We celebrated Ender’s arrival by coming down with H1N1 (we think). Do you remember that? The pandemic that wasn’t? Austen wasn’t quite himself by the time Dziadzia came to stay with him and Flora and Sean and I left for the hospital; by the time Sean went to see the children that night, they were both wheezing, coughing and sniffling. In the night, Austen struggled for breath in Babi’s arms. By the time Ender was ready to come home, both Austen and Flora were too sick to come home. They spent two days sick at Babi and Dziadzia’s—until they infected Babi and Dziadzia and made them too sick to take care of the kids. By then, Sean was was wheezing too, so we brought the kids home—under orders to frequently wash their hands and not breathe on Ender. (We somehow managed to infect Adam and Aga too.) (Babi & Dziadzia = the grandparents; parents of Jane. Now you know.)
It sounds awful: it was actually wonderful. They were wiped and tired. So for about two weeks, we all mostly sat in the big bed, watching movies, reading books, nursing Ender, and napping together. It was a wonderful bonding experience, and a nice, gentle introduction into being a family of five. Neighbours and friends brought us dinners—as did Babi when she recovered. I’ve always hated the rush of people wanting to come see the new baby, wanting to hold the new baby, and my dream post-partum month would see me in bed with the baby, skin-on-skin, sleeping and feeding, and not doing much more than that. And that’s what we got—we put the house under quarantine, declined visitors, and enjoyed a real babymoon. All thanks to the swine flu. Thanks, pigs!
Our Doberman Anya added some unexpected drama to those first weeks, by, for the first time in her 11 year life, running away. The front door was left open… and she—nose put out of joint by the new baby? Or for some other, secret dog reason—wandered outside, down the alley, and onto the hill. She meandered up and down. By the time we realized she was gone and scrambled forces to look for her—the entire family and half the co-op combed the hill and the neighbourhood shouting for Anya—some kind people had taken her home for the night. We got her back the next day, none the worse for her adventure—perhaps even slightly better off, for her rescuers had given her wet dog food and a rawhide chew bone.
Austen to Ender: “Are you ready for the morning nippling process? You should have seen the yummy breakfast mama had—the milk will be extra delicious!”