March 8, 2002
The people who told us that life would
change once we had a baby were all lying. At least I think they were
lying. I can't really recall. The last two weeks have been something
of a sleep-deprived, formula-induced haze.
I remember coming home from the hospital
with little James, heir to the Lautens fortune, which currently
consists of some of his great-grandfather's vintage Playboys and a
fistful of worthless dot-com shares.
My thought leaving the hospital with James
(seven pounds five ounces, thanks for asking) was: "Are they
just going to let us leave with him? Are they nuts? We haven't a
clue what we're doing."
We were the people who wouldn't get a dog
because we weren't sure we were ready for the responsibility. And
now they're sending this poor little guy home with two well-meaning
but completely inexperienced parents. The only time I ever changed a
diaper was on a plastic doll in pre-natal class, and it was
distinctly less wiggly than the real thing.
We weren't even trusted to baby-sit our
nieces and nephews. The one time we did I distinctly remember
begging my four year old niece to stop jumping on the bed next to
her uncle's head because it was well past my bedtime. An offer of
cold, hard cash - folding money, no less - wasn't going to get me
out of reading Cinderella for the fifteenth time. Four year olds
today just don't know the value of a buck.
And here we were walking out of the hospital
with a baby of our own, expecting to be stopped at any minute by a
nurse who realized it was only a matter of time before someone
called the Children's Aid because they were worried we'd be feeding
him pearl onions and pop rocks.
After the first week and a half I suspect
that not having a clue isn't something that disqualifies you to be a
parent. Strangely enough, for something so important it seems to be
mostly on the job training.
It certainly helps having such a good
looking baby. I know what you're thinking - every parent believes
their baby is beautiful. I happen to know it's true in our case. I
had a look over the shoulder of one of the doctors at the hospital,
and his note said, and I quote: "Lovely and healthy baby."
So you don't have to take my word for it. We have it in writing from
a qualified professional.
Of course we couldn't help but lord it over
the other babies in the maternity ward, who looked like a collection
of Winston Churchill clones with the occasional Pekinese pup thrown
in. Whenever I was about to take my handsome son for a walk around
the ward, I always whispered in his ear: "Let's go see what the
ugly babies are up to."
He has my nose - poor thing - and his
mother's hands. His feet are the only cause for concern. Bluntly
put, they're enormous. And you know what they say about a man with
big feet: big feet - big shoes. The feet and his middle name both
come from his great-grandpa Ted, who sported size 14 shoes, played
football for the Hamilton Tiger Cats and was a champion bare-foot
Talk about big shoes to grow into.