Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kate and Crew 22: "Baby Wars"

22. "Baby Wars" (May 2014)

          How do babies play with each other? Apparently, by grabbing each other and snatching away whatever toy the other is holding. All in good fun of course. 
          Teddy and Elayna were technically first cousins once removed. But to Kate, "first cousins once removed" sounded like a highly starched tablecloth laden with milky white china. They were really just two babies...and even those appearances could be deceiving. Teddy was the gladiator, brute force being his strength, though he was a couple months younger than his foe. Elayna came to battle with cunning, wise as the serpent and gentle as a...well, not a dove. She might almost rank the gentility of a monkey. 
          Their arena was a mostly baby-proofed living room, Elayna's native turf, the home of Mister and Kate's cousins in St. Charles, Missouri. The first round featured a restaurant ketchup packet and went something like this: Teddy has it...No, Elayna has it...they're both grabbing it! And Teddy has it again...and Elayna has gone to get the soy sauce...and Teddy's after her! etc. The second round was more like a free flowing game of Simon Says. Teddy crawled into the living room, and Elayna followed. Elayna pulled up on the coffee table, and there was Teddy a moment later. They walked around the coffee table one way...and then the other. Elayna went to play with her toy kitchen, and Teddy followed to play with Elayna's hair. The third and final round was a straight-up tug-o-war with a toothbrush. Elayna ended up with the toothbrush, but Teddy giggled with glee as he let go. As Kate was later writing the memories in her journal, she thought and thought about what to say. Finally she just wrote, It was indescribably entertaining. We all just sat around watching the two of them until we put them to bed. I guess it was one of those things where you just have to be there. 
the toothbrush round
          Kate and Mister's visit was short and sweet. They stayed two only nights. And the day in between held a lovely walk in historic St. Charles, including a stop at a sweet shop where Kate bought some maple fudge--one of her favorites, and something she had been dreaming about for the last 5 years or so. (Apparently, it's not a very common fudge flavor.) Later that afternoon, the rest of the family showed up, and Teddy got to meet his great-grandparents for the first time. They doted on him and Elayna and watched as the two babies continued their rivalry in the little lawn pool. They crawled around and splashed in the water and soaked their diapers until they nearly slipped completely off! But by the time Elayna leaned to far over the edge and tipped out of the pool, the little cousins had had enough fun in the sun and were demanding (in their eloquent, baby way) some food and a nap. 
          The stay was delightful. Kate and Mister had never before had the chance to see Teddy interact with someone so close to his own age and capabilities. It was fun to watch, and also to know that the two of them would continue to see and play with each other as they grew. And even after Elayna and Teddy were in bed, Kate and Mister stayed up into the wee hours with their cousins. They cheerfully bore the compounded sleep deprivation in order to cherish the late night talk and sharing deeply of life, faith, and family.

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