Every morning my 18-month-old’s half-talking and half-singing in English/Chinese/Spanish combo gibberish accompanied her as she tossed her body on our bedrock-like bodies. She’d roll over us on her back, pressing one of her cheeks on my face, playfully biting us the way frisky kittens do and finally … starting to slide off our bed – the most powerful tact to get us jump out of the covers in case she’d fall and hurt herself. And then while we quickly grab a diaper, she dashed toward the door with glee, arms in the air.
Thus we started our mornings, her face bright-eyed with an ear-to-ear grin, with an ongoing happy chatters, and ours trying to shake off the grogginess and doting on as we poured ourselves the strong coffee required in this household.
The bye-byes were unhappy occasions, until we instituted the “one-kiss” ceremony. After I pecked Daddy’s and her lips, she would then be content to watch me leave for work.
Her time at the daycare has largely been a black box for us. We were relieved when we were able to transfer her from the daycare with the most impressive facility and aloof staff (who’d call me in midmorning telling me that they’d given her the last bottle) to the small family daycare. However, we’d never gotten more information than: “She’s fine. She ate the lunch.” In comparison though, it’s not much different from the “She had a great day!” note (despite the tear streaks still on her face when I picked her up) we got from the previous daycare. This constitutes part of my anguish as a working mother.
And then finally we came home from our separate days. For a couple of hours before dinner we played the tupperware covers, bright yellow stickies, old infant shoes, slippers, daddy’s socks and retired cellphones, leaving the legitimate toys to collect dust on their shelves. Then daddy had to bribe the little one to other rooms, so I can scour the faint memories in my brain as to what nutritious meals I can make for my family with every member’s taste in consideration.
After dinner was the bath time. By the time the little one was breathing evenly in the land of dreams, my brain was skipping tracks like an old vinyl record. And once again, we lived another 24 hours.