Noah’s face has a lot of work to do

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Noah’s face has a lot of work to do.

It stretches in outrage and subsides in sleep. It must move to find milk constantly and must house the breath taken second after second after second and onward for always.

He contorts and folds, stretches and bleats and allows his eyes to open and examine the nearest shapes and colours in astonishment and anger. Where is the milk?

The young parents are busy exchanging the intense talk of young people. They all stare down and talk about his eyes and his toes and the lost sock. Noah’s eyes are nearly black and they are very liquid. He closes them in exhaustion and retreats to deep sleep and dreaming of tiny babies which is then often mapped out on his face. Noah’s face has a lot of work to do.

Noah Linden Hood: The last days of waiting.

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05/03/17

Today we are going to the river in Strathalbyn for your baby shower. I have bought you a swaddling cloth and a brush from Argus House and also two books so we can begin the reading as soon as possible. It is warm and cloudy and I am at the shop waiting for the last customers to leave so I can bring your gift down to the river. The Aunties are making cheese platters. Your baby cousin, Max, will be reclining at ease, either full of milk or asking for more as these are his two most passionate interests. We are all wondering when you might be born.

28/03/17

Today your young father dropped in to our house in Kanmantoo and took his boots off inside and left there a pile of sand on the carpet. One day you will do that in their house and I will laugh and laugh.

06/04/17

Soon you will be born. Yesterday I came out of the door of my bookshop and there was your mother standing on the kerb and assessing the traffic. There was too much traffic for her to cross safely with you as cargo. So she went further down the street.

15/04/17

And now you are born, last night when we were all unaware and caught off guard and everyone shrieking the news to each other. Another grandson. Another!

On the way to the hospital this morning the youngest Aunt drove much too fast. I said: don’t drive so fast but she was leaning forward urging us all toward the hospital. We did not want you to grow up and leave before we got there. She tells me that giving birth is hard work.

And it is autumn, warmer than warm, leaves swirling and still we are driving. Then we are there and gazing down. You are wrapped up, a dot swaddled, your father exhausted and your mother triumphant.

So now: two grandsons:

Max: awake since 2.30 am and crowing and singing through the rest of the night, emerging into the morning, gleeful and waving from his mother’s drooping shoulder. He can still fit easily on his grandfather’s one arm.

Noah: crumpled and tiny and yawning strongly. You would fit into your grandfather’s one hand.