens to his dad while wearing flip flops (and unlike his mom, whose legs are so white they alert traffic to our presence on the road while biking home from City Park Jazz better than the neon-orange bike trailer). He has my hair, fine and smooth, noncommittally sort-of blond. I don’t think he really smells like anything, but maybe he does, in a way that registers only in my mom brain.

I could snuggle with him all day. It’s the one thing in the world that’s better than that second when I walk in the door after a day at work, exhausted and sweaty from running at the gym (my “long” runs are up to 5.7 miles!) and I hear his voice from across the house, getting closer, screaming “Hi! Hi! Hiiiiiii!!!!!!!!” as he runs to the door to, well, say hi.

What I meant to get to here, instead of going on for six hours about my kid sitting in my lap, is that Ben does many things better than I do. Most things, probably. And I’m not even talking shit; I’m totally serious. For example, Ben is way better than I am when it comes to baby wrangling in crowded, non-kid-oriented spaces, like adult parties and City Park Jazz. I tend to get all Coltrane, and by “get all Coltrane” I mean I kind of bug out like a black Lab/border collie mix who really wants to herd everybody he sees but lacks the skills necessary to do so and just ends up barking his head off, running around like a madman, and getting incredibly frustrated until he can go home and sit in his crate where he watches CSPAN and bitches about kids, er, puppies these days. I’m the type who’s always worried about Soren eating a bottle cap, getting bonked in the head by something someone is throwing to someone else and that would all be just fine but for Soren getting all up in their business, annoying people, falling into the lake, throwing gravel in someone’s face, or or or or, well, the possibilities are endless and terrifying. I mean, of course they’re not. Soren’s way past the bottle-cap eating stage and honestly, I just need to chill but sometimes just chilling is hard for me. And it’s always these things I end up thinking about — the things that I’m not really good at, like baby wrangling in the middle of chaos.

You know, though, I need to be a little nicer to myself and think about the things I’m good at, at least some of the time. I’m good at snuggling. And snuggling is important to a kid, I hope. It’s important to brown min pins, too. And that’s something.