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He says, “Bye-bye!” He waves as he leaves for the few hours away with a sitter. He’s smiling, Nora is cheering him on, “C’mon, Owen, let’s go!” She’s  decked out in the outfit she chose, put on herself after getting herself ready in the bathroom where she asked for “privacy”, she has toothpaste on her cheek but I let it go because she’s proud of doing it herself, she’s holding her lunchbag as she climbs into Jamie’s car. Owen toddles a little in his rainboots, looks lost after Nora let’s go of his hand to climb into the car, and turns to check that I’m watching. I wave one last time and he sweetly mumbles, with a touch of melancholy that reassures me I’m missed, “Bye-bye.”

Bye-bye, babyhood. Bye-bye, crib. Bye-bye, nursing. Bye-bye, hours of uninterrupted cuddling a zip-up jammied bundle.

So long to the wispy baby hair. His is full and sweaty under his Muppets hoodie. The one with the Animal character face and red fur on the head. He gets mad and yells like Animal when I pull the hood up. The irony cracks Jamie and I up. He screams “no” and then puts it on himself.

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Watching a rock concert while he feeds us banana chips.

Nothing is safe in our house. He climbs anything, wants to sit on or be glued to Nora no matter what she’s doing, “no” is the response to any question, he dances like a gangster slash zombie, and he loves. Oh, how cuddles. Unintentional headbutts of passionate abandon into you. Throws himself headlong into the couch and tumbles to catch up with Nora. Shouts throughout the day, sometimes laced with uncontrolled laughter, “Space, Owen, SPACE!”

Jamie and I were mid-conversation when I realized we were mid-conversation and broke into a panicked scramble towards their room. “They’re fine!” He shouted after me. I have stumbled into their room and drew myself up to a stop. Owen was on his twin bed and Nora was dancing around the room because hers was covered in a puzzle.

Hello, inbetween years…

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