I remember the saying was always nine months in, nine months out. Parent your child those first nine months like you would in the womb. Well, now you’ve had *another* nine months out. If someone would’ve told me nine months ago that you were going to be sleeping like you do now (8pm-8/8:30am and usually 1-3/3:30 pm), I would’ve laughed. Actually, come to think of it, I might have cried. Nine months ago we were calling your Gangie to come help us because we were finding my hairbrush in the fridge, my toast in the dresser. Your dad went through an entire day at work with his shirt inside out, that kind of thing. We would put you to bed ridiculously early because the books said this was the only way you could catch up on sleep. But you’d just wake up earlier and earlier. Life got pretty sweet for all of us when we put away those stupid parenting books for good. Sorry it took us so long.
Nine months ago—who am I kidding, even 2 months ago—if someone would’ve told me that you and I would be on our own for 3 days and 2 nights while your father went to NYC for DFW’s memorial service, I would have had a panic attack. But we’re having so much fun together, just you and I. This is the best time, Boudreaux. You’re your own little person now. You still like to be worn in the kitchen while I cook, just like you did in the first nine months. (Your 28 pounds have me lusting after a Learning Tower, however.) But now you can help me rinse the rice and stir the soup. You can tell me that the nanas are yummy and the peas are yucky.
And then you like to get down and cook at your own station. You imitate my chopping with your own wooden knife and veggies, you check under your pots for flames and blow and say, “Hot!” You are no Paris Hilton (though you do like to stick your feet in my high heeled shoes and the other day you smeared my lip gloss all over your face), but this is your favorite word, the only word you can read. At least I’m pretty sure you’re reading it. If I line up your H, O, and T blocks, you say, “Hot!”
Anyway, the other day I was standing at the counter making breakfast, and you laughed and said, “Mama, that is my cereal!” I set the milk down on the counter. I turned around to look at you, smiling behind me, shifting your weight back and forth between your feet, anticipating your meal, pointing your finger at your bowl. And I realized we were here, finally, together in this moment. Things did indeed get better.