The family down the street was a typical Southern family; large, loud, raucous, and brimming with love and affection. Almost all of the familial stereotypes existed within this family unit. There were two doting, but dauntingly strict parents, the goofy immature tween-ager, the little ones constantly begging for snacks and older brothers and sisters too. Some of the older children had been living with Mom and Dad for years [doesn’t that sound famil-iar?].
In addition to the immediate family members, there were a host of nephews, uncles, and aunts who dropped in from time-to-time. Sometimes they helped Mom and Dad out by babysitting the youngsters; even feeding them when they cried out for food. At times, a dedicated peeper could observe the little home bursting with up to 15 immediate and extended family members.
Yes, birdwatching can be extremely entertaining, immensely interesting, and sweetly satisfying; especially when observing those crows down the street!
I find it uncommonly curious that the older “children” stick around to help feed and nurture the younger ones; just like I did for my Mom and Dad when I gave Baby Brother my bottle. Here is the unfolding of that story, as I recall it 😊:
“One day, as my parents cooed, kissed, and carried on over Brother as he laid quietly in his crib, I stood stoically near, observing these doting displays of delight and devotion—and thinking.
“They’re not thinking about it right now”, I said to myself, “but things could get a little hectic around here with two ‘babies’ to care for. And, there are other factors to be considered, behaviorist and parents alike believe sibling rivalry starts at or just before the arrival of the second child. The older child often becomes aggressive, acts out or even regresses. Regression means acting more like a baby—for example, by wanting a bottle, or peeing in their pants. Hmmm, what to do? What to do?”
These were the thoughts that haunted 19-month-old me in February of 1963.
“EUREKA”, shouted I to me, after an extended period of contemplation. “I’ve seen Mom give this new baby a bottle so, it’s only logical to assume that bottles must be for babies. I’ll give Baby Brother mine and be done with it.”
So, while grasping my bottle in my hand, I reached through the rungs of the crib and put my bottle in the Baby Brother’s mouth.
I also made this vow—in SUESS-A-NESE—in order to give it added gravitas; “This diaper action has to go too, for it is obviously something to catch baby doo-doo. I will no longer poo-poo nor pee-pee on me—that action is only for little babies, which I am henceforth not to be!”
The following poem by Edgar Guest sums up our joy at having an addition to the family unit.
A New Baby in The House
Something to talk about, something to do,
Something to laugh at the whole day through,
Something to look at with pride and with glee,
Something for friends to come in just to see;
Something you can’t sum up all the wonderful things
Of joy and delight which a new baby brings.
There’s a smile that is brighter than sunbeams of May,
A wave of farewell as you’re starting away,
A glad time of frolic which no one can steal,
A thrill inexpressible, lovely to feel.
There’s something to boast of and something to tell
When a baby has come to the place where you dwell.
There’s never an hour that is lonely and drear;
The days are filled up to the top with good cheer.
You have someone to play with and someone to sing to,
Someone to romp with and someone to cling to;
And always you’re finding some pleasure that’s new
When God has sent down a glad baby to you.
Counting Crows (a nursery rhyme)
ONE FOR SORROW
TWO FOR MIRTH,
THREE FOR A FUNERAL (goodbye Mr. Chip)
AND FOUR FOR A BIRTH