Monday, August 24, 2009

Cincy Loves Baby V

Dear George,

            We just enjoyed the perfect weekend.  J and our 11-month-old granddaughter V flew up from New Orleans on Friday morning for a three-day visit.  Katja and I picked them up at 10 a.m., and we went straight to Katja’s agency where a little bird had told her colleagues there might be a surprise visitor.  Kathy and Adrianne came out to the lobby first, and we were joined shortly by Ginny, Chuck, Pam, Pat, Sue, Jeannie, Todd, Judy S., Judy H., and others I can’t even remember.  V was looking so cute, and everybody ooh’d and aah’d.  She’s so sociable.  She looks from one person to the next, responds to each with a smile, and is entirely comfortable being picked up and held by strangers.  She walked a little bit for her audience, 

then scooted down the hallway on her hands and knees. As we left, J thanked everybody for being so adoring.  Donna had been away with a client, but she said that when she came back to work everybody was talking about how friendly and relaxed V is.

            The dogs were curious when we got home.  Mikey loves little children, particularly for the purpose of kissing, and he approached V right away.  V is used to having a big dog at home, her family’s bull terrier Titus, and she seemed entirely comfortable with Mike and Duffy, even when Mike did give her a sloppy kiss on the face.  Duffy is more standoff-ish.  He gave a quick sniff, but then went off to play with his 

rubber chicken.  J doesn’t encourage V to play with Titus at home for protective reasons, and we adopted the same policy, though V did crawl over and pat the dogs on several occasions.  Mike and Duffy were very good with her and seemed to instinctively know how to be gentle with a baby.  Once we were settled in K called from NOLA to see how things were going.  It’s the first time she’s been away from V, and she seemed a little blue.

            V is more mobile each time that we see her.  She can go from a seated to a standing position readily without holding onto anything, and she’s able to walk up to ten feet or so without taking a spill.  She is very active and likes to get hold of just about any object within reach, most of which wind up in her mouth for a quick once over.  We haven’t yet accumulated baby stuff for her visits, though it suddenly occurred to me that I have a big collection of toy figures that I’ve accumulated over the years to decorate the shelves in my home office.  I went up to the attic and got my collection which filled up a large Husman’s potato chip barrel.  V was enthralled.  She stood at the side of the barrel, took the toys out one by one, manipulated

them with her hands, put them in her mouth, then set them on the floor to go on to the next one.  Soon we had a bedroom floor filled with ducks and chickens, Mickey Mouse and Wonder Woman, frogs and cows, and who knows what.

            Donna came over for dinner on Friday evening, and she was captivated.  She held V and they played and played.  Donna would love to be a grandmother, and we invited her to be V’s grand-auntie in the meantime.  Katja made some manicotti, which V enjoyed as much as the adults did, and we had a

wine-tasting in which we put people’s appraisals in our new wine journal that Katja bought last week.  Donna was struck by what a good dad J was, and I told her later that J and K are such loving parents that it’s easy to see why V is such a happy baby.  

            The main event on Saturday was a trip to the zoo.  I thought that V would be too young to do this meaningfully, but Katja was eager to go.  My prediction was all wrong.  The first exhibit we came to was the elephant yard, and V was virtually hypnotized by the sight of these gigantic creatures extending their trunks up to the haybins suspended from high posts.  Her eyes fixed on the big animals, and she pointed to show her dad.  The same thing happened with the giraffes and then the rhino, and it was quickly apparent 

that we have a very responsive and perceptive baby in our midst.  V has five words in her vocabulary to date (Mama, Dada, dog, bird, and go), so J was eager to take her into the bird house.  Spotting birds is a tricky business since many are flying about or hidden among the leaves, but V did a lot of accurate pointing.  She liked the gorillas and the monkeys and the peacock wandering free on the zoo grounds.  In fact, she liked everything.  We were at the zoo for at least three hours, and there wasn’t even a moment of irritation from this little baby.

            Katja and I got to spend a lot of time with baby V, carrying and holding and playing and cuddling. From time to time J was off doing other things, and we became momentary caretakers.  Katja was delighted 

with this, and she and V had a lot of happy moments playing together and interacting.  It was really pleasing to see, and I’m sure Katja felt the same way about my enjoying Baby V.  

            Katja made Swedish pancakes on Sunday morning, and then we went to the Tri-County mall area to buy a new camera.  V played on the floor while the adults watched the ATP men’s tennis final on TV, and 

then she and Katja took naps while J and I went for a late lunch to Skyline Chili.  We all took a walk on Ludlow Ave., then packed the car for our trip to the airport.  We’d decided to stop by Buck and Helen’s grave at Spring Grove Cemetery on our way, but the cemetery was just closing as we arrived.  J said his grandparents would have appreciated our good intentions, but I thought they would have been really annoyed that we failed to get their great granddaughter there in time.

            V cried all the way to the airport.  It was entirely out of character, since she hadn’t done any extended crying the whole trip.  Then I thought about some classic research which demonstrated that newborn infants on the maternity ward show decided preferences for orange vs. tomato juice, depending on 

their mothers’ preferences.  I wondered if V were picking up the sad vibes from our family about leaving one another and letting us know about her sadness too.  We exchanged some hugs and affection at the airport terminal, and then J and V were on their way.  Katja and I were pretty quiet on the way home.  I asked Katja if she thought we’d done all o.k. as grandparents, and she thought we probably did.





No comments:

Post a Comment