More Than a Houseguest

I’m reeling with this week. It feels like so much has happened and our baby’s baby  is STILL only six days old.

Not that I’m hurrying over there to the newborn’s house every day.

I haven’t been to that House of New Life except one night in the middle of the week when the two parents invited the whole bunch of us. They had some beers and some of us non-beer types had a glass of wine. I didn’t see my girl-the-new-mother drinking, though they do say a little dark beer is good for the milk, rich in B vitamins as it is.

Chris, who is amazing in every respect, made roast chicken with all the fixin’s. As as of that day, Day Four of little Callie’s life, she was still the only person to have changed any diapers. The new mom herself mostly saw to other tasks, like trying to sit up, and talk in a normal voice, drink plenty of water and get short bouts of sleep when she could between those every-three-hour feedings that a new human needs whose weight is nowhere near the weight of your Sunday roast.

She yearned to sit with her two older children whose lives will never be the same though I’m not sure they know it yet.

I say this because we kept them all last weekend, right up until Monday morning when David exhorted them into their clothes and out to his car to bring them back to their own house, from which they would depart for school. (My job: that simple six-course breakfast grandmas are famous for.)

Apparently at the end of the 22-minute drive back to their own house just as they were walking in the front door, David cautioned them to keep their voices low in case mother and baby were sleeping.

“Wait the baby is HERE?” said one of them, thoroughly startled by the notion. “The baby isn’t back at the hospital?”

Ah, the dear child! But that is the thing with babies: they come and they stay for the next 20 years.

They come and then they are forever and ever with us, ever in our thoughts, long after they have climbed down from our laps, long and long after they have fled our loving arms.


Now a short clip of a small infant and the doctor demonstrating our earliest human reflexes… This one and the one I posted a few days back: they just tug  at my heart somehow.

Who Wouldn’t?

This is what’s called the ‘Moro’ or ‘Startle’ Reflex. I took it off YouTube.

It’s something babies do where they suddenly shoot their arms out into the air. The new baby in our family kept having it last night when we were all together.

When I used to watch it happen with my babies, I assumed it was because they suddenly felt like they were falling.

That’s how it looks exactly: like they wake up from their dream and think “Oh GOD what’s this new medium all around me? What happened to that that nice firm waterpack I’m used to?’ but no. Evidently any new baby will have this Startle Reflex that seems to last for three or months.

All I can say is, in a world where there are blizzards in October and tornadoes in full winter; where the price of gas is higher than the Bride of Frankenstein’s forehead and the ice caps are melting and people in charge are getting so cavalier they’re letting their cruise ships keel clean over How are we not ALL startling ALL the time?

Yet we don’t. Yet our babies grow calm in the face of it all, like this baby, old enough now so that she has grown accustomed to the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.


But do you ever get used to them really? Maybe that’s what big brothers and big sisters are in a way: shock absorbers offering just that extra needed bit of insulation.