Title: Soon, Maybe
Category : Family
Content: Jim & Pam
Summary: Pam ponders after almost having another little accident
Disclaimer:I own nothing...*sigh*
I haven't slept in three days.
Jim has been away on a business convention and without him the bed is simply too big.
It's the longest he's been away since Cecelia was born. We call as much as we can in between our breaks, but it only makes me miss him more. He's coming home tonight, though. All others are staying 'till tomorrow's check-out time. The convention ends at 5:00 and his plane is schedule for departure at 6:45. He's cutting it close, but it's just that we can't wait.
That being said, I'll also add that Cecelia has had a cold for a good three days now, so I've been up with her.
Although she's gotten better, she still has a runny nose and a faint cough. I'm not one of those super-protective moms who worry every time their child sneezes, but I've had her sleep with me—to keep me company. It's my way of having a little piece of Jim with me. It also helps with the bed-being-too-big thing.
Oh, and I thought I was pregnant, which also made for a restless pillow.
Yesterday I felt nauseous the entire morning and couldn't remember the last time I'd gotten my period. After our little surprise with Cecelia, I changed my birth control regiment and I don't get it as often. Hence, I don't keep track of it anymore. Stupid, I know. So, last night this looming thought also kept me wide awake.
It's not that I don't want another one. I do, really. We do…but not now. We're still enjoying this one.
Well, it turned out I'm not pregnant—took three tests this morning to prove it. My stomach was just reminding me that old take out is not dinner, let alone a midnight snack. Nothing that Pepto-Bismol didn't fix. But I called work and took the day off anyways—a 'mental-health' day, or more precisely a 'I-haven't-slept-in -days-and-just-need-a-break' day.
But I'm starting to regret this decision. Seeing that I've been up since three days ago, I'm beginning to go crazy, pondering on the 'what ifs.' I can picture this footage being played on the six o'clock news: "Mother of one declares insanity after thinking she was pregnant." Surely they will play a laugh track afterwards— 'cause it's pathetic. So I decide to take my sniffling babe with me to the Steamtown Mall to rid of this cumbersome fog in my head.
It's rather early and the stores haven't opened yet, but there's a steady crowd of 'mall walkers' with their flashy sweat suits strolling about. Jim's mom raves about how relaxing it is to go for a morning walk. She has taken Cecelia with her on weekend mornings whenever she comes here with her friends. She says Cecelia keeps her company, but Jim's sure she just wants to show her off.
I lower Cecelia down and she stands on wobbly legs and looks up at me. She has recently taken up walking, declaring her independence from us. When she first started tottering around, Jim teased, saying she looked like a little duck. I remember swatting him for mocking her. But as she slowly breaks away, waddling unsure with her diapered bottom jutting out—I can't help but agree. It's cute. Plus, the yellow stripped crawler dress she's wearing with the ruffled seam is not helping her case.
I fish my phone from the bottom of my purse/diaper bag and take a picture of her. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it must be your little duckling. Love, Pam and Cecelia. I press send and watch the cartoon envelop fly away on the screen.
I turn to Cecelia and begin following her as she leads the way.
She stops every now and then and looks back to see if I'm still here. She points and scrunches her little nose as if asking 'can I go here?' I wave my hand saying, "Go on," and she gladly complies. She's good and mellow, runny nose and all—very much like Jim. They are two volumes of the same book.
She walks without direction or care, even when she gets a bit eager with this newfound freedom to roam and stumbles on her feet, crumbling to the floor, she's unshaken.
"Uh-ohh..." I say.
"Uh-ohh." She parrots, sitting with her legs tucked underneath her.
An older woman walking by stops amid her track and smiles down at her.
"Say 'I'm okay, I get up." I coax her.
But Cecelia is enthralled, curiously looking up at the older lady's flashy jumpsuit, a plethora of oranges and purples dancing in front of her eyes. In my head I can hear the 80's calling that outfit back.
"She's cute," she says.
"Thank you. Say 'thank you,' Celia." Instead, Cecelia keeps staring with eyes wide as saucers, just like when we lighted the Christmas tree a couple of months back. She begins to crawl towards the woman, but I catch her. She looks at me, points, and a grin breaks across her face—five teeth have cut through.
"She likes the colors," I say, deflecting the thought that Cecelia might actually think she's a walking Christmas ornament.
"I like it too," the woman coos. "You gals have a good day now."
The woman resumes her walk, and so do we.
Valentine's Day was just a few days ago and all the surplus items are on clearance. Jim and I actually went on a date, date this Valentine's Day. My mom watched Cecelia overnight, but not before I listened as she drowned herself in a puddle of self-pity. She still hasn't gotten used to the idea of being single. I can sympathize with her. So I listened for couple of hours and got us a free, reliable sitter on Valentine's Day. It was a good trade.
