Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Splendid Week

The baby is home from the hospital and, as far as everyone in my family is concerned, Christmas has already arrived.

Of course, she doesn’t do anything but sleep, but nonetheless everyone is completely captivated by her. She has so many admirers that everyone has to take turns holding her and feeding her and rocking her. Between her parents, her grandparents and her uncle (who goes over to my parents’ house every night to visit her), she has people lined up to care for her.

My nephew finds her fascinating. He touches her tiny hands and feet, and kisses her on her forehead, and watches closely whenever she is given a bottle or has her diapers changed. While she sleeps, he has a tendency to want to go upstairs and check on her every five minutes—and, because so many others share this same tendency, someone generally takes him upstairs to look at her every five minutes or so.

This tendency will, no doubt, wear off in another few days, at least for him. I do not think, however, that this tendency will pass quite so quickly for my parents. This will almost certainly be the last time in their lives that they will have an infant living in their home, full-time, even if only for a couple of months, and I think they want to take advantage of the situation.

My nephew was surprised the first time he saw his sister. He thought she would be much larger, and be capable of moving around, and be able to play with him. As soon as he saw her, however, he immediately realized that such notions were unrealistic.

He is full of questions—“When will she grow?” and “Why doesn’t she have hair?” and “When will she talk?”—and he is displaying unending curiosity. He is very excited about her and pleased that she has arrived at last, but I don’t think he quite knows what to make of her yet.

I wish I could be there.

The dog is behaving very well. Apparently he senses or understands that babies are very fragile. For instance, he makes no attempt to jump up on whomever is holding the baby and he makes no attempt to jump on the arm of a rocking chair whenever someone is rocking the baby. He looks at her, and he has put his nose against the legs of her infant pajamas a few times, and he has even affectionately licked her pajama legs a couple of times, but his canine instincts must tell him that she is in need of lots of human care and protection right now and, consequently, he does not unduly interfere with whomever is caring for her moment by moment. He was much the same, I recall, when my nephew was an infant three Christmases ago.

It is probably all for the best that my sister-in-law has so many persons willing and able to help her with the baby right now, and assume all other work, too. She will be able to get plenty of rest, and not have to worry about meals, laundry, and countless other things in addition to taking care of two young ones. Right now she need devote her energies to my nephew and to my niece and to herself, and to nothing else. That is good.

My parents, with the help of my brothers, selected a Christmas tree last weekend, and erected and decorated it on Sunday afternoon and evening. They waited until my nephew woke from his nap before they started to decorate the tree, knowing he would find the whole process fascinating and would want to participate. My nephew, and everyone else, had a ball—my nephew was so excited he did not even want to stop in order to eat his dinner.

I don’t believe, however, that anyone has had much opportunity to make any other Christmas preparations. The arrival of the baby, and waiting for the arrival of the baby, have been the main events of the last ten days. No doubt things will get under way on the holiday front this weekend and next.

Tomorrow will be a very important day, because it will be my older brother’s birthday. He will be 34 years old tomorrow. My mother has planned a very special birthday dinner for tomorrow night, and I know he will be pleased.

It will provide a splendid conclusion for what has been a splendid week.


  1. Babies! How exciting for you! Patrick and Linda Wycombe are awaiting arrival of a newborn, too. And she's still working!

    Calvin and I wish you joyous holidays! We will be off to Greece a week from tomorrow, returning on the 4th. That is, of course, assuming our flights are not delayed or disrupted!

    Greetings to everyone.

    Merry Christmas.


  2. Edythe, Merry Christmas to you and Calvin as well.

    Where will you be in Greece? I hope you are not planning on joining the riots in Athens!

  3. Our destination is Mykonos, with a few days in Athens bookended before and after. It should be relaxing, but Calvin fears we may become bored. At least he is secure in the knowledge that Mykonos will not be overrun by Australians!

    We wish you boys safe journeys to Oklahoma and Minnesota!

    Edythe and Calvin

  4. And, my, that Learned Hand book sounded frightfully boring!