“Ruoruo, are you back?”
“Yes. Ah, Auntie Mei, I will pick Baobao1. Thank you for looking after him. We always troubled you.”
“Not trouble. Your Baobao is so well-behaved.”
“I bought some apples in the town. It’s very fresh. Auntie and uncle should taste it.”
“You girl, ah. Why are you so polite…”
“Is Baobao asleep?”
“No, he has been paying attention to the movement at the gate very seriously, waiting for your return. I tried to take him inside, but he didn’t want.”
“Really? Baobao is too sticky to me…”
“You are his mother. Of course he is sticky to you…”
At the farmhouse entrance, a gray-haired and wrinkled middle-aged woman chatted friendly with a beautiful young woman. Chi Wen was lying in the cradle under the shade of the tree, spitting bubble in boredom while listening to the woman talking.
Hearing what they said, Chi Wen snorted. Waiting for her return? How come! He obviously just wanted to confirm when this woman will finally abandon him!
At first, Chi Wen was still calm and indifferent. But after a while, he started to get angry again. This woman left him here for hours! Sure enough, she didn’t care about him at all. No wonder she would abandon him in the future!
Chi Wen was indignant. He didn’t want to pay attention to this woman, but couldn’t help being attracted by her voice. His small chubby face frowned into a few cute folds. The cradle’s cover suddenly lifted open, and a woman’s silly smiling face appeared before his eyes.
“Baobao, what’s wrong? Your face wrinkled like a tiny old man.” Soft fingers lightly prodded the baby’s forehead. Fu Yunruo leaned over and picked up her son. She rubbed his smooth face and said: “Baobao, are you angry because Mommy left you behind? Baobao don’t be angry. Next time Mommy will take you, okay?”
Fu Yunruo went to the town to pick up an express delivery. This village was too remote, package deliveries had to be picked up personally in the nearest town. She ordered a lot of baby products online, and those were almost too much for her to bring back alone. How could she also bring Baobao? What’s more, Baobao was only three months old. He was still too young to go so far. That’s why Fu Yunruo asked a trusted neighbor next door to look after him.
Chi Wen didn’t believe in this woman’s nonsense at all. There were so many ‘next time,’ but she never brought him along. He would never believe her again!
Even though he was unhappy, under Fu Yunruo’s soft voice, Chi Wen’s face gradually relaxed, and he unconsciously moved closer to the hand on his face.
Seeing Baobao no longer angry, Fu Yunruo felt proud of her coaxing skill. She smiled at Auntie Mei and bade farewell: “Auntie, we are going back now.”
“Alright, be careful on the road. Ask me if you need anything.”
Fu Yunruo hugged her son and walked out of Auntie Mei’s courtyard. Following the village’s rustic concrete path, they soon arrived at their rental house. From the outside, the house Fu Yunruo rented didn’t look very good. It was a simple hut made from mud and brick that was abandoned after the owner’s family built a new house. However, it was very well maintained, and the house itself was enclosed by a sturdy earthen wall. It was suitable for a single mother who lived alone with a young baby.
There was also a small yard inside the wall, which was very neat and clean. Part of it was used as a vegetable garden, planted with various varieties of green vegetables, pepper trees, and a tall persimmon tree. When Fu Yunruo was pregnant with Baobao, she planted many flowers and plants near the wall. This year, many of those flowers have bloomed, and they were so beautiful and colorful.
Although none of those plants and flowers were of a rare variety—only the kinds commonly seen everywhere in this part of the countryside. However, with a neat and meticulous arrangement, the entire yard looked picturesque with a poetic atmosphere.
This house was owned by Auntie Mei’s family. After they built another home, it was vacant. When Yunruo first arrived in this village one year ago, Auntie Mei gave her a place to stay and took good care of her. After she gave birth to Baobao, Auntie Mei also helped her during the postpartum confinement.
People in this small farming community were simple and welcoming, but there were inevitably a few with a broken mouth. It was Auntie Mei who stood in front of her, yelled at those gossipers, and defending her reputation.
Auntie Mei’s husband was a respected figure in this village. After the family showed their intention to protect Fu Yunruo, the villagers became more welcoming, and her life was much better. Therefore, Fu Yunruo was very grateful to Auntie Mei’s family.
Chi Wen was taken home by the woman and waited coldly for her to breastfeed him. But after waiting for a long time, the woman started to daze again, gazing emptily into the sky.
Chi Wen stared at her in dissatisfaction. Woman, what’s the matter with you? Don’t you see that I am hungry?
Sure enough, she didn’t care about him at all! Chi Wen has always kept a small book in his heart, noting every grievance this woman caused him. In the two months after they got off the confinement, today was the second time she has left him alone!
Chi Wen held back for a while, but finally was impatient and made a babble of protest.
Fu Yunruo, who was still immersed in the past, was suddenly pulled back into reality by her son’s babbling noise. When she looked down, she met the baby’s big eyes, round like black grapes.
“Baobao, are you hungry? Alright, wait a moment. Mommy will feed you soon.” Fu Yunruo held her son gently and rubbed his soft face. Then she put him on the bed and quickly changed his diapers with familiar movement. Afterward, she picked up the baby and wiped her breasts with a hot towel before feeding him.
Long before Fu Yunruo opened her clothes, Chi Wen already shut his eyes tightly. When the familiar milk scent came out, he opened his mouth instinctively.
The small, soft body turned as red as boiled shrimp while sucking his milk. Even after three months, Chi Wen still couldn’t get used to this moment. Although this woman did give birth to him, as someone with an adult’s mind, he couldn’t help feeling extremely embarrassed. In the beginning, he struggled. But after a while, he finally resigned to his fate. Chi Wen could only comfort himself silently.
He is still a little baby!
Seeing Baobao eating so eagerly and quickly, Fu Yunruo felt a little guilty. Knowing that he was hungry, she gently supported his body so he would not be choked. This time, she was away for too long. Almost one hour and a half. Next time, she must come back within one hour.
After eating, Chi Wen began to feel sleepy. Today, he woke up in the morning and has not slept until now. He also has to pay attention to the movement outside, which was really tiring. Nestled in the familiar soft embrace and listened to a gentle humming, he soon fell asleep.
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