I didn’t meet my friend Julie’s son Zach when he was first born. Part of it–a big part–was that I broke my ankle the same weekend he was born last May.
Add to that Julie and Zach’s residence on the Upper West Side, my well-established laziness and you have a recipe for procrastination.
When I finally met Zach, he was already about seven months old. Fortunately he didn’t appear to hold a grudge (nor did his mom). Instead, he let me hold him, explored my face with his hands and smiled. He even leaned in to touch his nose to mine several times, deliberately and charmingly.
I was in love.
Every subsequent encounter has been more of the same. Zach’s a charming kiddo, not prone to fussing. He smiles and laughs. At eleven months, he didn’t walk–he ran. Julie’s biggest concern (beyond NYC preschool admission shenanigans) is ensuring he grows up to be a Yankees fan.
Zach. He’s a game changer.
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At six am, I heard a knock at the door. It was soft and tentative, delivered in an uneven tempo. I rolled over in the pink-sheeted twin bed, thinking that if I ignored the knocking, Zoe would go back to her twin sister Emma’s room where she had spent the previous night while I slept in her room. I was tired from having flown in from New York and catching up with their mom, my college friend.
But, no. The knocking continued, persisting until I sputtered “go back to bed, Zoe!”
I was tired from having flown in from New York the day before. Grumpy.
“But I need headbands,” four-and-a-half-year old Zoe wailed plaintively, “HEADBANDSSSSS!”
Tearing back the pink sheets of the twin bed, I stumbled to the bedroom door and opened it to admit Zoe. Looking down at the tiny girl, I grumbled “you’re already wearing a headband.”
“But I need more,” she responded. I flopped back onto her bed.
As Zoe pulled headband after headband out of the bedside dresser, I thought back to what she had warmed me before going to sleep in her bed: Don’t play with my toys. She was probably concerned that I was wearing her four-year old girl sized headbands on my big old melonhead.
After going back to sleep for a few more hours, I stumbled into the twins’ bathroom to brush my teeth and then take a shower. Right around the time I started shampooing my hear, I heard a noise and opened my eyes.
There stood one tiny twin, silently watching me take a shower.
“EMMAAAAAAAA!” my friend Nadine yelled, “leave Jen alone.”
Soon after, it was time to say goodbye to my friend and her sweet, lively family, to check into the hotel and start the business portion of my trip to LA.
I slept like a baby that night and the next.
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