The visit went pretty well. Ruth and Nora are really pretty laidback around us now, which is good—on that very first visit, when he was five months old, they were really obviously waiting for us to do something crazy. It made a weird day extra surreal. These days, now that we have a proven track record, they seem cheerful and relaxed at visits. There was a weird moment at the end when I asked (in a carefully casual sort of way) if they knew when they’d like to have another visit (usually we have this conversation at the end and they give us some suggestions—this time, not so much), but overall they seemed fine. The biggest differences this time, I think, were me and Cricket.
Cricket is running around, talking, and totally into everything. I want to thank everyone who gave me toy suggestions way back when; everything in the toy bin got pulled out and played with, and he went back to each toy more than once. Of course, he also really enjoyed playing with the KitchenAid accessories. He also pulled out a book I’d put in there (That’s Not My Dinosaur) and handed it to me, then kind of hung around glancing at me for a minute. Ruth noticed and said “I’m sure Mama Susie would let you sit in her lap and read the book to you” while sort of checking with me, and after that he handed me the book, sat in my lap, and was read to at least for times over the next few hours. He chased the Mister and got the Mister to chase him back, and he ran back and forth kissing the two of us at one point. He also ate the food I made—his moms were astonished to see him scarfing down the salsas I made, neither of them mild. I hear them exclaiming over the fact that he was eating these vegetables (tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers) and so happy about it! This made me feel secretly vindicated in my “babies like flavor, too!” beliefs.
This was the first visit where I didn’t sit awkwardly on the other side of the room avoiding Cricket. Some of that was of course him—he was more than happy to run over and hand me a dump truck over and over again, I would have had to shut myself in a closet to effectively avoid him—and I think some of it was the camera. We met up at a park, and when he was going to go run around in the fountain, I followed along so that I could get pictures of him. I’ve never had a better excuse to stalk along behind a small child! After the visit, my husband kept telling me how much better I’d done, which is both neat and kind of pathetic—how awkward and spooky must I have been before for acting relatively normal around Cricket to be such an achievement? (Okay, I already knew: pretty darn awkward and spooky.)