Benjamin and I spent the afternoon walking around Berkeley while Tricia went to interviews. Our stroll stretched longer than expected as Tricia’s interviews ran late. I was armed with enough diapers and formula to keep Benjamin dry and fed. He had a bottle and flirted with girls at the Peet’s by the BART station, and he napped in the Baby Bjorn while I browsed bookstores. We had a good time. Tricia finally found us after six, finishing our dinners at a cafe on Telegraph Avenue. We were happy to see her, Benjamin to the point of bliss. We shared a brief reunion. Then, business-like, Tricia and I loaded Benjamin into his back-facing car seat, strapped it into the rental car, and headed back across the Bay. Tricia took the wheel: “I’ll drive. I’m already sort of in that mode.”
Benjie reached the end of his patience in the car. He started to fuss. I pulled faces and made funny noises, cheap laughs that got us through the toll booth and onto the Bridge. Tricia sang to him from the drivers seat. But by the time we’d crossed Treasure Island, Benjie had broken down, crying and babbling, “Ba-ba-bababa”, inconsolable. The “baba”-babbling has been a familiar sound in the last three weeks. Today it was more insistent than we’d heard it before; and somewhere over the Bay, we realized that Benjamin’s “Bababba” was starting to sound a lot like “Mamama.” Benjamin taught us his first word today.