I wake up in her room, alone. She was up several times in the night, which is what she’s doing right now, and her Mom and Dad are rallying hardcore, doing life every day on very little sleep. I can hear her babbling from next door, her parents’ bedroom. I get up and go into their room where they are both lying on their backs, using one arm to cover their faces and one arm to keep her from falling off the bed, and I see them and I think oh yeah, I KNOW THIS FEELING.
She looks up at me bright eyed and bushy tailed, fingers in her mouth, smiling all bald like she is. To her parents I whisper, “Let’s see if she’ll let me take her. Sleep,” and scoop her up. She says, “Mama!” and we slip out into the living room to find distractions.
She is one of the first babies I’ve ever met who hasn’t LOVED ME pretty immediately. I have loved babies my whole life, as a kid was called a mother hen, and they’ve always loved me back! I am actually really good with babies. But this one, this one I’ve got to work for. She tends to look at me most of the time like I’m from outer space – like, who the hell is this crazy person who kind of looks like my dad? She is also at the age where she just wants Mom and Dad, so I enjoy little moments with her here and there, but I mostly give her space and try not to force things.
One of the things I thought might help with the creature from outer space issue is if she knew what to call me, what I WAS. Tara is hard for a new talker to say – and there really isn’t a good nickname, so she hasn’t connected me to it yet. I could tell it confused her, not to know what word meant ME. She has a few words like kitty, baby, mama, and dada, so after some ABC book reading and breakfast we sat on the couch and I tried to get her to say Auntie.
Okay … maybe T. (nope).
Hmm Auntie T? (crickets)
auntie t… teetee. TeeTee? (she raises her eyebrows)
I’m TEETEE, Ellie!
And she looks at me like, OH! THAT’S RIGHT YOU ARE TEETEE, points and says, “TeeTee!”
And then I died, content with the knowledge that yep, I still got it.