I remember when Anna was born, what a tough time we had. She had colic. What's more, we didn't know any better. Kath and I would take turns trying to get her to rest. On weekdays, my turn would be from the absolute second I entered the house until around 2 AM. Kathleen would be waiting for me to get home, her eyes bloodshot, teeth grinding, ready for the hand off.
[the proud big brother and sister]
I subscribed to a lot of pay-TV movie channels; HBO, Cinemax, Sundance, The Movie channel. I don't know why I bothered. The whole time she was screaming at my head. I couldn't hear anything. I usually ended walking around the outside of the house a lot. That seemed to calm her. Patra thought it was great too. So there we were, Patra, Anna, and I walking laps around our little house in Falls Church, with the sound of an ambulance screaming down route 50 every 20 minutes or so. The thing of it was though, we didn't know any better. That was part of what made it so tolerable. We just thought that was what bringing a living being into this world entailed.
[PJ tentatively embracing his future play pal]
Now when PJ was born, things had changed a bit. For one thing, we had moved out to Leesburg and had a little more space. For another thing, PJ was not colicky. It was a revelation. We kept wondering why he was so quiet and why he slept all of the time. He would sleep for seven or eight hours at a spell. It was incredible.
Now finally we have had Sam, our third and hopefully final child. Sam is just off the chart happy. He is seven months now, and is just getting over a cold. He is gurgling in flem, and coughing. The cough is loud and scratchy. It sounds like it hurts. He is sitting up in his high chair. He sees me. That's all it takes, just a glimmer. A smile crosses his face and he is beaming at me. I smile back. He starts laughing at me. Then the cough cuts back in and he's a sick little baby again.
I've put Sam to bed before by just kind of tossing him in the crib. I had to put him down for a second to get the others kids to bed. When I look back on him a few minutes later, he is asleep. I've gone to get him in the morning only to see him awake in the crib, just lying there. He sees me and there is that moon-faced smile again. "Oh, its you, that guy who's not mom! So happy to see you! I was just laying thinking about how great it is to be a baby."
I tell him now every day "Sam, you don't have to get any older if you don't want to." He's the last one I think to myself. "You just stay as a seven month old baby just as long as you wish." His little arms are flopping up and down against me as I hold him. "It's okay little guy, I won't mind if you don't get any bigger." I hold him in the air and rub his stomach against the top of my head. I can feel him giggle.