The Newborn

I came across this poem by C Day Lewis, apparently written on occasion of the birth of his son, Daniel Day Lewis. Here are some excerpts:


The Newborn

This mannikin who just now
Broke prison and stepped free
Into his own identity--
Hand, foot, and brow
A finished work, a breathing miniature--
Was still, one night ago,
A hope, a dread, a mere shape we
Had lived with, only sure
Something would grow
Out of its coiled nine-month nonentity.
:
:
This morsel of man I've held--
What potency it has,
Though strengthless still and naked as
A nut unshelled!
:
:
We time-worn folk renew
Ourselves at your enchanted spring,
As though mankind's begun
Again in you.
This is your birthday and our thanksgiving.

- From Pegasus and Other Poems by C. Day Lewis

Poetry aside, it's been two months now, so what have we learned about parenthood? Let me list five things I had next to no idea about:

  • It's tough on the mother, particularly if she's breastfeeding. During the hustle and bustle of pregnancy, it's easy to lose sight of the challenges thereafter. It's too easy to focus on the delivery. If anything, the real fun starts after the baby is born. Three hour feeding cycles can get exhausting very fast!

  • I love the way Virj throws his hands in the air when I set him down quickly. Apparently, it's called the Moro Reflex and is normal in newborn infants. It makes him look like a Hare Krishna member.

  • Similarly, rooting and grasping relfexes whereby the kid will look for a nipple to suck when pressed against a chest, any chest .. ahem .. or will clutch anything that comes his way, particularly our fingers.

  • Oh the sweet sweet sounds of a burp! 'nuff said!

  • Mylicon. Why does it have to be so expensive? Welcome to the Baby Industrial Complex (tm)!

On the whole, it's exhausting work but I can already feel our perspectives on life changing and for the better.

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- January 21, 2008 2:48 PM // Virj