Baxter wakes up. It begins with a shuffling of the head (which we’re convinced is responsible for his unfortunate hairstyle—a tad thin at the top and patchy in places) and then some swatting at imaginary butterflies tickling his face. Soon Baxter grabs hold of the biggest butterfly and rubs it into his eyes, nose and mouth. Then his eyes open to a predictable expression of confusion, like experiencing an earthquake in Toronto.
Meanwhile his chubby appendages unfurl as his back arches in hopes that his bum will kiss the back of his head. The earthquake confusion quickly passes and he desperately searches for something familiar. He recognizes me instantly as I lean in close. The rewards are tremendous. A quick, earnest, gummy smile of appreciation and a speeding of the automated stretching and twisting.
This is my favourite Baxter. He is now so responsive and focused on my eyes and face. His gaze is intensely honest, and I’m loving the eye contact. It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced and I don’t want to disengage. But I shouldn’t forget my hair. Baxter is thrilled to have my curly locks dive toward him then bounce on his face. His mouth agape trying to hold back joy, his eyes flutter and then lock back onto mine as if to say, ‘Did you just see that?’
Baxter then begins to advise me of what he has in store for the day through gurgles, chirps and chuckles. Of course I reply, much to his glee. Then I stand him up on his less-than-lean legs and balance him as he stares this way and that. He is a scout, rediscovering his newfound land. Then his tongue and mouth make that familiar motion and I know my time has passed. Unless I grow a lactating breast in the next two minutes, I must plan a fun-filled handover to the Goddess-of-all-things who inhabits Baxter’s world. It was fun while it lasted!