Thursday, April 26, 2007

Absolutely Edible

When we lived in Cyprus, we had this wonderful travel agent named Lena. She and her brother worked with their mother at her travel agency. The mom was such a trip. As a Cypriot woman, mother of five and grandmother to many more, she was a real maverick because she had started this business on her own. She spoke something crazy like six languages, and she always had words of advice for me. When I was pregnant with Jack, she used to tell me not to worry because all of her labor/deliveries were painless and over within minutes. Matt and I both enjoyed going in there, nevermind that by the time we walked out we both smelled like smokestacks. It was always high energy, man, and -- oh yeah -- it was air-conditioned.

Lena was hilarious, just like her mother. She was really good at her job, which saved Matt lots of time/energy planning for assignments. She was really kind as well, and she l-o-v-e-d babies. I think all Cypriots love babies, but Lena just went bananas whenever we brought Jack into the office. Her son was 18 and in the army, and she really missed his baby days. Anyway, whenever we took Jack into the travel agency, Lena would stop taking phone calls, pull Jack into her lap and let him play with anything on her desk that struck his fancy, all the while going on and on and on about how “absolutely edible” he was. That was her phrase, “absolutely edible”.

I didn’t really get it. Don’t get me wrong, I was head-over-heels in love with my son and kissed him constantly. (Smooch, smooch, smoochity smooch!) But eat him? I just laughed it off. Silly Lena. The more she said it, though, the more I started to notice other people saying similar things. “Oooh, that baby is so cute, I just want to bite him.” These weren’t just Cypriots but people from various places and cultures, including my own.

Just imagine my surprise when Sophie was born and -- oh. my. goodness, I guess she was a few months old and starting to fatten up a bit after the whole newborn stage -- all of a sudden this crazy urge came over me, and it was all I could do NOT to bite her! I feel ridiculous even writing this, but it’s true. Now I know what Lena was talking about. And Lissa, who often refers to her “delicious baby”. And all my other friends I used to think were off their rockers. Now I can totally relate.

So I thought it was really funny when we were in a Greek restaurant last month and the waiter (also Greek) looked at Sophie and asked how old she was. Fourteen months, I said. And this was his reply. (Honest, I am not making this up.)

“Ooooh, they are so cute and so sweet at that age, it makes you want to eat them. After a while, though, they grow to become teenagers. And... then you kind of wish you had.”

As the father of three teenage girls, he looked pretty serious about it -- but then he laughed and said something about children being a blessing. (Whew!) The teenage years seem a while off for us at the moment, but Jack’s turning four next week so I know it will come sooner than I’m ready for it. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy all the smooches, hugs and snuggle times I can get away with.

I just checked on Jack and Sophie, asleep in their beds. And eeeeeee! They are oh-so-cute! But I don’t think I’ll eat them tonight.

Not just yet…


Carolyn said...

I've been accused of “being of my rocker” for more reasons than just this, but I can't remember when I didn't say “I could eat her/him up.” I bet I said it 25 times just this afternoon referring to my girlfriend’s 2-year-old Shawn and my other girlfriend’s 14-month-old Jeffrey as our combined total of nine children played on a community playground! Perhaps Cypriot and Southern women are similar in culture?! Now there's something to ponder! I totally get it! “Absolutely edible!” I'm confident if I laid eyes on Sophie in the flesh, I'd declare (emphasis on the first syllable of de’-clare), “I could just eat her up!”

Carolyn said...

P.S. And you can't tell me that there's anything in this world as sweet as sleeping children! Lily is 8 1/2, and I still swoon when I watch her, still and quiet in her bed, even though she takes up nearly as much of a bed as I do (she takes after her daddy in height and me in girth ... we're praying for a basketball scholarship!). Oh, and that crazy Silas (6 1/2)! The ONLY time the child is still is when he's sleeping, and I do nearly eat him up every single night. Ask me in 10 years, but I bet I'll still be sneaking in their rooms when they're 16 and 18 to watch them sleep, fighting back the tears of overwhelming love and emotion.