Hi, meet our Baby. He’s there, blending in with the winter night sky. Everyone loves Baby; everyone loves everyone’s Baby everywhere the world over. I know this because I married a Baby.
When you have the Baby, you know so much more than you did when you had the First. When Baby comes, it feels easy; this is part of the reason everyone loves Baby so much. The First greased the skids so Baby could just slide right in and fit. You weren’t so worried anymore so you could just let yourself brine in the love and comfort of Baby.
Baby never fell asleep on anything but a human for the first year of his life. Now, someone (like, literally anyone who is in the home at the time) rubs his arm for 5 minutes and Baby is off to dreamland— many times in someone else’s bed, but he transfers: well, he transfers if we don’t fall asleep first before moving him. Babies transfer anywhere easily.
Babies can hang. Babies are dreams.
Except, except.... Babies are every bit of extra. Babies know things babies shouldn’t know. Remember the Firsts? How nervous they were/are of doing something wrong? Of getting in trouble? Babies are brave. Babies don’t care so much. My First politely and privately ASKED ME WHAT THE F WORD WAS IN SECOND GRADE. Baby knew and properly used the f word very young (too young) while putting on his wet swimsuit this summer. “F@ck it,” he said, as he left the one stuck side of his suit to show his bum because he couldn’t pull it up. “What did you say?” I asked. “Nothing,” he answered as he ran out the door to join the others. Babies have to keep up.
While Babies want to be good, they also know that being funny is sometimes even better than being good. Laughing is fun and Babies love a laugh — even better if they made the joke that got the laugh. Babies have senses of humor the minute they’re in our arms. They have to to survive.
Babies have a twinkle in their eyes: like, all of them. Every single Baby I know has a glint of Baby in their eye and it would behoove us all to notice that glint and be ready.
So why is our Baby here raking leaves in the dark? Because Baby is responsible for the first phone call home I’ve ever had from a school. Also responsible for: first - and second and third - emergency room visits; first butterfly bandage attempt (successful); first phone call to 911 (we found him before the police came — he was hiding); and first, youngest ding-dong-ditch of our family. Babies are remarkable. And can I tell you? I’m really watching, honest to goodness I am. This is Baby when I’m doing my very best. Granted, it’s Third Baby Best, but it’s my best even still.
Yesterday, I received a call that Baby was crawling under bus seats to get to the back of the bus even when he was asked not to do so. So, first, gross. Have you ever seen a bus floor? He’s crawling on that to get to the back of the bus and then coming home and sitting in everyone’s laps, as Babies always do, in those same clothes? Yuck. And second? You know they asked Baby to stop before they called me at home, but Babies give zero f$cks. And third: When I hung up the phone from The Call, I turned and looked, the way good mothers do, at Baby. I said nothing. And he said, “Would that have been about the bus?” with the Baby glint in his eye.
After he and I spoke, he was sent out to rake the yard. He didn’t finish, but said he would today — but even the weather knows about Babies. It snowed this morning so there’s no more raking now. Fall is gone, winter has come, and Baby’s bum better stay in his seat on the bus. What will happen if it doesn’t? I don’t know. We don’t know. We’ve never had Baby before.
But I know I’m in good company: with the Baby of my friend who would like a second ear piercing (she doesn’t even have one ear piercing currently); with the Baby of another friend who blurts out bad words randomly just for the laugh he’s sure to get from his brother’s 10-year-old friends; with the Baby I married who still pulls something Baby amongst his 8 brothers and sisters and gets the laugh.
I never thought birth order mattered very much until my kids came out like they had read every birth order book. Of course, it’s not everything. Baby will learn to keep his butt in his seat and listen to his teachers or he will be raking in the fall and shoveling in the winter. But, he’ll do it with a glint in his eye, while making jokes as he rakes. And you know what he did after he raked a tiny pile of leaves from not even half of our small yard? He jumped in them and laughed because Babies know how to have fun.