Jim took me to a nice restaurant with wine, fancy food, with even fancier names. He opened doors and pulled chairs, and we ate and laughed while guessing which couples amongst us were getting lucky. My guess was the giddy youngsters, but Jim had his bet on us. He was right. After dinner we went home and we did get lucky. Twice.
I don't remember doing anything for Valentine's Day last year. I think we might have had a silent agreement about not wasting money if it could be invested on the baby. Jim did, however, get a 'My First Valentine's Day' onesie, which was obviously too small for Cecelia to wear it this year. It's scary how fast she's growing up, too fast for Jim and I to catch up.
And speaking of catching up… Cecelia is more than a few steps ahead of me. She has sprinted towards a display window, flaunting a plethora of reds and pinks.
"'Ere mama, 'ere, " she says, slapping her palms against the glass.
I'm completely taken aback by how life-like the mannequins look on display. Whatever happened to the good ol' mannequins without faces, curves, or nipples?I'm not a big fan. I'm still weirded out by those Old Navy commercials.
"That's...um… pretty, uh?" I manage.
She bounces a bit, and then claps her hands together. She's sporting Jim's lopsided grin.
"C'mon, Cece," I say.
She waves 'bye-bye' to the mannequins, laughing at her own wit, as she resumes her walk down the long strip of stores.
As I watch her, I begin reminiscing about this time last year. How huge and pregnant and uncomfortable and not to mention huge—the size of a small continent—I was. To think that little girl was nestled inside my belly, reminding me of the presence of her four limbs just a year ago is mind boggling. Aaaand that I could have had another one in here is just….
I shake myself out of those thoughts and pace to catch up to with Cecelia, who once again has stopped in front of another store window.
"Celia you're putting mama to shame," I say a little winded.
She's pointing and word-like sounds are spilling out of her mouth. I can clearly make one out, 'da-da.'
It's a display of ties.
"Daddy has a bunch of 'em, uh?"
"Da-da?" She phrases it more like a question.
I sigh, running my fingers through the light curls forming on her head. Nothing makes things seem so aching as to have him at a distance.
In the mean time, Cecelia bends down and snatches something that looks like a gum wrapper off the floor. For fear that she'll put it in her mouth, I'm quick to remove it from her grasp.
She's not too happy about that.
"That's yucky, sweetie."
She whines and points to my hand, where she knows the paper is housed. "Mama, mama," she repeats.
"No." I use my mom-voice and she knows she's not going to win this one. "S'dirty," I explain, but it falls flat as she flaunts her infamous pout when I take her hand in mine. The kid's an actress. She can also deadpan on cue.
Her pout is short lived as her eyes avert to a colorful deodorant ad. She begins to pull—more like drag me towards it, but I let go of her hand and she toddles for it. She wants to touch it and while she attempts to maneuver over the metal support, she collapses bottom first.
But she's mastered the art of falling and is quick to get up. Nothing can really bring her down. She puts both hands on the floor and pushes her ruffled bottom up in the air—like she just don't care—and the rest of her small torso follows. She's getting pretty good at this.
"Good girl," I say proudly.
But she is nonchalant about the whole thing, looking up at me as if she's saying, "What? I got this."
My baby is a hoot.
She continues to walk, though I know her little legs are getting tired. She's moving a bit slower now. I can finally keep up with her. At some point, along our trajectory, she stops, turns to me, and lets her legs give in from under her.
"Uuuh-uuh.." she mumbles, opening and closing her hands.
She wants to be picked up.
I notice her nose is running, so I pull out a tissue, and she immediately fusses—knowing what's coming. "I know, I know," I say as she whines. I pick her up and hoist her on my hip, "Look, all done."
We continue our stroll and I notice that some of the stores have opened and Boscov's is one of them. I walk in and begin to browse, lazily fingering through rows of women's apparel. I unconsciously wander to the kid's section and begin to browse through all the pinks, yellows, and purples instead.
Somehow I find myself standing in the newborn division with all the onesies and little hats, bibs, and tiny socks. One item catches my eyes, though. It's a plain blue dress shirt—ages 0-3 months. It's so small my pinky can barely fit inside the right-hand pocket.
Jim has one just like it.
All this time Cecelia has been babbling away like a broken record by my ear, mostly things I don't understand. I reply accordingly, fueling her banter. However, at one point she gets impatient and begins to voice her frustration by arching her back in an effort to be let down.
"Hey you…" I say poking her sides as she contorts. "Silly goose!" I tickle her and she replies with a flurry of belly giggles. I cease the game, but she's still expecting more. I cup a hand on her cheek and pull her face towards mine and give her an exaggerated, loud kiss. "Bored, uh? C'mon, let's get a snack."
Aunt Annie's Pretzels is open, so I buy pretzel sticks with sweet dip—our favorite. It's just the two of us sitting at the food court. Cecelia is perched on the table, kicking her legs. I have my arms around her supporting her back. She's due for a nap pretty soon and if I want to keep 'crankiness levels' to a minimum I better start heading home. So, I pack up and make my way with her, still gnawing on a pretzel stick, to the parking lot.
