by Aurora Bordeaux
During family vacation, to the utter shock of everyone in the house including myself, I carried, cuddled, and otherwise canoodled with the youngest in-law, a nine month old I’ll call Zoe.
I couldn’t seem to get enough of her and even spoon fed her dinner to give mom and dad a break. Fun Aurora Bordeaux Fact: I know how to feed trained babies goo in high chairs. Years of teenage babysitting muster doesn’t just disappear overnight. However, my skills must have improved, since I accidentally had a bit too much bourbon on an empty stomach and still managed to keep Zoe spotlessly clean. Booya! The trick to drinking booze during a dry family vacation is to put your sauce of choice in a coffee cup or used Taco Bell big gulp. See, aren’t you glad you read this blog? I am doling out life lessons all over the place!
Anyway, back to my blossoming interest in Zoe. Was I suddenly baby crazy? No. Was I being yanked by the long feared tides of wanting a baby as I approach 30? Nuh uh.
I missed my dogs.
Our two Labradoodles, Bosco and Charminator, weren’t welcome under the beach house rental rules, which is actually fine by us. Babies shouldn’t go everywhere, and neither should Labradoodles. Keeping the pups safe and happy in foreign territory is too much work. But as the week dragged on, I missed them. Bad. And Zoe, the squish-a-licious, all-pupils-and-irises baby was the closest thing I could find to a dog. I cuddled the Bejesus out of her, talked puppy nonsense to her, and poked her tummy a little. You know, all the things you do to a high quality dog you admire.
The in-laws are a reserved crowd, but I could feel a thickness in the room when I made big over the baby. It could be because I’d made a point of keeping my distance somewhat with the kids over the last few years to protect myself from prying comments about when I’d become a parent. It could also be because our move from an overly large suburban home to a sky high condo in the city with rotten, gun-toting school districts pretty much declared our childfree status loud and clear. But I didn’t care what they thought about me getting cozy with the tot. Zoe provided tiny hits of cuddle heroine until I could score a big fix again with my Labradoodles. It was a baby bonanza, and fun while it lasted.
We’re tucked safe in the condo with the Bosco and Charminator right now, and all is well. They Doodles are napping, the Hubs is working, and I’m blogging. A mist is falling over the city, and the only sound is tapping desktop keys and chugging busses below punctuated by the stray “Hallelujah!” from a meandering schizophrenic. It’s like music, the jazz from our windowpane. Charminator is still terrified of the buses and demands that we hold all 26 pounds of her when they drive by. We’ll help her ease out of her fear over time, but for now, I don’t mind the cuddling. Every day is a puppy bonanza, and all is as it should be.