Friday, October 11, 2013

Bailey update: Cooing, gurgling and a little smile

Josh and Bailey do a little father-daughter bonding
after arriving home from the hospital late last week.
So it was a simple question, an off-hand remark that got my attention and sent my blood-pressure soaring.

“Dad, I’m going to take a nap, so are you okay with Bailey?”
The person asking the question was my daughter, Lauren; and Bailey, my granddaughter, wasn’t raising any objections. On this day she was weighing in at just less than eight pounds and celebrating her fourth birthday – four full days on planet Earth! So, really, what’s the big deal, right?

After all, she was snoozing comfortably in my arms, wiggling about a bit and giving off those soft cooing and gurgling sounds that babies often make.
“No problem,” I said with all the bravado and good cheer I could muster. I mean, really, what could go wrong?

Ten minutes later and Lauren was off and napping in her room; I was gently rocking Bailey who remained adrift in that twilight world that babies frequent – not quite here, but working hard to figure out all the strange sights, sounds and feelings that we call home.
Nearby, Maggie and Ella – the canine members of the family – shuffled about, circling in search of that sweet spot where they could fall on their haunches and continue their afternoon siesta.

For a moment the room was filled with the euphonic and blissful sound of absolute contentment: the barely audible wheeze of air filtering through the black and wet nostrils of the dogs and the itty-bitty nose of Bailey. I was still holding my breath.

And then the doorbell rang.
The dogs were immediately up and barking, dashing for the door. I was yelling at them to quiet down and, fortunately, little Bailey was ignoring the commotion. Perhaps her face scrunched up a bit as I maneuvered my way up and off the couch in the living room, holding her close as I got to my feet in what can only be termed a masterful display of strength and dexterity.

I’m thinking what I managed was the sort of acrobatic maneuver that Cirque Soleil builds entire shows around. Then again, maybe not!  The good news is Bailey’s eyes stayed shut and her gentle cooing signaled she was still asleep.
So, too, apparently Lauren; she remained dozing in her room, a mom sleeping off an early-morning feeding and fussy follow through that had lasted until the sun settled on the horizon a few hours earlier. 

I quickly made my way to the door, the dogs at my heels, Bailey still in my arms. To my surprise, waiting to greet me was, well, no one. I uttered a well-chosen expletive, happy that my granddaughter was sleepily unaware of her Pops popping off and wondering if kids in the neighborhood were playing “ring and run” in the middle of the afternoon.
Then I spotted a package at my feet and heard a UPS truck chugging away in the distance. Only a few moments later our little group – Bailey, Ella, Maggie and me – was once again snuggly resting in the living room, order restored and the future looking bright. The quiet calm had me nodding off a bit, a sentry momentarily falling asleep at his post.

So it was with a little jerk of fright that after only a few seconds or so I woke and glanced down at Bailey. She was just managing – intentionally or not – to lift the corners of her mouth in her first-ever smile.

I glanced around to share the moment with anyone in hailing distance. Maggie and Ella took the news with quiet delight, glancing my way when I shared the news of my granddaughter’s little accomplishment.

Their bemused doggie stares reminded me that such is the stuff of life and, most probably, there will be additional "firsts" down the road.

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