Won’t you be my playmate?

When I was Nico’s age, my mom was a lonely new mother recently transplanted to Dallas. According to family lore, she was wandering around that sprawling metropolis one day when she ran into a woman with a baby about my age. His name was Drew. The two moms decided we looked exactly alike (this couldn’t be farther from the truth). So they arranged a play date.

In the succeeding months Drew and I developed a long and lasting friendship…er, series of photographs. My mom and her new friend would prop Drew and me up side-by-side to make it look like we knew how sit up. They would place us on a rug together and take pictures of our twin pools of drool. Drew was the best infant friend a girl could have.

I am proud to announce to you, my blog-a-family, that yesterday Nico found her own Drew, her Drew II as you will.

He is the son of a couple from the creative writing program here. I met them at my first Lubbock writers’ party*. I was in the kitchen, listening to a bunch of people talk about other people from the program I didn’t know, drinking a glass of red wine and trying not to feel socially awkward–which, as we all know, only makes you more socially awkward. Then, like a flotation device, two people walked in with a baby in a pouch. I almost pounced on them.

Their baby–we’ll just stick with Drew II to protect his infant identity–is just a week younger than Nico. He has chubbier cheeks and is significantly more chill. I just knew Nico had to meet him.

She got her chance at another party, last Friday, but the two were too distracted by all the other adults and their own drool and farts and baby cuteness to really pay that much attention to each other. Yesterday, though, we took Nico over to Drew II’s house so they could get to know each other properly.

It was then that I understood what my mom was really doing in Dallas. She says she was lonely and just wanted to make friends with someone else who had a baby my age. But I’m pretty sure she just addicted to watching “Baby Planet.” Because watching two four-month-old babies interact really is like happening upon some Brit-voice-narrated documentary on Bavarian aardvark mating rituals. They are just so weird. And cute.

At first Nico and Drew II paid little attention to each other. We held them face-to-face and they just looked off in the distance, in the other direction of the baby held up to them, as if they were alone in the room. Or, as Drew II’s mom pointed out, as if they were horribly and truly embarrassed by their moms’ cringe-worhty behavior and were trying to pretend like none of us existed.

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But after a while, they started to take note of the other infant in the room.

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Nico stared at Drew II’s drool. Drew II stared at Nico’s snot-dried nostrils. Drew II removed a drool-covered paw from his mouth and Nico reached out to grab the strange object. For a short while she held his hand in her own. Down on the blanket a few moments later, Drew II reached over to grab one of Nico’s up kicked legs. Nico gnawed on one of Drew II’s toys, a strange plastic mesh ball, and then flung it over toward Drew II’s head. Nico kicked her leg up toward Drew II’s open hands again, but he decided to put his hands in his mouth instead. Drew II grabbed Nico’s hand and held it. Nico thoroughly slobbered Drew II’s stuffed monkey and alligator toys.

Much later on, Nico started crying and Drew II looked over with concern from his kick-ass hammock-rocker-swing thing.

I understood why people with babies arrange playdates. We are a sleep-deprived and overworked bunch. We, too, need entertainment.

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*As a side note, Lubbock writers’ parties have way better food than Iowa writers’ parties. Just saying.

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