Monday, July 26, 2010

Baby, Come Out!


I was recently going through old photo albums with a friend of mine. I had just discovered a treasure trove of family photographs in a trunk that had been stowed away in a closet, and was reveling in the excitement of what was revealed: my mother wore zebra print pants in the eighties, my dad had more than a slight fixation with silk paisley-print shirts during his college days, and various extended family members rocked ridiculous updos, facial hair, and makeup. I also found a number of photographs of my brother and I as very young children - me wearing printed stirrup pants, him in neon windbreakers. We were very much children of the nineties. It was marvelous.

Then I came across the few photos that had been taken on the day of my brother's birth. He had decided to arrive on the day of his baby shower. It's one of the few early memories of my life that I still have: I vividly recall repeatedly asking when I could eat some of the cake and being told that I had to wait until my mother had the first slice - and then she went into labor, and I never got any cake. It was pure mayhem. I was shoveled aside as people ran around, calling a cab, packing her bags, and grabbing the flowers and unopened gifts for the hospital. At one point someone remembered that there was actually a first child in the picture and I was carried off to stay at the home of a friend of a friend of a friend's until my new sibling arrived. Needless to say, I was more than a little grumpy - I was used to being the center of attention, and was not only mad that I was going to have to share the spotlight, but also that I still hadn't had any cake. I blamed my brother entirely. Before I even met him, I pegged him as a drama queen who had waited until the best moment to snag all the attention.

In Baby, Come Out!, a baby refuses to leave his mother's belly. She likes living the simple, easy life inside. Nobody can convince her to leave - not her mother, not her grandparents, and not even her siblings. But when Baby can't get any kisses, she decides that it's time to finally join everyone outside!

Baby, Come Out! is a charming read and a precious book. It is timeless and sweet, and children and adults will both fall in love with the story immediately.

My brother, who waited until the opportune moment to arrive, was very much like Baby to me. He lounged around in my mother's belly until he realized he was missing out on things in the outside world - love, affection, and attention. So while I may resent him a little for making me share everything, I guess I can understand. I still snag an extra piece of his birthday cake every year, though - hey, I need to compensate somehow!

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