I open my tired eyes in the morning and roll over in bed, squinting as her round little face comes into focus. There she stands, her face just inches away from mine, at my bedside. As she eagerly waits to be lifted onto the white pillowy land of the big bed, she looks me in the eyes and exclaims,
"Good morning Biet."
Then she rattles off a sentence in baby babble, which I imagine to mean something along the lines of its so nice to see you this morning. And from here on out, the "Mama's!" never stop.
Sometimes she wants to get my attention. Sometimes she wants to tell me a story. Sometimes she simply wants to sing her "Mama! Mama! Mama!" song. Sometimes the back and forth between us ("Mama!" "Yes, Biet?" "blahahablahabaaha!".... "Mama!" "Yes, Biet?" "hahadododo!"...) is pure entertainment.
As we stroll down the street on a chilly autumn eve, her booming bright voice calls out my name over and over and over and over. Every passing taxi cab, every smiling stranger, every flashing city light, and every bump in the sidewalk warrants an excited "Mama!".
Then, just as I'm thinking to myself that I must have heard her call out my name about 75,000 times that day, she falls silent. I peek over the edge of the stroller to find her eyes gently closed, and her happy tired face finally slumbering after a long day.
Finally, Gaby and I can have a decent baby-free conversation, free of slobbery bursts of babble and nonsensical sounds and songs. Finally, a bit of peace and quiet and normalcy.
And then the funniest thing happens.
After only a couple of blocks, everything feels a little too quiet. I miss the excited nonstop "Mama's!". Her pretty happy little cries have become my new normal. And as much as I cherish this silent time, I look forward to the next morning when her voice will once again call out my name.