I would like to go ahead and get together a little petition for some of us sign that will effectively ban the word “moist” from the English language, or at least from the conversational English new immigrants are learning. I have lost count (not that I spent much time trying to count) the number of times I was forced to say this abomination last Thanksgiving week. It’s just that my dang relatives make some really moist food. Moist dressing, moist corn bread, moist yeast rolls, moist cakes, moist pies, moist anything. And since I rarely eat foods that are “moist” (due to my stringent anti-baking policy), I never have use for it, or the word “dry” in that particular context — which somehow also bothers me. Unfortunately, there’s just NOT another word that means “moist.” Don’t believe me? Go ahead and tell me my angel food cake is “wet” or “damp” or “intensely hydrated” and see if I take it as a compliment. Wait. I don’t bake. Nevermind.
The other word I hate is “dialog” when used as a verb. And contrary to “moist” there are plenty of other perfectly acceptable options like “flippity-flap your jaw.” If you don’t agree, we can dialog about this later offline. (Doesn’t that just fly all over you?)
But that’s not really what I want to talk about today. I’m just stalling because the following is a little unnerving.
It was basically a case of Drew reverting back to babydom last night that made me go “woa nelly” just a little bit. It was sort of sweet and sort of scary and just a little reminiscent of a British TV show I saw recently wherein a seven-year-old was still taking nips at her mother’s breasts after school each day. The kid was a fourth-grader, or whatever the British equivalent is of “way too old to breastfeed.”
The barf bags are located in the seat pocket in front of you.
I had just finished nursing Thing Two and at Drew’s request had placed her on the floor in her infant lounger (please tell me you have one if you own a baby) and was cuddling with Drew on the couch while we watched TV. I was holding Drew like an infant in a playful embrace, his head in the crook of my arm, his big moony face staring up into mine like a lovesick cherub. “Baby,” he cooed.
“You’re my baby!” I sighed, equally lovesick. “My BIG baby. My BIG BABY BOY!”
“Eat?” he chirped.
“Eat?” I queried.
And then he grabbed my boob.
In that moment a few thoughts sprang to life: 1. How sad it was that somewhere back there it had become no longer OK for Drew to interact with The Twins in the same way. Or in any way. Ever. Again. I wasn’t sure when that inevitable milestone had passed but was certain that it had most certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, passed. Which led to the thought of 2. He really isn’t a baby anymore. Woa. Sad. And then (if a bit belated):
3. Ewwwww!! Major appropriateness FAIL!!
Don’t get me wrong, there are many things about the infant stage I would like to detach and sneak into the neighbor’s garage sale, like doctor’s appointments every two months and multiple ear infections. But there’s nothing richer than the sweet snorting of a baby who is nuzzling, looking for food; who settles in and proceeds over the months to grow into a big-warm-fuzzy-soft dollop of gooey baby brie cheese. Give me a cracker and a glass of pinot and stick a fork in me I’m done!
But Drew is three. We’re a little beyond that. Now I’m teaching him about hard things, things unrelated to 8-oz bottles or boobs. Like how he might die if a car hits him in the street.
He had asked to see the newly decorated lamppost across from our house and had jerked his hand away from mine at the curb. I looked deep into those exquisite hazel eyes and told him the cars could hurt him and that he was never EVER to go into the street without holding my hand.
“Cars hurt you,” he said. “Cry.”
A few minutes passed and we were playing golf in the front yard. He was whacking the plastic ball like a drunken Lee Trevino. It was around 5 o’clock and car after car was turning up our street as neighbors arrived home from work.
“Yook, mama,” said Drew, “Here comes a Hurt You.” The car was a two-door white sedan.
I don’t think Drew has a future in marketing, but I could be wrong.
Taking note of how brilliantly the pain and death motivation had worked, I employed it again later that evening while we brushed his teeth.
“Drew, we have to use Mommy and Daddy’s toothpaste because your toothpaste is all gone. But you can’t swallow it. This is grown up toothpaste. It might HURT you.”
And he proceeded to spit every 0.008 seconds as I tried to get the brush in edgewise.
(I’m really not above fear mongering or propaganda shilling, just in case that wasn’t clear. If you’re more of a “positive reinforcement” kind of parent, all I can say is jump in, the water’s fine.)
After the toothpaste spitting, we went into Drew’s room and sat in front of his window to look at the stars — a new ritual we’ve started. I opened the blinds and we stared.
“Where’s the moon?” he asked.
“I don’t see it.”
He ran over to his bedside table lamp, turned it on and ran back, thinking it would help us find the moon in the night sky. You know, because lamps help us find things.
My heart ached because I wanted his logic to be rewarded, but when he realized the moon was still missing, he shrugged, ran back over to the lamp and clicked it off. Suddenly he was beside me again and then was sitting in my lap.
We stared up.
His head smelled like cinnamon. His bony bottom fit just perfectly in the cross-section of my knees. He was calm for once, like a slinky resting upright. And I discovered my eyes were just a little bit…moist.
Let’s try that again.
My eyes were just a little bit…intensely hydrated.
That’s better. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving week too.
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