When we get home, my babe is fast asleep in her car seat. There are pretzel bits and pieces scattered all over the back seat. In fact, she's still holding a chunk of it in her hand. The sweet dip somehow made its way to her hair and there's a ring of it around her mouth. I gently ease her out and she feels so heavy and warm in my arms. She nestles her head on my shoulder and hooks her arms around my neck.
I love being her mom.
Once inside I lay her in her crib and try my best to wipe the pretzel residuals with a baby wipe. I shift her around to change her diaper and she's not a bit bothered. She's out like a light. I might have tired her out a bit. I turn the baby monitor on and head downstairs.
I begin doing a few chores around the house, trying to keep myself busy—trying to keep my mind busy. But my mind is insistent on wandering back to the little blue dress shirt. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if...
I'm jolted from my momentary daze by my cell phone ringing. I pick up my purse, which I left haphazardly on the foyer, and my phone slides out onto the floor. The LCD light is flashing red. It's a text message from Jim.
Has she grown another inch in the last four days? Can't believe I'm missing this. – Love, Jim
In the mean time, Cecelia wakes up and time goes by faster. She keeps my mind busy and entertained. The one thing I absolutely love is whenever I cook with the radio on and she'll immediately start dancing, bouncing blissfully on her feet, and I'll dance start dancing, and if Jim were here, he would join us too. We're dorks.
At 6:40 Jim calls and tells me his boarding the plane and that in few more hours and he will be home. Hopefully he'll bring some sunshine with him. It's been rainy lately. But this weather is perfect for painting. There's tranquility in knowing that all is being washed anew.
God, I haven't painted in a while.
It's about eight-ish when I sit on the couch, watching the television screen. Cecelia is slumbering, sprawled in a small heap across my lap. She is sleeping deeply. Her ribcage rises and falls slowly and I can hear the soft grunts she makes with every exhalation. She feels a bit warm and her skin is a little flushed. I wonder when this cold will go away.
My eyes begin to get heavy and I find myself dozing off as well.
I wake up much later to the sound of keys rattling on the front door. An enormous grin tugs at the corners of my lips. I rub the sleep off my eyes and carefully extricate myself from the couch, leaving Cecelia lying peacefully there. I tiptoe to the hall and the excitement is spilling from every pore in my body. When I finally see him, he has his back to me while hanging his jacket in the coat closet. But he immediately senses my presence and our eyes meet.
In two strides he's in front of me, lifting me off the floor.
"God, I missed you." He says around a kiss.
"I know," I agree. "Promise you won't go somewhere warm and not take me?"
"Trust me, it won't happen again."
We make out like two teenagers, pressed against the wall. He smells like cheap food and airplanes. I shudder as his eager hands make their way under the hem of my shirt and his mouth begins a lazy trail down my neck. His hand cups my breast and my breath catches. At this rate I'll be reduced to a limbic core with a few cerebral cortex peripherals before we make to our bedroom.
"Celia's asleep on the couch," I whisper.
"Oh," he says.
He draws his hand from underneath my shirt and cups my face instead, kissing me so, so softly once more. When we part, he looks down at me with that lazy smile I love so much. I follow him as he shuffles to the living room and his face immediately softens at the site of our little sleeping beauty.
"Celia," he whispers.
"Don't wake her," I say, but not loud enough for him to hear. It's okay.
Her eyes flutters open, but she's out like the dead—a victim of mall walking. He scoops her up, kissing her all over. Cecelia is so drunk with sleep, it's comical. He pulls her close to his chest, rubbing his hand over her curly head, back, arms, legs…..
"Missed you so much," he says, kissing her flushed cheeks.
He's so good with her.
He begins to make his way towards the stairs, arms full with Cecelia, and I follow. We tuck her in and his loving way towards her just fuels my longing for him. As I predicted, we barely make all the way back to our bedroom. We're just too eager to surrender ourselves that the bed seems miles away. I can't describe what it's like to give all you have and have it equally reciprocated.
Later that night, I'm deliciously exhausted and used and smelling like airport and planes. It's a different kind of exhaustion, though. It's good. In fact, it's exactly what it is— having sex with your lover after being worlds apart. It's hungry and raw and ardent. A different headline pops in my head: "Mother of one reclaims sanity after three orgasms."
But it's only hours later that, while Jim is calming our feverish duckling, that I realize how foolish my earlier qualms were. Cecelia is sprawled over his chest, whimpering away her queasiness, babbling, "da-da, da-da," among other things. He is quick to understand her, humming, "I know, I know…" over and over again.
The image of them sends my mind back to the baby section of Boscov's. I don't remember falling asleep, but I eventually did. Jim's humming might have had something to do with it. But part of it was because the bed was finally the right size.
But it could fit one more.