The visit went pretty well. Best news first, the car went over tremendously with the kid. I tore the wrapping paper for him, but he wasn’t really able to figure out what needed to happen next, so he looked up at me and signed <help> <please>. I was charmed. “Of course, Cricket, I’d love to help you get this open!” When I had the car clear of its packaging, I handed it to Cricket—he immediately zoomed it along the floor, and thereafter alternated carrying it around and pushing it across the rug. Ruth said that it was a timely pick, that he’s been trying to push all his toys around recently. So, for the record, his first boyish toy came from us. From me, really. Mr. Book hadn’t even seen it; I tried to talk to him about it ahead of time, but he seemed to find that painful and I desisted. In terms of languages of love, I am the only one of the four of us who has this need to express love with gifts.
I didn’t play with him much; I was more reserved than I had hoped to be. At one point, late in the visit, it was suggested that one of us might read to him. My husband said that I should do it, and I actually panicked. I was trying to hide it behind a jokey sort of façade, but failed pretty completely. Nora read to him. I had three pieces of direct contact with him: I pretended to eat a toy horse for his amusement in the car; he sat in my lap for a bit during dinner; and when he was in the bath, I horsed around with him a bit. I know it looks bad, and I know that Ruth and Nora noticed.
He’s walking now, that funny, shuffling toddler walk; he’s signing clearly, although his signs are somewhat self-created. We went to a park, and there were some college students tossing a football around—Cricket was fascinated, and wanted badly to play. Nora tells me that he’ll be starting soccer this summer. He’s feeding himself expertly, although solely with his hands; I don’t know why, but I had subconsciously expected him to be using a utensil sometimes. Ruth tells me that he’s had a couple of tantrums, so true toddlerhood can’t be far away. While we were still at their house, I (quietly) made my husband promise that we’d never have to come back.
We’ve got two more visits vaguely scheduled: they’ll come here in a month or two, then we’ll go there a month or two later. But right now I am pretending that we won’t have any more visits. In some ways, I hate them. I should be writing a post-visit email to Ruth, being chatting and asking her for a date in April or May, but I’m not. I haven’t been feeling fantastic—nothing interesting, just acid reflux and nausea on and on and on—and am using that as an excuse, but it ain’t a great one. Always before, I have emailed her within 24 hours after a visit.
I imagine I’ll be talking about the visit all week. It’s on my mind. I wish that we’d gotten some pictures, but Ruth and Nora have a camera; we don’t. They brought it with us when we went out, but I don’t think they actually took any pictures, and I didn’t feel comfortable saying “Hey, we haven’t seen him in months, he’s walking and different and I’d love to have pictures of this.” I hate having to ask for things.