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Baby’s Museum Trip

April 4, 2009

It’s quite remarkable the way a baby can sharpen the mind and improve conversation skills. I first noticed this a few months ago when I found I could talk for 20 minutes about how Little Janey sat up this morning and not once be bored or at a loss for what to say next. I never tire of talking about her.

And it gets better. Jane has hit a number of milestones in the last couple weeks. She’s learning how to crawl, she’s finally able to sit up on her own and can practice walking. Not on her own, of course. You have to stand behind her, bent over a bit holding her hands. Then she will tentatively put one foot in front of the other, shakily put the other foot in front, indicate which direction she wants to go by leaning, occasionally stopping to look up at you as if waiting for a signal on what to do next. It’s slow, it’s sloppy, her legs wobble a bit too much, she sometimes steps on her foot and, in taking the next step, pulls her own sock off. It’s hell on my back, but it is walking of a sort and for an 8-month-old baby, it ain’t bad.

So last Sunday H and I took Little Janey to PS1, a somewhat avant-garde museum in Long Island City in Queens. This was our baby debut, the first time we took her on an adult outing, a place that wasn’t just friends or other parents and their babies, and all the while I’m thinking, “man, this is the cutest little baby anybody’s ever seen. She is just gonna brighten their day.” I looked forward to it, not just because I enjoy this museum, but because I was sharing with the world, for the first time, the cutest little baby any of these people had ever seen. (Did I already mention that? Oh well, it’s worth saying again.) Just seeing her would brighten their day. My gift to the PS1-going public.

At 8 months, she’s a little young for art, but I saw right away she was getting something out of it. (Clever child!) I could tell by the way she started vocalizing with her little pre words “wa wa wa wa ayyyeeeah!” I could only imagine what the people around us were thinking at the sound of her chatter. (“How adorable!” probably.)

There are parents who think this way about their babies even though they’re wrong. Their baby might be special to them, but to the rest of us? Not so much. You know it, I know it, I wonder if they know it. Thank god I’m not one of them! Janey’s the cutest. Everyone who sees her says so. She is one amazing baby. Can you tell I’m a proud father?

Anyway, the theme at the museum turned out to be video art, with loud obnoxious audio. I thought it might hurt Jane’s ears and so I skipped many of the exhibits, annoyed that they didn’t take delicate ears into account. “Why does it have to be so loud?!?”

Jane was getting a little antsy in her carrier and so was I so I found a little out of the way spot to take her out and practice walking. I wanted some space, some privacy, but I was also thinking what a nice treat it would be for people to happen upon us, a father and daughter sharing a milestone, that magic moment when a baby learns to walk. This will be my gift to those lucky souls who walk in the right room at the right moment, an agent of serendipity. What I had in mind was art, my own art, performance art right here in the museum.

I took her out of her carrier and we walked for several minutes but nobody did walk in and accidentally find to their delight. It’s too bad really. In fact, it wasn’t until we were leaving when a young woman in a group of teenagers walked by, she lit up at the sight of Jane and said audibly to nobody, I think, “ohh what a cute baby!” You betcha!

I worry about her growing up, getting precocious, getting a mind of her own and my own responsibility to raise her right. She will be too cute to discipline, I couldn’t bear it. Not that that adorable little girl will ever need or deserve it so this is academic, but still…

From → Jane

One Comment
  1. How very cute!! And the fun only begins.

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