Lucinda Katherine joined the GGH Shufflin’ Crew on October 09, 2012. According to the astrologists, it is a Libra baby birthday: day one of a “fair-minded, socially aware, and likable” balance seeker. According to the pop culture historians, it was a birthday previously celebrated by John Lennon. So we can safely infer that what we have here is an acerbic peacenik intent on starting a revolution from the comfort of her cradle. And she has. The only thing missing here in the tumult is the media and the handwritten “Bed Peace” signs on the window. But to construe the identity of the child with the impact her birth has on her family would be tantamount to baby profiling. Would it be fair to consider what’s now known as the Day Five Dead Of Night Diaper Blow Out as a defining moment? I held her naked and screaming over my shoulder, ankles grasped in my hands, her tiny behind pointed like a bazooka at Kate, who flailed a handful of wet wipes in self defense. Was that *really* the first day of the rest of our lives, from some insidious, quasi-symbolic standpoint? I hope not. For the sake of fairness to Lu and my own desire for a doom-free destiny, let’s just say the jury is still out on Number Two Daughter. Here’s what we know about her so far:
- The smallest member of our family has the biggest name. And I’m not even tossing in the funky hyphenated surname we gave her! So what do you call a kid whose name pays lavish 16 letter tribute to a beloved singer singer/songwriter, and a long-lost aunt? You call her Lu. It’s difficult to explain just how I know this, but this kid is a Lu. It’s a simple, salt-of-the-earthy nickname that we jazz into Lu Badu. She is frequently asked the question, “Whatcha doin’, Lu Badu? Whatcha Lu Badu-in’?” To date, she has yet to dignify it with a response.
- Unwaveringly sunny in disposition, unbelievably soft in complexion, unparalleled in cuddliness, and mind-warpingly adorable, Lu is the epitome of what women have in mind when they decide they want a baby. In no uncertain terms, they want LU. She cuddles like a champ. She coos with the mouth of the seraphim. She has been laying on the mush mouth kisses since the age of 3 months and shows no sign of relenting. In short, she is mommy heroin. And I am her Cobain.
- Lu is one of America’s foremost Hindu impression comics under the age of 3. Check out her wild-n-crazy Lakshmi!
- Our family dynamic has taken on a new dimension with the birth of Lu. As an only child, Mabel has always been “the show”. As Lu’s grown from an oblivious infant to a fully present and engaged baby, she soaks up Mabel’s antics with a rapt, dazzled grin. It’s like she’s camped out for weeks for tickets, and now—holy shit!– she’s IN THE BAND.
- I’ve nibbled her ears and can confidently report they are delicious, like tiny clementine sections. It is the flavor of startling revelation. I now completely understand where the famous Swiss Baby-Eater statue is coming from.
- Lu is a team player. Just look at her, trying to make the most of the one iota of micro-enthusiasm she *sort of* felt, when we took her to the ball park.
- She is just devastating in hats.
Our Lu is very much a work in progress. But I’m a strong believer in the Wordsworthian maxim “The child is the father of the man”, so I’m always watching for the blueprints of the person she will be in the behaviors I see today. So far it’s been a little like turning in a radio station through a haze of random static. Can a love of beets peg her as an old world gourmand? What about when she wordlessly sings along to Bowie, does that mean she’s going to keep my record collection in the family after I’m gone? Does her habit of climbing anything taller than herself prophesy more than just future visits to the ER? And if so, are we dealing with ambition or a love of risk? Or (terrifyingly) both?
But this weekend, I witnessed a moment that gave me a glimpse of what the rest of Lu’s life might be like. For the sheer hell of it and also because we must have lost our minds, we entered her into a diaper derby at a local summer fest. “It’ll be FUN,” we tried to convince a clearly given-to-misgivings Mabel, who only frowned sullenly in response. Heedless to the wisdom of a 6 year old, we crowded into our places on the blue tumbling mat, and I positioned Lu for her competitive crawl towards Kate on the other side. When the “release your baby” go-ahead was given, I let go of her. “Go to Mommy, Lu!” I said into her delicious little clementine wedge of an ear.
The noise of the crowd was like a screaming roar of an unseen animal that was everywhere and nowhere all at once. Lu sat down and looked at me, and then at the chaos that surrounded us. “Go ahead, honey, go to Mommy,” I said, but she just regarded me solemnly and looked again at the screaming, hopping, and wildly gesticulating nonsense. She appeared philosophical, as if she were wondering what the hell kind of planet this is, anyway. And there she sat, with a vaguely amused smile playing across her face, watching, until the last baby scrambled over the finish line.