babies and babies

You would think it was all babies around here, as much as I’ve been posting about this news (here and elsewhere), and it pretty much is. My wife came home from two weeks of grandma-duty in New York to bring more reports of the babies, their brother, my daughter (the momma), and her husband. So it’s been a high profile matter in my life recently.

You see Rett and Evie (Everett Travis and Elizabeth Viola) about a week old above. They actually made a trip to Starbucks this week, though I can remember the days when you didn’t dare take a newborn outside of your house for weeks and did your best to limit visitors bringing in nasty germs. The day my wife returned from NYC, their other grandmother arrived for a stay of more than a month. It happens that she’s an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, so she should be handy with mom and baby.

But these aren’t the only babies that deserve a shout out.

One day several years ago, my son and I returned from a weekend at the cabin to find new members of our family. Being unsupervised, my wife had gone to a bird show (there, apparently, are such things) and found herself in possession of a pair of love birds, whom she named George and Gracie. Lest you be misconceiving these things, love birds don’t coo and chirp. They screech! And they bite! There’s nothing lovely about love birds aside from their pair bonding and bright colors. But there they were, members of the family.

And the two made many unsuccessful attempts to expand the family. In an ill-advised maneuver to abet their plans, my wife added a nesting bowl to their cage. After a time, Gracie began filling it with sterile eggs. She would sit on them hopefully for weeks and weeks, and eventually my wife would remove the fetid things and crack them open above the garbage disposal, always finding them unfertilized. Yet it continued.

And it happened again in the weeks before her trip to New York. There was a clutch of three eggs in the nesting bowl, and my wife wanted to clean them out of there before she left, so the morning before her departure, she reached into the bowl and then tugged her hand back quickly, having touched something soft and yielding among the eggs.

As you’ve guessed, it was a hatchling. George and Gracie had finally managed to get it right. The trouble was, my wife, the primary caregiver to all living things in our house, would be leaving the next day, and would these unexperienced parents be able to care for their offspring as well as she could?

But go she did. And parent their offspring George and Gracie did. Behold below the two-plus week old baby love bird:

I was on duty as primary human caregiver for the first two weeks of Ronnie’s life (points to the first one to come up with the obvious source to that name), and in that time he (I say it’s a he, but I don’t know that, and “Ronnie” is sufficiently androgynous to serve) fell out of the nest twice, falling 10 or so inches to the wire floor of the cage to huddle in a corner, sometimes attended by his mother and sometimes not. I returned him to the nest both times, getting bitten for my trouble, but the third time I just left him down there, assuming that the fall was probably worse than whatever hardships he (she? it?) might suffer on the floor of the cage. Ronnie didn’t seem to be any worse for it.

When my wife returned and examined the situation, having assumed Ronnie would die on my tenure, we moved the nest lower on the side of the cage so that should Ronnie fall out again, the fall wouldn’t be as far.

And so the household expands. I was never too pleased to have love birds added to the mix, but seeing them finally work out how to bring forth offspring, I’m willing to concede them their success. (And what choice do I have anyway?)

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