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Baby Makes Three

by Stephen Lautens


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 water skiier.

Talk about big shoes to grow into.

© Stephen Lautens 2002

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