My daughter is 16 months old, which is just the most fascinating age. She's testing everything, learning how the world works. At 16 months, her thoughts go something like this: "When I hold my food out to the dog, he takes it..." "When I drop my food on the floor, the dog takes it..." "When I put my food in my lap, the dog takes it..." "When I put food on the dog's head, he takes it..." "When I give the dog my food, my parents get mad..." (insert 10 second pause here) "Hmmm.... I wonder what'll happen if I hold some food out to the dog?"
As I say, everything is new to a 16-month-old. Everything is fascinating, but nothing is particularly surprising.
She is apparently not surprised, for example, to discover that her mother has turned into a computer.
It's true. She used to come into the office and see me sitting at the computer, banging on the keys. She could never quite understand why I got angry when she banged on the keys, if it was okay for me to do it. But now, for the past month, I appear to have actually taken it a step further and moved into the computer. Every evening, she sits in her daddy's lap while he opens the lid of the computer and bangs on the keys. After he hits the computer for a minute or two, I start talking. So somehow, I must have turned into that computer that I used to gaze at for so long.
It's apparently no big deal to her. Mom's a computer. The dog eats pizza off of the floor. Whatever.
But it makes me realize that it is really and truly time for me to get home. I miss her. I miss them all. I've missed the entire month of October, and I'm ready to be with them again.
So I'm pleased to tell you all that I have been cleared for takeoff, and I am planning to return to Beijing this Saturday.
I hope my daughter recognizes me.
And I'm pretty sure that, no matter how much I've missed her, it is really going to tick me off the first time she dumps her milk on the dog...