Saturday, February 07, 2009

Baby days

I had to go to campus today to retrieve a book I left behind yesterday in my haste to pick up the girls. I took M with me so that J could take E to a Star Wars themed birthday party.

M and I hung out in my office just long enough for me to locate the missing book and to straighten up a few things. (My office is basically out of control at this point in the year, but I find it soothing to rearrange my piles of paperwork, journal articles, and output into neat piles of paperwork, journal articles, and output.) Once I was done shuffling my clutter, we headed out and decided to take a walk through campus as it was a warm and glorious day.

As we walked about, M grasped her stuffed monkey, "Miss Monkey," in one hand and my hand in her other, and we talked. Talked!

"I not cold," she told me.

"Miss Monkey likes peanut butter."

"That 'quirrel runs sooo fast!"

"My name is M M M (saying her full name perfectly)."

"You stay here, Mama, and I run," as she directed me to sit on the steps of our administration building while she ran along the oak lined paths leading to it.

As I was sitting watching her zip by, I realized with a jolt that the baby is gone, replaced by a little girl who likes to jump up and swing high! high! high! and sing loud and chase squirrels and play silly games on the way to school in the morning.

This realization left me a bit unsettled. So I disobeyed orders and left the steps. And as the light filtered through the stately oaks to the brick lined path below, I scooped up my little girl and covered her in kisses. She was still for a moment, and snuggled close, her head resting against my chest, my baby once more.