I'm in Chicago watching Wiggle while his parents look for housing in Virginia. Not quite 17 months old, he's a total sweetheart. He's so sunny in the morning when he wakes, and he stays sunny all day long. I'm sleeping on a futon in his room, and I hear him talking to himself cheerfully the moment he wakes up, like a little bird, and the moment I roll over and he sees that I'm awake he smiles and gets to his feet in his crib and says brightly, "UP UP UP!" Of course I get up and pick him up. Then I change his diaper and we go out into the apartment for breakfast. While my cup of coffee is brewing he has a banana and a cup of milk, and he chatters away happily as he eats.
Today we read books, worked on puzzles, played games, watered plants, blew bubbles and drew, letters and objects and shapes. We went to the store twice, and he was terrific both times. This afternoon when we got home he ran into the apartment and looked around, and I know he was looking for Alex and Chris, but when he saw that they weren't there he accepted it and looked to me to get his dinner, which of course I did. He was a little reluctant to have his bath tonight, but I'm quite sure that's because he'd figured out that if I gave him his bath, the only reason for that is that his parents weren't here to do it. So he had a very quick bath; really just a rinse off. He didn't want to play, and he usually loves to play in his bath, but I think he was especially missing his mom and dad when it came time to have his bath, because that's part of his usual bedtime routine with them. He didn't want me to read any stories to him, either, although he relented and had me read Where The Wild Things Are a couple of times. We did a couple of puzzles before I put him to bed, then I started his music and leaned over his crib and rubbed his back for half an hour while he listened to Leonard Cohen songs. When I left his room he cried for a couple of minutes before he fell asleep.
All of which has left me reflecting, and I've decided that I'm amazed and humbled to be in the presence of Wiggle. He's too young to have any real sense of time, and also too young to ask or understand where his parents are, and when they'll be back. I know he must miss them terribly, and yet he's cheerful and makes the best of the situation, without any complaints. Most of the adults I know, myself included, could take a lesson from him.