Hungry Little Mouths

The grandbaby is almost here, a newborn bird into an unsteady land.

The grandbaby seems to be coming along well. Due May 2, he or she (we know the make, not the model) is gaining almost a half-pound a week these days.

At this pace, I’m predicting a 44-pound baby girl, which would put her on the large side. But I’ve been wrong before. Might be more. The lovely and pregnant older daughter is round as a pocket watch, and already cups the baby in her hands when she sits or stands.

The women in my family become slaves to their babies. Her own mother rarely put her infants down.

Posh would stand at the stove, wooden spoon in one hand, a baby in the other. It was her batting stance. Across three decades, that was the way Posh stood at the plate — stirring, mixing, feeding hungry little mouths.

This baby will come along just in time, into a world in need of new joys and fresh ideas. Rapunzel turned 30 the other day, so she’s out of ideas, though she is still sunny and hopeful in ridiculous amounts.

I remind her that, by this age, she should be more battle weary and starting to have significant doubts about the value of corporate dedication, or about romance, or about the other fractured payoffs of adulthood. Yet, Rapunzel dances on. She will make a fine auntie.

As for Uncle Smartacus, we will try to keep him as far from the baby as possible.

Smartacus and I were having a constructive argument the other morning about just what a slob he is. For two hours, amicably and with mid-range screaming – nothing dramatic – we screamed about his bedroom.

Let me ask: Are there still orphanages? Should I dress him in a little sailor suit and see if there are any takers?

That seemed to work for Stuart Little.

Smartacus is still a work in progress, as is his bedroom. I remain hopeful that we can work something out. Or he’s outta here, I swear.

When there is a quake in LA, it’s as if we have a common soul.

Meanwhile, we were all shaken, not stirred, by that little quake the other morning. Have you noticed that they seem to happen on Mondays, about two hours before you would normally awaken?

Get up. Get going. And never get too comfortable.

Remember that tremblor about a year ago, as COVID was beginning to claw the landscape? That was just before sunrise too. And remember the one on St. Patrick’s Day, about 7 years ago – dubbed the “The Shamrock Shake?” Also early, about 6:30 am or so.

When there is a quake in LA, it’s as if we have a common soul. For a few precious minutes, we are all fretting the same things – Will there be more? Will the house fall off its foundation? Will coffee make it stop?

I always turn to Twitter for the fastest, most-bizarre analysis of anything, the fling-it-against-the-wall, shoot-from-the-hip school of information we’re all desperate for in an informed Democracy.

“Feel that?”

“My cat was soooooo freaked.”

Then, like Cronkite, Lucy Jones weighs in quickly with the size and location.

Our house is sort of a quivery tent to begin with, as are most homes built in the ‘50s — in 30 seconds, before the work crew moved on to build the next balsa wood shack.

Not only is our house not bolted to the foundation, I’m not sure it has any nails in it.

How do you put a value on that? On my desk, ignored for three months, has been an application for earthquake insurance.

On Monday, I moved it to the front of the pile of bills and foreclosure notices, old poems I’d been working on, tattered love letters, assorted smut and various hate mail that clutters the left corner of my desk.

As you might imagine, it is quite a stack.

At this point, I don’t run and hide from anything, including obligation. For the most part, obligation has been my friend. It’s been pretty good to me.

So, I suppose I’ll finally file for quake insurance. I’ve grown to love my little house; protects me from the rain, the cold, and most bugs.

It’s a cozy place scented by Smartacus’ dirty socks, which I think he sometimes wears to shoot baskets – just the socks.

And each morning lately, a young and confused little bird has been tapping on the bedroom window seeking to come inside…tap-tap-tap.

“Hey, it’s me,” the small sparrow says. “Time for breakfast?”

I see her as my latest muse, sitting on the sill of a quivery house in quivery times.

Is she a cartoon series? A novel? A common soul?


Sure, why not?

9 thoughts on “Hungry Little Mouths

  1. It must be divine timing that your new grand baby is arriving at just about the time Smartacus will be departing for his college adventure. I predict you and White Fang will miss his dirty room and smelly sox more than you can now imagine. Thankfully, the baby will take up the attention slack. Wishing you and your wonderful family much joy with him/her!

  2. That bird is attacking its reflection in a territorial squabble over mating rights. Its enemy is itself. A metaphor for our times.

  3. No, that little bird tapping on your window is Posh making sure you all know that she is with you as you prepare to welcome this new little life into your midst.

  4. Maybe we have to fight with our parents before leaving the nest so they’ll let us go. I fought with my Dad over window washing. “Dad! If you can’t even trust me to wash the windows right, how can you trust me to take care of myself in Los Angeles!” He walked away with misty eyes. Gulp. If I could time travel, I’d take those words back first and then save JFK.
    P.S. Clean your room, Spartacus. Your mother would want you to. (Bwa ha ha ha, THE GUILT CARD.)

  5. Aren’t women a miracle ? Round as a pocket watch and still able to tell time in times like these. Many men I know would not know what time it was, any time, even if time popped all the leaf buds and blinded them with green haze. I think business is coming back, things opening up, they would say. Geesh. Warm up for the symphony, and they soundlessly whistle a little, atonally. And pregnant women are so lush, as lovely as pendant grapes, and as luminous and moist and shiny as new leaves. A May babe; ahhhhh…Spring !!!

  6. Your family’s blessed event less than a month away! Oh, the fun you will have with this precious Angel newly minted from God! Your beloved Posh will be there too, every time you look into your grand baby’s eyes. My youngest son and his wife are expecting in September, maybe we can set up a play day! P.S. In regards to the ‘hate’ mail’,just let me at ‘em; can’t beat a woman with Sicilian blood to orchestrate a proper vendetta!

  7. Lovely image of Posh at the plate. Can’t wait to hear about the estimate you get for earthquake insurance. My guess is it will cost more than the house.

  8. I did get earthquake insurance last time my company offered it. Doubled my premium, but I figured how can you replace a house and furnishings for 10,000$ (, the deductible) right?Worth it. Also, I have pictures of me with a baby on my hip doing something else. Seems like I did that for years. I would have that time back!

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