Our beloved B3 arrived on the scene six weeks ago. Which, aside from the sleep deprivation and trying to referee two squabbling boys while caring for a baby, has been a pretty fun ride.
It feels like the ultimate educational experiment: bringing a mini-man into the home; enabling his brothers to observe his morphing from a cute comatose blob into a little person. Giving them the chance to bear witness to his cooing, the drunken uncoordinated attempts at batting toys on his bouncy seat, and squinty-eyed smiles at nothing in particular.
But what’s it like for him?
I’ve found myself thinking about this as I watch the boys constantly touch him; fight over who gets to hold him; put their (heavy) heads on his belly; press toys into his face.
It’s got to be weird, to say the least. He spent nearly a year in a dark, warm place, immersed in water. Kept company by a heartbeat and the muffled sounds of his brothers’ voices. Suddenly – bam – he exits into a life of bright lights, unfiltered noise and constant hovering.
And near-constant speculation from everyone who takes a look at him, about anything from his foot size to the color of his hair compared to his brothers’.
Will he have blue eyes or brown? Dark hair or light? Will he go bald in his old age (only the professor has wondered about this, to be fair)? Is he smart? Is he gifted? Does he look like his dad or the Gort or the Hen? And whose nose is that?
I love how I get to carry these little people around for nine months and nobody ever speculates about them looking like me. Well, except the nurse in the hospital. ‘I think he looks like you,’ she said to me. ‘I’m sure he looks like his dad too,’ she added as if I’d be offended by her first statement.
One, the kid was four hours old – he looked like any other newborn baby boy. I didn’t notice a particular resemblance to anyone besides his brothers. Two, his dad was at home, she had no idea what he looks like.
But I digress.
Jason really is the worst at bragging about his sons’ abilities. Since the arrival of the Gort, more than five years ago, he’s been a staunch advocate of their supernatural tendencies.
‘Look, he’s standing up’ he said to me last week. ‘He’s five weeks old,’ I replied in my dubious, unimpressed voice. According to Jason, the baby has been smiling since he was born. And has a Superman-like grip and strong neck.
His brothers’ initial obsession with him does not appear to be waning. The Hen delivers constant commentary: ‘baby khying’; ‘whe baby’; ‘baby sleeping’; ‘nigh nigh baby’; ‘I wan baby’ etc. The Gort clucks ‘he’s so cute’ multiple times a day, and asks to hold the poor, un-held child often. But after a minute or two he gets a slightly bored look on his face. ‘He’s heavy,’ he’ll sigh or ‘he’s making me hot’, as I reach in to grab him before he gets discarded.
I’d put the baby down for a nap in his crib a few weeks ago. I was downstairs in the living room when I heard the Hen’s voice, broadcast over the baby monitor. I ran upstairs to the nursery, where the Hen was standing on the crib rails peering over the edge at the baby. Touching the baby.
Just today the little man was taking a nap. His two year old brother ran downstairs to retrieve his Melissa & Doug wooden peg and hammer toy, which he promptly dragged upstairs and placed right next to the sleeping kid. And started hammering like nobody’s business.
‘I think your youngest son is a social one’ Jason said to me one evening. As if he’d become privy to highly confidential information. On the one hand, how could the kid not be social? He never has a moment’s peace; he’s constantly surrounded by people.
But on the other hand, it would seem strange that we – a family of homebodies – would inherit any kind of extroverted social butterfly. I suppose it’s possible. But at this point I’m putting my money on ‘brown eyes’ over ‘social’.