The Things I Would Love to Do With You

a teddy bear stares into the camera

Darling,

We met through a video chat. It’s not the way I like to meet new people, but you were born in a pandemic, and we need to keep you safe. If your smile lost anything in the translation, then it’s a dazzler, indeed.

If these were normal times, your great-uncle and I would have swooped upon your home, bearing gifts and a bottle of something bubbly. After first making sure that your parents had weathered the birth without dismay, I’d have scooped you up and settled you in my lap.

I like to meet new babies this way, hopefully, early enough that they can lie on their backs on my lap and fit there entirely while we examine each other. I’d check out your fingers and toes while you stared up at the face that looks a lot like your Nana and tried to figure out just what was going on here.

It’s an excellent time to introduce you to the game of “Whose toes are those? Whose knees are these?” It almost always raises a smile.

I have, on occasion, had to wait a while to meet a new baby. Sometimes, they’ve grown so that, while most of them still fits on my lap, their legs have to rest on my chest. Which is fine, until they want to show me how strong they are. Feet planted on my chest, they’ll give a great big push, usually while I’m trying to take a sip of tea. We’ve had a few spills through the years, but I’ve never dropped anyone on their head.

I hope I get to visit with you properly soon. It’s almost time to introduce you to my favourite game on earth: Kissy Face. I don’t like to brag or anything, but if there were a World Championship in Kissy Face, I’m pretty sure I would win it.

The rules are simple: keep going until the baby gives a belly laugh.

I grab a small stuffed animal. Hold it up in the air and then start making high-pitched kissy noises, while hovering it ever closer to your face. Once all your attention is focused on the animal, I bob it in to land a kiss on your nose, eliciting a look of surprise and, if I’m lucky, a little grin.

Let’s all take a breath before Round Two. More kissy noises, and this time the kiss lands on your cheek. An actual smile, and we’re on to round three.

This goes on, the approach getting ever longer, and the laughs getting louder, usually until Mum comes in to find out what all the noise is about.

Some babies are more into it than others.

Your Aunt Patty enjoyed it so much that she totally forgot I was the one working the stuffed animal and making all the noise. After each round, she’d catch her breath and then shout, “Look, look, look!!” And I’d have to pretend I had no idea what was coming next.

I miss being able to snuggle with you, sweetheart. But your parents are home more than they might have been. They’ll be conveying the snuggles and kisses from everyone who can’t be with you right now. And things have opened up a little bit, so you can visit with your grandparents and aunts and uncles. And your cousins, too, you lucky girl!

We’ll get through this time. And when we do, we’ll have a lovely game of Kissy Face. Even if you do ask to borrow the car right after we’re done.

Photo by Oxana Lyashenko on Unsplash

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