Fallen Acorn, Distance from Tree, etc.

Posted: May 21st, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Miss Kate | 1 Comment »

Last night our new friends Melissa and Adam (hi y’all!) came over for dinner. They made themselves a small human, the wickedly cute Raulie, a month before we finished making Kate. And with them we’ve developed a new way of entertaining which involves an early start date so the babies can roll around together, feeding and bathing the babes, then putting them to sleep (Raulie in the porta-crib in our office) to allow the grown-ups to eat, drink and be merry. (Amazingly I consumed more wine last night. Hello, Betty Ford Clinic?) It’s actually a very nice way to spend an afternoon/evening and makes me feel all 1950s. Really not sure why, other than I guess it feels like good wholesome fun, and that’s what they had back then.

Over dinner I asked Melissa what take she has on Raulie’s personality. She said, “Well, he’s nothing like us.” Raulie is a high-stim kid whose nanny takes him for walks on busy streets so he can check out the traffic. The quiet tree-lined Berkeley streets are a bore to him. And he’s a huge smiler, who turns it on the moment he sees someone (friend or stranger).

No, Melissa and Adam are not dour non-smilers, and I imagine they occaisionally enjoy watching cars go by (who doesn’t, really?)–but in general, this little man seems to be carving out his own personality path at the tender age of 8 months. This struck me, because it ends up Kate is not much for the smiling herself.

Kate’s cousin Gavin will be in politics some day. At age one he’s practically shaking hands and kissing babies at grocery stores. And with the name Gavin Stone, a senatorial career is undoubedtly in his future. And the kid smiles! He’s got a grin on his mug even when he’s reached the end of the table that’s been supporting him and crashes to the floor. A big dog runs up to him, knocks him down and licks the length of his face. Gavin: Still smiling!

Now Kate, God love her, does and will smile, but she’s parsimonious about it. She doesn’t just give them up for anyone. And at times this is a bummer. Those old ladies at the grocery store, for instance, are quite tenacious. They move in on Kate to admire her big rosy cheeks, then utter a stream of baby talk aimed at eliciting a smile. In response, Kate gives them her classic what-up-with-you? look, her huge unblinking eyes taking them in indifferently. Tenacious Old Lady only takes this as a challenge, telling me she’s a grandma herself, you know. Kate, Winner of All Staring Contests, is stone-faced. It can go on like this for what seem like days, so I often jump in with a little white lie–”Oh she just got up from a nap!” I say. “I think she’s still a little groggy.” Then we make a run for it.

Since having a child is the purest form of narcissism, this smile thing gets me. Anyone who has known me for more than 30 seconds knows I’m out in the world to get to know as many of the other humans as possible. I’m hard-wired this way, as if in my final resting place they will be handing out awards to those who have met (or spoken to) the most people. (Oh, and everyone I meet needs to love me too.) So what gets me with this Kate thing is she clearly doesn’t care. She has an idly-bored way of reacting to people who are scratching under their arms, jumping up and down, and making monkey noises for her. Which isn’t to say she’ll never smile. She just won’t when someone really wants her too.

I guess I’m just getting used to the fact that you go through all the months of weight gain, baked-bean cravings, and having to sleep with 8 pillows tucked along your body, only to get to the oddly-surprising realization that this baby is its own person. Be that as it may, I’m still looking forward to getting to know her.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “Fallen Acorn, Distance from Tree, etc.”

  1. 1 Kate's Aunt Lori said at 7:52 pm on May 25th, 2006:

    Just to let you know, Gavin will kiss on command. We are still working a little on technique, since he insists on coming at you with his mouth wide open! :)

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