The Peanut sat irritably in her seat, practicing her mind powers on me. I could feel the telepathic messages poking my brainmeats, but wasn’t quite finished with my breakfast, even if she was quite done.
I asked the question aloud that Mr. Cranky-Face and I have been mulling over for some time now, both of us entirely uncertain. “Are you going to be my last baby?”
She smiled at me, displaying two teeth and two nubs, the latter responsible for my lack of sleep and patience for the last week and a half, and also responsible for the drastic reduction in our baby acetaminophen supplies. Both fists waved at me in a silent gesture to get her the hell out of the chair, and surprisingly elastic string of drool connected her damp shirt front and her lower lip. Despite the leak, her face lit up with a smile, delighted to be spoken to. Adorable.
I caved, setting down my cold bagel and fiddling with the mechanism to pull the tray off the chair, then the seat belt. I picked her up, repeating the question. I don’t know why, but when I talk to babies, I generally repeat myself two or three times, just in case they’re taking a really long time to figure out how to reply. “Huh? Are you going to be my very last baby?” If so, I had better enjoy all the good parts of having a baby around. The softness, the trust, the sweet way they get so excited at every little stupid thing you do. Like dogs, only disturbingly clone-like.
As I picked her up, I snuggled her and kissed her pink little cheeks, still warm with a bit of fever. Her curly hair tickled my face, soft and smelling of baby. She turned her head with a grin, thwacking my nose with her huge forehead (courtesy of her father) hard enough to make my eyes water.
While I waited for the sharp pain to subside, she sneezed wetly, blowing snot all over my neck and shirt. Did I mention she had a bit of a head cold when she woke up? Her pants shifted, and something else wafted up to overpower the baby smell.
“…and you have a load in your pants. Awesome.” Days like this, the question is a lot easier to answer.