Leaning into life

“Slytherin Baby has discovered boys,” I informed Himself.

Himself whipped his head around. “Do I need to get involved and do some protecting?”

“On one hand, he probably does needs protecting; on the other hand, Hufflepuff Kid needs to learn to stick up for himself.”

We all know that moms babies need to socialise and see others of their own kind and generally not be reclusive shut-ins who endlessly sing nursery rhymes who have nursery rhymes endlessly sung to them. So I encourage the neighbourhood Hufflepuff Kid to bring his mom and visit Slytherin Baby.

Hufflepuff Kid was born to be a surfer. Everything from his white-blond hair to his incredibly wide smile to his general air of chill just begs to one day be sitting on a beach with a surfboard and a gaggle of adoring fans.

He already practises his chill charm when I plonk him down on one corner of the lounge mat and hand him a stuffed dinosaur. He flashes me a wide, gummy smile as he gently tugs on the tail of the dinosaur and my heart melts.

I placed Slytherin Baby on the opposite side of the mat with her own toys because I am they are not ready to deal with the whole “sharing” thing.

“… whether it be eating, fighting sleep, shaking her toys or showing affection, Slytherin Baby leans completely into life.”

Slytherin Baby took the stuffed rabbit I gave her, yanked on its ear, gave it an experimental shake, shot me a dirty look and threw it away in favour of a rattle. It was while she was hitting her teddy with the rattle that she looked up and noticed Hufflepuff Kid gently shaking his dinosaur. For a moment she contemplated him; then with an excited squeak, she threw herself forward and, in an uncharacteristically coordinated move, caught herself before she faceplanted, then she twisted, turned and turned again with a grace she did not normally display and landed up in front of Hufflepuff Kid, who looked politely terrified. With a delighted squeal, she reached and grabbed his hair, looking around at me proudly, as if to say, “Look what I got!”

Slytherin Baby with Hufflepuff Kid

“No, no, no!” I told her as I rushed to save Hufflepuff Kid from her grabby little hands. “That’s not how you chase boys,” I explained as I disentangled her fingers from his hair.

“Rawh dwa!” she exclaimed indignantly.

“You can chase them,” I replied, “but you can’t just grab them.” Hufflepuff Kid smiled his thanks.

I have a feeling I will be having a variation of this talk a lot with Slytherin Baby over the years. The thing is, Slytherin Baby does not do anything by half measures, whether it be eating, fighting sleep, shaking her toys or showing affection, Slytherin Baby leans completely into life.

When Slytherin Baby doesn’t want to do something, she screams, arches, screws up her face and generally does her best Linda Blair impersonation. But when she’s happy, she’s equally demonstrative. She has the sort of smile that lights up a room and the kind of laugh that makes you want to double-check if she’s laughing or if a teddy bear is being tortured.

She’s equally enthusiastic when she shows affection. Having been born with a mop of hair and a ridiculously kissable face, Slytherin Baby has learned that when you want to show love or affection or general approval, you run your fingers through someone’s hair or you put your mouth against their cheek. But Slytherin Baby does not just put her fingers in your hair in some wimpy attempt to show vague approval; no, she hooks her little fingers into your hair and yanks in an unbridled display of deep affection.

Amy Lalouette with her daughter, Slytherin Baby
Mom Amy with Slytherin Baby

Similarly, not for Slytherin Baby is the weak sauce version of kissing where you gently place your closed mouth in the vague vicinity of a cheek. No, Slytherin Baby lunges for you and smacks her wide-open mouth against your face – the more gob, the more love.

“Somehow I don’t see you sitting at home on Saturday nights for the rest of your life waiting for a boy to call you,” I murmured to my baby as I rocked her to sleep that night. Slytherin Baby stopped trying to climb over the back of the rocker to grab the gecko on the wall and reached out to pull my hair.

“I know,” I told her, as I kissed her check. “I love you too.”

amy-lalouette-mommys-off-her-medsAmy Lalouette lives with Himself (her very patient husband) and Slytherin Baby. By day she’s an English teacher and by night she reads, writes, holds murder mystery parties and does belly dancing. Unfortunately, all this interferes with her lifelong ambition to have a spotless house and an empty laundry basket! She records her experiences (and confusion) of pregnancy and being a first-time parent on her personal blog “Mommy’s Off her Meds”.