The Right Coast

May 27, 2004
By Tom Smith

I must say, there's a lot to be said for having a baby in your forties. I was looking at 7 month old Mark the other day and said to my lovely wife Jeanne: "He's beautiful. Just perfect."
"I know."
"And to think you made him!"
"I know."
"That was the wrong answer."
"I know."

He is an extremely agreeable infant. He smiles, laughs and rarely cries. He is spectacularly fat, but in a cute, appealing way. He has magnificent thighs. He has learned how to scooch, backwards. A genius, clearly. He's a great gazer. World class staring contest material. You just want to eat his ears.

The dogs like him. How could they not?

With your first baby, you're too anxious, at least if you're me, to enjoy the process very much. It's all rather scary. Where did that giant staple go? Could Luke have swallowed it? You freak out the first time your child eats a large bug. Later, you just see the little grasshopper legs sticking out and think, isn't that darling?

I still remember my first diaper. In the hospital, Jeanne and I stood staring at the pink object until the nurse barked, "Well, change him!" She'd probably had enough hapless yuppies for one day. It was gross. Now, I sort of look forward to a big messy poop. Pipes are working! Good baby!

Last night, Mark slept on my chest while I watched part of The Transporter on HBO. Terrible movie, but a great baby. He woke up a few times, and we looked at each other, he as if to say, "Oh, it's the large, stratchy one without nipples. Time to sleep more" and rolled off again into slumber. Great little sleeper. A friend of ours calls her forth child (also a boy) her desert baby, and that's apt. You don't really need it, but why not.

Mark is about to enter that stage immediately before rug rat technically known as danger squid. This is where they can squirm at a high rate of speed just about anywhere in search of objects to put in their mouths. The calm before the storm. I'll keep you posted.