Sophie and Ben did just fine without me. Maybe I ought to be jealous, but I’m not. I’m thrilled and relieved. He helped soothe her to sleep when she woke in the middle of the night on Friday, he fed her huge meals (they discovered goldfish crackers), he didn’t even forget the sunscreen, he packed more diapers & spare clothes & healthy food for their outings than I’ve ever seen, and he did all this so well that she actually slept through the night on Saturday night. That is a minor miracle.

She was her happy playful self when I returned, just a little clingy and nursing every hour, despite my secret hope that my two-and-a-half-day absence might have weaned her.

She’s got whole new words now. At tonight’s bath, she kept pointing to body parts and asking, “That?” I was taken aback: I haven’t yet thought out whether I’m going to teach her to say “breast” or “boob” or “nipple” or what. She proudly told me the body-part-words she’s learned so far: nose, eyes, mouth, hat (her word for the top of the head), bellybutton, and “my butt.” Yes, while I was gone, my daughter learned to say “my butt.”

She’s also got new habits. Apparently, it’s a new pre-bath ritual that she sits on her baby toilet and actually uses it. But Ben didn’t think to mention that he had successfully started toilet-training. It wasn’t a big deal, to him. So, with me, tonight, she decided that instead of the circle of her plastic toilet, she’d just sit in the circle of her toy train tracks and pee there. One circle-seat is interchangeable for the other, in her mind. She was a little dismayed at how wet she got in her toy train tracks.  She has now hugely raised my hopes to toilet-train her soon.

I can’t believe how much could change while I was gone only two nights. I’m impressed with her and Ben. 

And it was a great conference. It connected me to useful professional resources, reconnected me to old friends, and inspired me: just what conferences are supposed to do, but usually fall short of. This conference also gave me the chance to stroll around the old route 66 in Albuquerque, and eat good green chile. And, at least three times during the conference, people whom I don’t know well approached me to thank me for things I don’t remember doing. A very nice conference.


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