Dawn

In the final hour of blackness, before the shutters of our bedroom are illuminated pale blue by summer’s early dawn, we’re awoken by an unmistakable cry.

“DaddEEEEEEE! MommEEEEEE!!”

Shit, I think. And for once, I was sleeping so well. I hear weeping through the wall, and the sound of my own heartbeat, now racing. We pray that he will fall back asleep unassisted. But we should be so lucky.

In solidarity, we rise together, sandy eyed both. Speech represents wakefulness. Noiselessly, step by step and hand in hand, we make our way across the house, determined to deter morning’s inevitable arrival.

One light switch is turned to its minimum setting, and in the murky darkness, a diaper is quietly changed. Pajamas are reapplied. Then, tiny arms cling to each of us in turn, as we eagerly collect our hard-earned gratuity.

We trace our footsteps back to bed. Heads hit pillows, accompanied by sighs of relief. Thank God, it’s still dark out. We can go back to sleep. 

Or can we? Having been disturbed once, the pre-dawn quietude seems too good to be true. Although two sets of eyelids have eased gratefully closed, four ears remain peeled for whimpers.

The smallest sound causes anxiety. Is that him?? No, just something outside… I reach for sleep, and feel it approaching, only to be pushed away again by the noises of the house. This pattern is repeated endlessly until finally, peace draws me in, and I embrace it.

“MommEEEEEE!!! DaddEEEEE!!!”

There’s no denying it this time; it’s light outside. And so begins our Sunday morning.

Identity

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Little Dude’s new creative writing project is proving to be lots of fun for both of us, so it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write in my own voice. Things are as hectic as ever over here in stay-at-home dad land; Wifey’s back to weekly travel, and, well, HOLY SHIT WE’RE MOVING TO CHINA IN SIX WEEKS!

So yes, there’s that.

None of this, however, seems to have had much of a dampening effect on the miniature boss man who rules my world. Just this morning, in fact, we hit a new milestone. While siting there enjoying breakfast, he looked at me and quite clearly spoke his own name.

“Wait a minute… did you just say your name??” He grinned from ear to ear, and repeated it. I grabbed my iPhone and immediately started shooting video.

“Hey, little guy, what’s your name?” There it was again, with another face-splitting smirk. Yup, he knows his own name. And words have meaning at this age – he’s no longer just trying out new sounds. So it’s both exciting and scary to witness; as his self-identity begins to develop, I can only imagine how it’s going to affect his (already hearty) sense of independence.

Now I’m really in for it.