Puppy hasn't really been himself much of last week. He doesn't want to play independently, wants to be held constantly, and can't handle even minor disappointments. Normal toddler things, but beyond usual levels for him.
He is often a bit off after a house guest leaves. In the past month we had three family members come through who were attentive, doting playmates for Puppy. Their visits were close together so we've had a cycle of people arriving, becoming mini-celebrities in Puppy's world, then leaving. Normally his uncertainty passes after a day or two, but it seems to be lingering this time. He doesn't verbalize his emotions enough to know if there really is a connection, but I wonder.
On Friday he was reluctant to leave the house at all (he said someone might come through the front door--I think he didn't want to miss out on a visitor). Eventually he fell apart in the kitchen over some perceived injustice. I picked him up and he buried his face in my shoulder.
"We sure have had a lot of visitors lately," I said. "First Uncle Justin, then Aunt Abby, then [R]. I really liked having them here. It was hard to see them go."
Puppy was quiet. I rubbed his back.
"[R] play with me," said Puppy, softly.
"He sure did. You had fun playing with him," I agreed. "I was sad when he left. I wish he could be here all the time. "
"Be here," he murmured.
"What would you do if he were here right now?"
Puppy grinned and picked up his head. "Play trains with me. Read Thomas book. Play puzzles in kitchen."
We talked for awhile about all the fun things we would do with R. Puppy spent some time riding around on my back in our hiking backpack while I cleaned the kitchen. It had been a long time since I "wore" him (he's a super-tall kid with a weight to match) and I think we both enjoyed the closeness. If nothing else, it was nice to not have him trying to crawl up my leg.
Two nights later Puppy announced--out of the blue--that he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed in his big boy room for the first time. (The twin bed is across the hall from his current bedroom and has functioned as a guest bed.) He slept there all night, taking up what seemed like an impossibly small amount of space underneath the covers. The next morning we celebrated his achievement with high fives and making up the bed with his new train sheets.
"I bet you're proud of yourself," I said.
Puppy patted the bed. "I sleep in bed. [R]'s bed. [R] sleep in bed. Like [R]."