So you think you know your kid, right? I mean, you’ve been with him 92% of his life. The other 8% was spent at a babysitter’s, the church nursery, and grandma’s. And 20% of that time, he spent sleeping. So really, only 6.4% of his life has been spent awake and away from you. Every other minute, he’s been with you. Awake, asleep, eating, playing, with you. You know him best.
You know his likes, his dislikes, and all his habits. And you can imagine that the 6.4% of his life that you’re away and he’s awake is very similar to the time when he’s with you. I mean, you know him. You really really do.
Then a day comes when you realize that you actually don’t. All this time, he’s been leading a double life. At least during part of that 6.4% of time, he has. Your 2-year-old boy has a whole other life that you know nothing about.
Let me explain…
Today when I got to Bev’s house to pick up the kids, Jacob was sitting on the ground drinking milk from a sippy cup. He looked up at me and said something about a ba-ba. I thought he was teasing and joked, “Is that your ba-ba?”
He smiled big and giggled. “Noooo…” he says.
“That’s right,” I say, “you’re a big boy. You don’t need a ba-ba.”
Bev looks at me. “You don’t give him a bottle?”
Surprised, I look at her. “No. Not for about a year now. Why? Do you?”
She smiles and starts to giggle. “Um, yeah… Then how do you put him down for a nap?”
“I just lay him in his crib. He plays and talks and goes to sleep. Why? What do you do?”
“I rock him. And give him a bottle. He cries for a ‘ba-ba’ if I don’t. And if I give him a bottle and don’t rock him, he cries to be rocked.”
“Really?? He cries for a ba-ba? And to be rocked???”
I say, “So, he gets a bottle. Do you warm it up?”
She nods again.
We both look at Jacob, still sitting on the floor with a sippy cup. He’s been watching this whole conversation. I say to him, “So… Jacob… You get a bottle at Bev’s house before you’ll go to sleep?”
That kid, my kid, the one I know so well, looks up at us with the biggest accomplished (yet somewhat sheepish) grin, and I’m certain he let out a little “heh, heh.”
“Jacob,” I continue, “do you ask Bev to rock you when you go to sleep every day?”
Same big grin. Same knowing giggle.
Hello, wool. I see you’ve met eyes. My eyes. And Bev’s. Apparently, you’ve been pulled over them for some time now.
Last spring, just after he turned one, we stopped giving the boy bottles. All summer long with me, he didn’t get a bottle. Back to Bev’s in the fall, and he started getting them. Asking for them. Oh yeah, and he decided he didn’t know how to go to sleep on his own but needed to be rocked.
Not to mention, he has never asked for a ba-ba anywhere else. Not at church. Not at Gramma’s. Not to anyone. In fact, when playing with and feeding his sister’s dolls, he doesn’t even call them ba-bas. He gives the baby a “bottle.” Aaaannnnndd, he and I have even joked about baby-ish stuff. Like, I tip him back in my arms and say to him, “Go to sweep my wittle baby. Do you want your wittle ba-ba?” And he laughs and says in his baby-est voice, “Ma-ma. Ba-ba. Ba-ba.” And we laugh and laugh, because he’s really a big boy. A big boy that actually says “bottle,” talks in full sentences, and plays jokes. And hasn’t had a ba-ba for a year.
The boy led a double-life. Big boy at home, baby at Bev’s. He’s just two, but it worked for an entire school year.
Today, he was busted. Wish him luck tomorrow.
And then wish me luck for the next 16 years.