The three ages of baby


by Frances Edstrom

My new roommate — the dog-who-must-not-be-written-about — and I were relaxing the other afternoon in our bedroom. He and I are sharing the family room, which used to be his alone. It’s quite comfy if you discount the fact that it’s a couch in the family room instead of a king-size bed in my nice yellow bedroom.

The Christmas company was back in their own homes after a wonderful visit, lots of present opening, great food, conversation, and love. My sister is still trying to deal with lots of detritus created by the Edstrom Christmas.

“It’s interesting,” I said to you-know-who, “how in a few short years our whole Christmas routine has come full circle in this house. It seems like just yesterday that Christmas was a time of quiet celebration with adult children. Now we have babies again!”

“Yes,” he said. “And the noise and activity level has gone from a manageable 3 on the Richter scale to about a 7. Oh, make it 8.”

“Isn’t it great?” I asked.

“Great,” he said. “No, I wouldn’t call it great. I was raised as an only child! It gives me a headache. I bet I only get about sixteen hours of sleep a day when they’re around. And that baby boy drools! It’s disgusting. Everything around him gets sopping wet. He can make it happen from either end!”

“You drool,” I pointed out. “But it’s adorable when Harry does, because he smiles the whole time. You just salivate over ham sandwiches and Dort’s fudge…and Andie’s food because she doesn’t mind sharing. Actually, she wants to share everything in the house. We call her Sister Destructo!” I laughed, remembering the almost-one whirlwind with the huge brown eyes smiling at me as she reached for another breakable.

“She tried to sleep on my bed…when I was in it!” he said with much indignation.

“I saw that. Everyone thought it was so cute…except her mother, who wondered if she was going to catch some dog thing from that bed. ”

“Excuse me?” he said, getting up and staring me in the eye. “I was afraid I’d catch something from that snotty-nosed little urchin. I’ve read of cases of H1N1 in dogs, you know. It could be fatal having those kids around me!”

“Oh, stop with the melodrama!” I said. “You have to share now with the three kids.”

“I share,” he said.

“I meant share my love, not share their candy canes and Christmas cookies! Some people think it’s disgusting to share their food with a dog.”

“You think I’m disgusting! How about the 3-year-old and her political diatribes!”

“Oh, Peyton?” I asked. “You mean when she told us that President Obama says you’re not supposed to use your finger to pick boogers out of your nose? She’s just learning lessons in civics.”

“Well I certainly hope it civilizes her. In fact they could all use it!” he said as he pressed his nose to the window, leaving a big smudge. Then he raced around the room barking dementedly at a dog outside who had just dared to pee on our snow.


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