This new baby is like a shot of Jameson’s. And about as big.
I personally interviewed this new baby the other day, to be sure that all I was hearing was true.
Some of the highlights:
Like most babies, this one’s a charmer, a con artist…she really owns the room.
Only four days old, this new baby already rolled her eyes at me, confirming she is, indeed, a female.
Was it something I said? Something I ate? As with all women, she won’t tell you, preferring to see you twist in the wind a bit.
I found, instantly, that I could cradle her in one hand, but I used two just to be safe. She is vellum, a whisper, a poem, a tall shot of Jameson’s – pretty much everything I love.
She’s 6 pounds! Seriously, 6 pounds? I’ve had sneezes that weighed more than 6 pounds.
But beautiful? Yeah, I guess she’s OK.
Once I had her attention, I spoke to her a little, sang her the Chicago Bears fight song.
“We’ll never forget the way you thrilled the nation, with the t-formation…”
I cooed. She cooed right back. It was ridiculous. Like a couple of mourning doves. Frankly, we were a little drunk on each other.
I explained that it’s only May, and the Chicago Cubs are already making a valiant bid for last place in their division. In a month, I predicted, they’ll probably have it locked up.
“Wait’ll you meet the Cubs,” I tell her. “They’re like the Marx Brothers of baseball.”
I told her some local baseball trivia. How Dodger fans used to throw packs of gum to Dusty Baker in the outfield. How Glendale cops used to escort Casey Stengel home when he was soused.
I explained the odd rituals of billionaires, and how they’re always getting divorced, then remarried, then divorced again.
“Best not to marry one,” I told her. “At heart, they are all czars.”
I explained parimutuel betting, and the always confusing 9/2 odds that throw off so many beginners.
I taught her about trifectas. And how to box them.
Her color is good. Her eyes sharp, not muddled, or crusty, as is the usual way of kids in our family, and especially the adults.
I warned her that her hands and fingers were a little too perfect, and that one day she will jam one playing softball or football – OUCH! — probably the middle one, so that it always has a node on the knuckle.
Is that good, Papa?
Well, boys like that, I told her. When you can throw a spiral, boys like that, though I told her not to give a whip about what boys think.
“Like billionaires, boys are cretins,” I told her. But you’ll eventually find one or two you might like.
“And if you ever get to Wisconsin,” I told her, “be sure to order the blueberry pie.”
That was about it. I was going to explain the infield fly rule, and the International Monetary Fund, but it was getting late. And, in truth, I don’t fully understand either one.
Things got quiet. I couldn’t resist brushing my thumb against the softness of her brow. She seemed to like that.
Next to hers, my skin looks like Russian farm land.
“There should be a line of makeup called baby glow,” I told her. “And maybe a brand of beer.”
One day, I told her, she will put makeup on those cheeks, and lipstick on the lips and that greasy black goo women use to crud up their eye lashes.
Till then, she is nothing so much as a tiny lily. I saw her on Thursday, her first Thursday in the world, and warned her that Friday would be even better – her first Friday.
Like Uncle Smartacus, she seems to have her days and nights mixed up, awake at all hours, then sleeping much of the day.
According to her mom, she is fully awake at 2 am.
“What have we here?” a newborn thinks at 2 am. “Ooooo…boobs?! Ooooo… bottles?! And servants to carry me this place and that.”
Cleopatra never had it so good.
You know, a comedian once asked: “Babies? Babies? Why let a stranger into the house?”
Indeed, babies have fallen out of fashion. Many young couples now prefer plants to pets, and pets to babies. U.S. birthrates have fallen steadily the past 14 years.
Yet, the other night, Catherine Margaret Finn, all 6 pounds of her, reminded me of one very important thing: Children give you your childhood back.
All the joys you think you outgrew – ground balls and fireworks shows, freeze tag and Halloween parties – well, kids let you re-live them again.
No one really explains this to young adults; I guess it’s just implied.
Why let a stranger in the house? Because you want to see the world with fresh eyes again — a little more laughter, a little more hope, a few more ground balls.
And baby glow, of course — a sheen that shames the sun.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there. This will be a particularly joyous one, now that we can gather again. Best to all. Meanwhile, please stay tuned for details on the upcoming Happy Hour Hike, postponed till later this month. For a calendar of events, gear, books, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com. If you missed it, you can also find my recent tribute to mothers. Thank you. Cheers!