Yeah, I guess I’m gonna go ahead and talk about my experience of the visit. I am the awkwardest, but, I mean, heck. Shoot. My kid came to visit.
Cricket is amazingly huge and chatty and funny, and bossy in a going-to-be-five kind of way. The hands down best thing about the visit was seeing how much better he’s doing than he was on the last visit; Nora is warm and attentive and patient, and Cricket is clearly thriving in her custody. He is also, like, the onliest child who ever onlied, which is mostly cute: On the long car ride to the beach, Kit [rear facing] kept cheerfully putting his feet on Cricket [forward facing]. Kit has figured out, see, that this is a great way to get [grumpy] attention from other people. Cricket would say “Stoooop! Dad [Nora], make him stop!” And Nora would explain that babies just do that kind of thing—and then Kit would put his foot on Cricket’s shoulder again and shout “Staw!” Because apparently it is the custom to shout stop when feet are applied to shoulders, and Kit is a drooly cultural anthropologist. Cricket still has no idea of how to deal with smaller kids, but Nora’s guidance meant that he was always gentle and careful, even when the other two were being toddler levels of unreasonable or baffling.
I was thrilled to learn that Cricket likes comic books—I, too, like comic books—and took him and Nora to the friendly local comics shop. It turns out that Nora has mostly [apparently unknowingly] been getting him DC comics, so I bought him a kid-friendly Marvel comic; I’ve always been a Marvel fan, myself.
I wasn’t alone with Cricket at any point, but never expected to be, and so wasn’t disappointed. This visit felt very much like probation; Nora wouldn’t tell us what airport they were flying into or what city they were staying in, and we met only in public places. But it went pretty well, I think, and Nora certainly expressed to me that they had had a good time and hope to stay longer on the next visit. And my parents and I clearly enjoyed Cricket without obviously pining for him or acting possessive or anything, which is the sort of attention I like to see paid to Joey and Kit, so maybe Nora enjoys having it directed at Cricket. I don’t think Cricket cared much about me one way or the other (although he was clearly interested in his brothers), but then, at the very end of the visit, he asked Nora to take a picture of the two of us together. I liked that a whole lot.