I was sitting on my bed holding the fussing baby when Paka my usual companion jumped onto the bed. He saw the baby and promptly crawled underneath the comforter peeping out at me and the baby as if to say ” Mom there is an alien in my bed.”
Twenty five years after having my last babies , there is a baby in the house again.
He arrived unexpectedly 5 weeks early from planet van Zyl bearing gifts from the past and dreams for the future His arrival caught us totally unawares, causing mild panic and a scramble to prepare a place for this new member of the family.
He brought eyes like his dad, a mouth like his mom, the length of his maternal great grandfather, fingers and toes like his mother, dark hair like the van Zyls. Gifts with the amazing ability to change depending on who he presents it to. To the van Zyl family he presents pure van Zyl gifts, to the van der Walt family van der Walt and Louw gifts.
In the midst of the excitement and discussion of his gifts, he placidly lies waiting for his needs to be met. Beware however if the service is poor or slow. He will let you know in no uncertain terms that he is dissatisfied. He makes his needs known in an alien language with grunts, moans grimaces, hiccups, sneezes and if all else fails angry screams which echo through the house.
Caring for his needs becomes an all consuming passtime. We stumble through sleep deprived days. We rejoice at each dirty and wet nappy. We cheer loud burps and wipe baby spit with joy. We marvel at the way he sucks and co-ordinate breathing with swallowing. We sit staring at him while he sleeps, afraid that he might just forget to breathe. After all only a week ago he was still in hospital and a very sick baby.
Soon we learn to understand his language and the alien becomes a beloved member of the family. All the discussions about the inheritance of his traits fade away and he becomes Nico, a little boy wrapped in a package all his own. We forget that he came from planet van Zyl , we forget that his eyes looks like this one’s and mouth like that one’s. We love him just for who he is.
For Nico: You are You
That is truer than true
There is no one alive who is
Youer than You – Dr Seuss