Horton Hears a Joy

Joy Elizabeth turned 3 months old on March 10. She is growing and gaining weight. We have retired her 0 to 3 mo baby clothes. We will be donating these tiny items to anyone who needs or wants them. Meanwhile we have unpacked and washed the 3 mo to 6 mo clothes that were donated to us from our friends and relatives. We have so many cute outfits.

Joy has started smiling and (almost) laughing. If Deb looks into Joy’s eyes and makes bird calls or kissy faces, Joy will smile. If Deb smiles, Joy smiles. Joy smiles for the girls, too. However, I can whistle, squeak, grin, emulate bird calls, speak in baby-talk, kiss her cheeks and neck, simulate superhuman flight over the bed, and more. Do I get a smile? Usually not. Joy looks at me with an expression that seems to say, You’re okay. You pick me up whenever I say Waah. You change my diapers. You hold me a lot. We’re good. But Mom makes me ecstatic.

Joy likes everyone. She calmly and patiently gives everyone a chance. Anyone can hold Joy and get the same nonjudgmental affect and questioning expression. She seems to be saying, Okay. You picked me up. You talk. I can wait.

Joy’s big sister Kat (who is in town for spring break) came over to visit yesterday. Kat’s research article “Self-reflective mentoring: perspectives of peer mentors in an education doctoral program” had just been published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, but Kat didn’t mention it. Kat was holding Joy, smiling at every syllable that Joy showered on her: “Ah-goo,” “Ooh-ooh,” “Eee-roo.” They took selfies together. Joy napped while Kat ate pizza. Then Kat fed Joy. It was amazing.

When Kat was around four years old, I sat on the carpet in her room and counted her books (Dr Suess, Goodnight Moon, Traveling to Tondo, etc.). I think she had around 900 books. I wish we had kept them, because I want to read stories to Joy.

Kat has always loved a good story. She was probably in 3 mo to 6 mo clothes when she first sat on my lap and listened to me read out loud: Horton Hears a Who. Over the years, I read it to Kat and Emily a hundred times.

As Kat sat with Joy on her lap, the story came back to me. I watched baby Joy, who has barely outgrown her 0 to 3 mo clothes, coo to big sister with the tiniest of voices: “Ah-goo.” 

And tonight, as Deb and Joy and Mary and Andi attend Seussical at Francis Howell High School, I will paraphrase Dr. Suess:

And that Ah-goo… That one small extra ah-goo put it over! Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean. And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?… They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.”

Yes, Joy, you will always be a person, no matter how small.

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