The Wonder of Babies

Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t, but back in the early days of the internet, I was a semi-famous web designer, specializing in sites for people working with breastfeeding mothers and babies. Now, THAT was a career I never would have foreseen (besides not knowing there would BE a World Wide Web, I was pretty sure I would never reproduce. My first love didn’t want children (and never had them, just cats), and I thought they’d slow down my feminist agenda, or something.

Turned out, though, that not only did I like babies quite a lot, doing websites allowed me to stay home and watch them grow, with plenty of time left to support other mothers and babies. And by gosh, I got a career out of the whole deal. That pretty much fit right in with my agenda, after all.

While that career path has dwindled a bit (oh wait, I am still the webmaster for some organizations), my enjoyment of babies has stuck with me. I love the potential. I love watching them change every day (though I haven’t had a chance to do that in a long time), I love watching parents grow and rise up to all the inevitable challenges, or lean on others when those challenges overwhelm.

This was my challenge. No sleep! Lost me a spouse! I wasn’t much fun. Photo by @andreafwagner via Twenty20.

Parenting brought me life-long friends (I have some from 30 years ago, when I first got pregnant and looked up information on online bulletin boards). Now that my friends are grandparenting, I get the joy of watching those relationships develop. It’s really amazing how my friends have been helping their children’s children during the pandemic, ranging from caring for them so the parents can work from home to home-schooling programs on Zoom.

It doesn’t appear that I’ll be a grandparent (I guess if K fathered children, I’d not get to see them, and there are some challenges for D). I guess that’s good for overpopulation. But I’ll miss having the chance to be there for my sons and their partners, and to hold and smell little ones again (yes, I remember there are also bad smells).

This generic newborn stands in for the real one, who I don’t want to plaster all over the internet, since he’s not my child. Photo by @christyhermogenes via Twenty20.

But, other people’s kids aren’t quite so set on not having babies, so I got to be a great aunt by marriage a few days ago. I’m excited, though the pandemic means I only get to see photos of the little guy. I look into his face, with eyes old beyond his age, and see so much potential. He already shows what he might look like when he’s older, with a large mouth, lots of hair, and very expressive eyes. What a wonder, indeed. His young mama is enjoying him, and his grandparents are ridiculously excited, as they should be. I get to enjoy it vicariously, which is better than a kick in the head!

The actual baby. I got permission to share. Isn’t he adorable.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few very scary months in the world, but I’m very glad that I will have a sweet baby boy to distract me and to remind me of the timeless wonder of babies as they grow. May he grow into a world full of peace, love, and kindness.

Baby’s First Hay

Rip the bull calf has had a lot of adventures in his short bovine career. He was born! Something happened! He rumbled around! He was in a scary place with many frightened animals! He rode in another rumbly thing! A human fed him milk! He was in a grassy place. He slept. Many humans and dogs appeared. He ate and slept.

Sleep and eat.

Then, one day the human who fed him and the large human picked him up (he’s a small calf still) and put him in another rumbly thing, only one that smelled better and wasn’t so rumbly. They called the SUV.

Rumble rumble.

They rumbled along for a while. When Rip had to poop, they stopped and took the poop away. Weird. After some time, they let him out, and he was in a new place! It had other cows and calves. And different friendly humans, one who appeared to be ready to calve soon, herself.

She has a calf in there! See!

Rip liked the place. He still got his milk, but also had a herd to hang with, when they’d let him. There was some tasty grass, too.

A few days later, though, they put him back in the fancy rumbly thing. He had to poop in the same place, and also peed. The female human said she sure was glad they put a tarp in the back seat. So, that’s what the strange slippery brown dirt he was standing on was called.

Next time the rumbling stopped, he was back at the first place with all the dogs. He liked to try to play with the little white one, but the male human didn’t like it.

I’ve put on a little weight!

The other female made him feel better by giving him a delicious kind of feed she called a peppermint horse treat. That was fun to chew.

More horse treats, please! (He won’t get any!)

There was a rectangular prickly thing in the wheelbarrow next to Rip’s pen. It smelled really good. The big male human broke some of it off and tried to get Rip to nibble on it. Nope.

No, thanks. Sniff, sniff.

Then he set some of it on the ground. Rip changed his mind about it, after a lot of sniffing. He put a bit of it in his mouth and chewed. Not bad!

Mmmm.

The humans called it hay, and they kept telling him it was just like grass, just dry. Rip, having so far only lived in the height of summer drought, thought all grass was pretty dry.

Hay is good.

It was time for a nap. His plan is to eat and nap enough to get big and strong, so no human can pick him up and rumble him off again.

Shh, don’t tell him about trailers, and how he’s being trained to walk on a lead for easy loading. Dream on, Rip.