Rafael is teething and miserable.
When he's miserable, he cries.
He will stand two feet from you and cry inconsolably. He will not be distracted by your paltry toys; your marbles; your shiny coins; your songs; your jewelry. He'll keep on crying because he wants you to pick him up, and let's be frank: He'll get what he wants. You're going to pick him up, aren't you? He can smell it.
Then you'll pick him up and he'll stop crying. You'll start to feel sheepish. You'll talk with him a bit, make him laugh, and after a minute or two you'll put him down.
And watch him cry.
So you'll pick him up again. He's gotten heavier in the last few months, hasn't he?
You'll carry him. You'll walk around your house. You'll make a mental list of all the things that need doing. You'll notice the things out of place, the dust, the dishes to do. You'll resolve to ignore all that. He's not crying right now and that's enough for you.
Then you'll realize you've got to go to the bathroom.
A-a-a-and, he's fallen asleep, hasn't he? What will you do?
You'll hold it.
You'll hold your pee and you'll like it, won't you? You'll count your blessings if you are allowed, after ten minutes or so, to e-e-e-ease your butt onto the couch. But then he'll start sleep-crying -- that eyes squeezed shut, flailing arm thing -- so you'll pat his back rhythmically. You might also bob your knee. You'll beg Oscar, in an increasingly hissy whisper, to bring you a book. Or a magazine. Or your phone.
Twenty minutes later, you'll realize that one of your arms is asleep, not that you dare to move.
Also, you're thirsty.
You'll ask Oscar to bring you a glass of water, then ask him if he knows how to help you drink it. You'll marvel at how calm and resourceful a four-year-old can be. As he holds the glass to your lips, you'll remember that you never got to go to the bathroom. Will you care?
Well, yes and no.
Because he's sleeping on you, that sweet, sweaty boy. His hair is sticking up all over his head. You've achieved the baby schlump. What would any red-blooded American adult do in your place? Soak it in.
The crazy thing is, Rafael's less and less of a baby every day. Here are some things I love about him right now:
- Like many babies, he loves music. He's actually been on a Clash kick for some time. His favorite songs are: London Calling, Tommy Gun, 1977, I'm So Bored with the USA, Janie Jones, White Riot, and Rudie Can't Fail. Incidentally, he keeps an impressive beat with his head.
- His vocabulary is exploding, and it's hilarious listening to him talk because his voice is so high and many of the consonant sounds are wrong, but he's making sense. Unless you live with him, you might not immediately grasp that "nahm" means phone, "nohf" means nurse, and "bupbupbup" means up, but no matter. Listening to him say Casso for "Picasso," however, while pointing at the Picasso finger puppet, is pretty darn clear and a kick in the pants every time.
- When he gets a little hurt, he will lie face-down on the floor for about thirty seconds. He will not respond to your questions. Then, if you ask him if he's okay, he will stand up, say, "Yeah," and go on about his business as if nothing's happened.
- Ditto if you say "no" to him in a certain tone of voice. If he is already seated, he will look down, unmoving, as though he's hoping to disappear on the spot. It's, well, heartbreaking.
- He'll do anything that Oscar does. Yikes.
- He likes pasta, crackers, beans, beets, grapes, strawberries, cheese, and the white part of a hardboiled egg. He adores cookies (cooookeeee!) He does not care for avocados. He will spit out anything he doesn't like anywhere, any time, on anyone. No warning. Just blehhhh, right out of his mouth.
- When he's not teething, he often prefers not to be carried. He will crawl up and down the stairs by himself, thank you very much. He will walk to his side of the car. If you let him, he'll take you on a long loop of the neighborhood, up and down some steep Seattle hills, walking the whole time. Another thing I've learned: There are times Rafa won't deign to hold my hand, but he never refuses to hold Oscar's. Brotherhood is powerful, yo.