Everywhere I look lately, there are babies. Several folks at work have just had or are getting ready to have babies. The nursery at church is a veritable cabbage patch. Every infant I see is gorgeous, but the most beautiful baby in my recent memory answers to the name of Reagan.
(Well, she doesn't exactly answer yet. More on that later.)
She hasn't always been perfect. Our youngest grandchild has just now evolved from what my wife calls the "noodle" stage. Babies start out as squirming, amorphous lumps before taking on their own appearance and character.
For a while, Reagan looked different every time we saw her. From one weekend to the next, her hair would grow or go away, then change color. Her facial features would transform enough that if I had been asked to pick her out of a police lineup, I might very well have convicted the wrong baby.
She will turn 7 months old this week, and her features finally seem to have settled. They've settled in a good way.
I suppose all infants do that. Another granddaughter looked like a pumpkin when she was young, but now, as a first-year teenager, she is so lovely that she could get the lead role in Beauty and the Beast. (As Beauty, of course.)
Reagan is not just pretty but also talented. At 6 months, she can roll over from front to back or from back to front. I'm not sure whether she is on par with other babies on that count, but I still felt it was worth mentioning.
Most important, she talks. Well, she talked. Once.
Last weekend, I was lying on the floor, playing with her. She had nothing to say. As soon as I handed her up to her mother, however, Reagan cooed, "Mama."
Everyone heard it and was surprised. They thought talking was pretty advanced for a 6-month-old.
(Personally, I thought that made Reagan a normal kid; if she had called me "Mama," there would have been reason to call a doctor.)
I don't know when most kids learn to talk. Maybe your children were born reciting Hamlet's soliloquy. If I recall correctly, I was in the 11th grade before I got around to forming coherent sentences, but I think that was just because my teachers never called on me because they said I had a blank look on my face.
I must add that although my early years were no wonder years, I did learn to tell time by age 3 and would amaze and amuse my relatives at family get-togethers.
"Budgie," they would say, "what time is it?"
I would run into the room with the clock on the wall and dutifully report back to an aunt or uncle that it was 3:45 or whatever.
Budgie? I have no idea why they called me that. It wasn't my nickname at home, and to this day I don't know what it was supposed to mean. A budgie is apparently a parakeet, but parakeets talk, so perhaps my relatives were being ironic.
Let me take that back. I doubt that any of those adults towering over me at family reunions had ever been ironic in their entire lives. Maybe they had just been nipping from the hot toddies they were supposed to be shuttling to my ancient, chair-ridden grandfather.
With just one word under her belt, Reagan won't be confused with a parakeet. If her sister and brothers are any indication, though, she will soon be running through the house, using her "outdoor voice," and we will have to tell her to quit talking so much.
Moore can be contcted at at firstname.lastname@example.org.