My wife and I had the good fortune a while back, to have lunch with a friend, Raenell, and her beautiful baby Noah. He was tucked into a carrier that doubled as his car seat. It was quite an affair, with enough buckles and straps to keep an astronaut in place. None of our five kids had been encapsulated as little Noah was.
I admired Noah, for he took it all in stride, smiling, as only babies can. I took a minute to study the technology used to create his little carrier; I was impressed. It also took me back a few decades, when my wife and I were trying to come to grips with our babies.
When our firstborn son, Patrick, was born, I wasn’t permitted to watch his birth—that simply wasn’t done. As a matter of fact, I didn’t hold him until we brought him home from the hospital.
Patrick was our entertainment. We enjoyed every change in his behavior, noted that he was no doubt the most perfect child born in the previous hundred years. Most all of our family agreed; but, one fellow with whom I worked, said: “That’s one ugly baby.” That is not how you win friends and influence people.
Auto safety in 1959 had become an issue with car buyers, and the manufacturers had only just begun to include safety belts as standard equipment. Taking a cue from the car makers, and not wanting Pat to become airborne at the touch of the brakes we purchased a “Baby Safety Seat” for him. It consisted of a lightweight metal framework, with a fabric seat. There were two flimsy U-shaped metal brackets that hooked over the back of the front seat. You merely hooked the gadget over seat, and stuffed the little passenger inside. No straps, buckles, safety belts—-not even a wrap or two of clothesline to keep him secured.
As far as diapering him, “Pamper”, was merely the way a baby was treated. His diapers were cloth, and after he’d soiled them, they were rinsed, placed in the diaper pail until they were laundered. My wife was a stickler for white diapers, and after bleaching, and laundering, she hung them one by one on the clothes line to dry. She felt blessed to have an automatic washer.
Sharon sterilized his bottles and nipples and warmed his formula. When we switched him to regular milk, we warmed that as well. There was a feeding schedule that had to be met, and at night, Sharon was up and down all night. You may be surprised to know that I took an occasional turn.
By the time Michele, our second was born, we’d streamlined the operation, for instance, we’d quit sterilizing bottles. We’d even stopped warming formula; in fact, we switched to fresh milk—-cold milk, right from the bottle. We realized that tip-toeing around the house if a baby was asleep just didn’t cut it; our kids weren’t going to be raised in silence. We brought all five of our kids up with all the normal sounds in an adult household. They slept through almost any racket.
When Carrie, the last of our five was born, she was treated to a movie the first night out of the hospital. Somehow, she survived, and has not held it against us. She did say that she would have preferred a different film. It seems “Whatever Happened To Virginia Woolf”, wasn’t her cup of tea.
Here’s an easy one for you to ponder.