Illness aside there were many moments of Noah joy in Jamaica and I’d like to share a few of them with you.
Half the time I think Noah thought he was on Walkabout. Even when he was feeling miserably ill, he’d want to amble around the resort walkways and bridges with us in tow. But it wasn’t enough just to wander around. Undoubtedly the excursion would result in him creating some sort of pattern whereby he would walk up two steps, across a platform, down two steps, step on a drain, squat, and then go back up the steps – and then repeat. But not alone. No – if you were with him you’d have to do the exact same thing. He’d say “Mama” and point to the step to let me know it was my turn to follow. And if I stopped or didn’t squat on that drain he’d let me know about it. On more than one occasion Mark, my Mom and I were all following his orders. It must have been quite a picture to see the three of us following him around, stopping to squat on that drain.
The Beaches resort we went to in Negril is especially for families. They have a water park, X box rooms, and family friendly entertainment as well as nannies and a Kids Kamp to keep the kiddies busy if the parents want to hang out at the pool bar. The setup is ideal for families with older kids than Noah or at least for mothers who are less clingy than my co-dependent ass. They also have a deal with Sesame Street whereby they not only do some shows featuring the characters but also have meet and greet moments with the kids – Baking with Cookie Monster, Dancing with Zoe, the Letter of the Day with Bert, etc. Though Noah has a Hokey Pokey Elmo and had seen a few passing moments of Sesame Street, it wasn’t really his thing so I was unsure how interested in it he would be. In our first few moments at the resort I was walking around carrying Noah when Cookie Monster was headed right for us, on his way to a cooking demonstration. Noah squealed, pointed and smiled. Not because he recognized him but because there was this fuzzy, happy blue monster headed our way. But then Cookie Monster touched Noah – to say Hello (they don’t speak unless they play a recorded soundtrack) and Noah began crying. I kept walking while trying to pacify him and before he even stopped crying he was signing for “more.” Cookie Monster had him overwhelmed and hungering for more. When we got back to Mom and Mark, Noah was pointing emphatically at the spot on his arm where Cookie Monster touched him. I explained “Cookie Monster touched his arm.” In those first moments I had no idea how many times we’d have that interaction. It became the running joke of our vacation as Noah pointed to his arm about 50 times a day to recount the story – and then just as a way to sign Cookie Monster. It’s how he asked me to watch Sesame Street just this morning – because of course now he’s a big fan. Though a love of Cookie Monster is a dangerous thing – the poor guy doesn’t get much air time these days. Noah can sign for him up to wazoo – but I can barely find a glimpse of him. The sick Noah picture I posted below captures the sign, and I think I’ll post another one just so you get the full effect.
Two of the nights we were at the resort the nightly entertainment featured a short Sesame Street Live presentation followed by some Baby Disco type action. And Noah was in HEAVEN. Not only did he see Cookie Monster sing “The Itsty Bitsy Spider” but afterwards he got to DANCE. And he was a dancing machine. Our shy boy kept going out in the middle of an empty dance floor and strutting his stuff, and he even got on stage.
And Noah is indeed shy. On a daily basis people would attempt to interact with Noah – waving, smiling, saying “Hello,” asking him questions, and in some instances staff members just scooped him up in their arms. And every time Noah stared wide eyed and didn’t utter a peep. If they were lucky (and a woman) they might get a smile and a wave after they walked away. I found myself explaining countless times “He’s a little shy with strangers.” On one hand I’m a little sad that the rest of the world doesn’t see our chatty, smiling, exuberant boy – but on the other I feel like we’re privy to a hidden treasure. Of course I feel that way about his Dad too.
Noah not only did really well with the traveling, he really seemed to enjoy it. He was excited to be on the bus and ride in the plane. “Fly! Fly!” He’d say. He had no problems with take off or landing, and he slept on both flights. He really was a model little passenger with one brief exception. On the way home he had a bad 40 minutes where he was trying to nurse to sleep but was too overstimulated, warm and cramped to relax and he let out a few cries. I panicked when people started shooting me looks while my giant son was crying and demanding to nurse. As I sat there trying to calm Noah my Mom started talking to me calmly and reassuringly and actually started petting my head. And my over-agitated response was to snip “MOM – I’M NOT A BABY.” But I know now as a mother that’s not true. I’ll always be her baby as Noah will always be mine. I just hope he’s not demanding to nurse when he’s 31.