Everett is obsessed with shoes. He drags shoes all over the house, so we have to search every room to find the shoes we want to wear, and there are a few shoes whose match is still missing. He is eager to climb stairs. Since there are no stairs in our house, he attempts to climb beds, couches, and toilets as if they were stairs. He is also eager to feed himself, sit in a forward-facing carseat, and pull himself up to standing on whatever surface he can find. I think he’s eager to be older, already. And so he makes a glorious mess.
He gives such sloppy kisses that we have nicknamed him “The Cutest-Ever Zombie Face-Eater,” but the name that still sticks the most is Little Baby Dinosaur. His hair makes a natural Triceratops-mohawk, his little arms wave around like T-Rex’s ferociously useless appendages, and his adorable babbling is still dinosaur-talk, at least if dinos said “Mama” and called their sister “Goo.”
He continues to be adept at flirting. My days are punctuated by people who start chatting and then stop, all of a sudden, to marvel: “Your baby has the most incredible blue eyes.” He also has a tongue that twists in more directions than usual. He’s going to be popular with the ladies.
His sister continues to be adept at inventing games to play with him. Here she is playing baby leapfrog.
He looks oblivious, contentedly amusing himself, but each time she leaps, he giggles.
And here’s Ben, playing his own baby games.
He’s a wonderfully happy baby who is frequently covered with grease from crawling around the floor of our local bike-shop.
I, on the other hand, am starting to feel like a shadow. Evs is up a lot at night, lately, so I’m tired, and then I spend my days following him around, trailing just behind him, keeping him safe. Mothering. Shadowing.
Lately a lot of people have been forgetting my name. “This is Ben’s wife,” people say at parties, introducing me to others. Ben’s friends often call me by Ben’s last name, genially attempting to greet me while covering up the fact that they have entirely forgotten my first name. Ben’s last name isn’t even my name, but how would they know? At most gatherings, I can only say a few sentences to any adult, before following after my kids. It’s not entirely their fault that they forget my name. I’m usually not bothered by being “Sophie’s mom” and “Ben’s wife,” but, lately, it’s been adding to the two-dimensional feeling of just being a shadow. “You know Ben, who I tell so many stories about?” one friend said to his mother. “Well, this is Ben’s wife.”
As Evs becomes more mobile, I know I’ll be shadowing him even more closely, keeping him from tottering off the ladders he is desperate to climb. I’m glad I have my own work, my own writing, my own past, my own name, still — but I need to find more ways to shake this feeling of being a shadow.