I know it's been a long time since the last bloviation, but there'll be no apologies this time. Nosiree! The Ol' Bloviator has been thoroughly involved in the serious--and ultimately joyful, of course--business of bringing his grandson, Barrett Callaway Cobb, into this world. (Ok, I admit that I didn't do it entirely by my lonesome. Barrett's mom, who proved herself a real trooper, was actually a big help at several points in the process.) We had actually been looking for the little dude since Cinco de Mayo. I certainly understand why he'd be reluctant to come out and risk getting tequila or Tecate sloshed all over him. However, he played hard to get for another ten days before finally deciding to join those of us who were damn nigh exhausted with anticipation. I'll guarantee you one thing, he was a sight for the OB's famously bloodshot eyes when he showed up on May 16, all six pounds, fifteen ounces and twenty-one inches of him. Maybe it was his extended stay on the inside, but for whatever reason, the little fellow showed up with some complications, that, while not life-threatening, were worrisome enough to land him in ICU for a little while. What makes newborns so precious, I think, is their complete innocence and lack of control over or responsibility for anything that happens to them. Whether it's my grandbaby or someone else's, to me there's just no more heart-wrenching sight than a fragile , defenseless infant all wired and tubed up on account of something that it couldn't have caused and obviously can't begin to comprehend. Some of Barrett's little sidekicks in ICU were in truly critical condition, and from the looks of some of their parents, if the poor little things knew what might be in store for them at home, they might not care much whether they ever managed to leave the hospital. It seems too great an injustice for God to tolerate that so many newcomers to this world right now have to face such terrible odds from day one. I respect the moral argument against abortion, but I can't respect the morality of an argument against anything that might prevent unwanted and unwise pregnancies from happening in the first place.
Enough of the bombast and gloomspeak! I'm delighted to tell you that young Barrett himself seems well out of the woods and looks for all the world like a healthy, happy--and hungry--baby. In sum, he's in good shape for all the invaluable mentoring that his grandpa is going to lay on him. Naturally, since I've been a grandparent for about ten days, I've got the whole thing figured out. Obviously, it doesn't exactly take a genius to see that the grands go ape over a new arrival because they get to re-live parenthood's upside while leaving the downside to the kids who ran them ragged when they were coming along. It's also natural that grandparents seize on the opportunity to correct what they did wrong the first time around. In truth, most of us probably did our greatest disservices to our kids by saying "yes" when "no" was the more appropriate response. Our most painful memories of parenthood, though, are of those times when we punished when we might have forgiven or scolded when we might have hugged, so grandparental overindulgence of the little ones is simply a given.
As the proudest grandpa ever, I naturally ache to share a few dozen pics of the best looking grandson ever, but his parents worry about overexposure, especially given the likelihood that Hollywood will come calling any day now. Also, it would be thoughtless of me to crush the spirits of all of those other grandparents out there who doubtless think their little tyke is the cutest baby around. Suffice it to say, Barrett is the real deal, and he clearly thinks his grandpa is too. In fact, I felt sorry for all the others competing for his affection, because he so obviously preferred me. I don't mind telling you folks that heading back to Georgia from Texas, I found my right arm involuntarily moving into cradling position and my mind composing little sermonettes and life-tips for the little warm bundle that should have been resting there. (Ok, so I got a few strange stares in the airport. So what?) It really hurt to know that he'd be missing me just as badly, of course, and our first visit via Skype yesterday put me in the best mood I've been in since we got back. Still, there's just so much critical information and advice that needs imparting. For example, much as his grandpa is wont to do when he is in private, or at least THINKS he is, ol' Barrett likes to pass gas with gusto and flair, regardless of where he is or who's around. Obviously, it's good to have this confirmation of the" chip off the old block" thing, but Podner, if you keep telegraphing your move by locking your arms over your head, scroonching your face up into a corkscrew and pulling your legs up against your belly, you can't really expect that anybody's ever going to believe the dog did it.