when we last spoke, i had gotten us up to the point where the baby was born. you'll recall, perhaps, that we had been in the hospital for just one hour before the baby arrived. yeah, well, we would be in the hospital for another 24. hours, that is. doing nothing. (except for watching awesome reruns of jon and kate plus 8. no joke.)
one hour of labor. 24 hours of bureaucratic purgatory, serendipitous bad TV and dickfaced nurses. does that seem fair?
i am not going to linger on the negative here (other than to state that for our first baby, we were allowed to leave the hospital in 12 hours -- and i had gotten antsy after hour 3). i am instead going to revel in the positive. in the fact that we have a beautiful, perfect new daughter. who, it should be noted looks eerily like her big sister, only with slightly smaller eyes and slightly larger cheeks.
here she is, smiling her first smile. probably because she hadn't opened her eyes yet:
i mean, come on right? too cute.
she has a nice tuchus too:
anyway. because so many of you have asked so nicely, i'll tell you her name just this once. pay attention! her name is Calla. as in calla lily ... you know, like the flower? as it happens Calla means "beautiful" in greek, but that's really just gravy -- it could mean "donkey nuts" in greek and we'd still think it was an elegant, lovely name. fortunately for her, Calla does not mean "donkey nuts."
also fortunately for her, she appears to harbour the appropriate amounts of skepticism. here she is alert, eyeing us all askance-like. this is a look i would not have anticipated so early on in her life:
it is as if to say, you mean YOU'RE my dad? jesus. why don't you just call me Donkey Nuts and put pictures of my ass on all of the internets?
ahem. yes. well. you probably can't tell from the picture, but the whites of her eyes are beyond bloodshot -- there is a little ring of fire around each iris. she looks like she was mugged. she looks like ... well ... a demon. an angry, vengeful demon full of angry vengance. it turns out this frequently happens when labor is fast and furious. the hospital pediatrician gave us our new favorite expression: "precipitous birth." our baby, apparently, began life precipitously. hence, the bloody devil-eyes. and also apparently she is part hellhound.
whatever. the most important moment had yet to happen: the meeting of the big sister. mrs nice guy and i booked ourselves a private little room in the hospital where we could enjoy a little privacy while we were being held prisoner. while locked up in exile, i would make frequent jaunts to Au Bon Pain (which should follow KFC's lead and have its named shortened. only not to ABP. it would be more accurate to just go by Pain). on one excursion to Pain -- for stale coffee and cardboard pastries -- i stood in the hallway waiting for an elevator with a young orthodox jewish guy who couldn't have been older than 22. he was on his cell phone, yammering jubilantly. "man, i highly recommend having a kid. i'm telling you, it's the best." god, i love brooklyn.
anyway. after many jaunts to ABP, i mean Pain, and many sleepless hours, there was a knock at the door of our room. i shouted "it's open," assuming it was another nurse coming to cluck passive aggressive reprimands at us for opting to keep our newborn daughter with us instead of flinging her under a heat lamp. only it wasn't. it was Big Sister Nice Guy! the sitter brought her to the hospital to meet her new baby sister.
she stood at the threshold, tentative and shy. when i saw her -- the first time since Calla was born -- i gasped. i had just seen her the day before but here she was again, seeming so grown-up and sweet and so full of shy-sassy good will. strangely, it was this moment that most brought the whole birth home. i remembered when this child was born. we were in this very hospital, just one room over. and here she was three years later -- old enough to understand something very important was happening, but not quite old enough to understand exactly what it was. i started choking up.
she walked cautiously up to the bed and whispered. "that's my baby?" we told her that, yes, it was her baby sister. she said "lemme see." we let her see. she said "i want to hold her." so mrs nice guy got off the bed and let her climb up. we put the baby in her lap. she discovered the buttons that make the bed go up and down. she pushed the buttons. a lot. she forgot about the baby for a minute. the baby slumped over.
we told her to stop pushing the buttons. she didn't. then we tried telling her to be careful of her baby. she kept pushing the buttons with a little grin on her face as if to say "i have a tiny hostage here. what are you going to do about it?" we sighed. she finally got bored and stopped pushing the buttons. we thanked her.
then she kissed her sister. and said "i love my baby."
then the world melted in a puddle of love.
then she saw that there was a television in the room and announced "i want to see Dora." the baby slumped over again.
fortunately i had found Nick Jr or Cartoon Network or something earlier so i put it on. unfortunately Dora was not on. some awesome cartoon about summer camp was on starring a spider monkey from Sao Paulo and instantly i saw that this might be the greatest thing that ever happened to television, but unfortunately my eldest did not share this opinion as it did not involve a shouting diminutive latina bossing us all around in spanglish. so first born started to whine. loudly. i professed helplessness. then the baby took a tar-black crap. this turned out to be helpful. her big sister forgot about Dora for a minute. she wanted to look at the baby's poop. why? why is this what we're focusing on at this moment of birth and jubilation?
i'll tell you why: because if i have learned only one thing in the past 11 days of fatherhood with two kids it's this: it's still All About First Born. number two is just along for the ride. and also sometimes she barfs.
anyway, i hope she knows that we love her. she's perfect. and so was her placenta: