After a quick shopping trip, Wally and I came in the door at just about 9 this morning to a room where the sun was streaming in and everything looked reasonably clean and very colorful. I felt such a moment of sweeping peace -- Alex's mom hadn't arrived yet, the OT had pushed back her appointment to 9:30, the coffee was already made, and it was the first Friday in three weeks where I wasn't rushing off to another state. Less than an hour earlier it had been decidedly "one of those mornings". Fighting to change Wally's diaper while he was standing up walking around squeezing toothpaste, I told myself that. You just have to allow those mornings. Just like you have to sometimes be "that family". Just like you have to be okay with the terrible, no good, very bad days that happen even in Australia. By 8 a.m. there had already been broken glass, bare feet, Cheerios dumped on the floor, bad moods, lost keys, the realization that we were out of milk, out of juice, and the odious task of carrying two enormous spilling bags of recycling in the packed, rush-hour elevator with a screaming 2-year-old kicking furiously in close range of everyone's shins. Our neighbor Tall Paul gave me sympathetic looks on the way down. "Can't tell him to act his age," he said, "Cause he is."
Wally screamed and bucked around in the stroller until we got to 7th avenue, and there he inexplicably calmed down before I gave him dried peaches to eat (why he prefers fruit dry, I don't know -- it's annoying and not as healthy, but...). Important to make sure they calm down before you give food, right? You can't give it to them to cheer them up, but it's so tempting sometimes. Anyway he was just in the best mood after that. Enjoying the sun and clear fall air. Doing his little joke when I ask him if he's cold (he never seems to be, and always appears underdressed to others). When I ask he shakes very quickly as if to appear cold. It's a little game we have. I guess he probably just does it because I laugh every time. I hope no one is reading this thinking, Lady, maybe he really is cold. Trust me, he's not. Strangers asking, "Did you forget his shoes?" Nope, didn't forget them, just didn't see a need for an extra struggle this morning simply to avoid strangers asking me if I forgot his shoes.
In the line at the grocery we were standing next to a guy with his daughter, a bit younger than Wally. She was beautiful and very sweet, but Wally kept grabbing her hand in what I worried might have been too boisterous a way. (It's never the babies themselves who mind, but rather their parents.) Since Wally has so much mobility in his stroller, he can really tug at other kids at his level. So anyway, I said, "Wally, be gentle" and the dad pulled the little girl out of reach saying, "Wally, you lost your chance to play with Skylar."
I think he was sort of kidding. But I couldn't tell. Normally it would have bothered me. I would have felt a mix of hurt, embarrassed and annoyed. I would have wanted to know: Did you really mean that? But this time it felt so unimportant, so immaterial. Upon Wally's request, I resumed the "ding ding ding" game we'd been doing before Skylar's arrival. All it is is I squeeze Wally's legs saying "ding ding ding" and he bursts out laughing. But the cool thing was it didn't feel like a "F*&k you, we're having a better time without you, see?" It just felt like, wow, this is great. Wally's World is so much fun.
And then back in the apartment I thought about how much I like Wally humming to himself making train sounds, coffee in the morning, lots of empty notebook paper spread out, colorful pens, watering the plants, singing Dinah's in the kitchen --this time with Wally without other people around. I appreciate the therapies so much, and Sueli visiting, and my freelance writing jobs, and the neighborhood moms, and the playgrounds and art and music all around the city. But sometimes I regret how broken up the days have to be. People often ask me why I didn't put Wally in preschool at least a few afternoons a week. But I can't imagine taking any more time away from Wally's World than I already do. It's this little cocoon we have and it won't last long.