Swooshing into grandparenthood with Noah and IdaROBIN WASHINGTON COLUMN: This better go right. If not, I can see Noah 18 years from now, lawyer on retainer, saying, “That’s the guy!” — the grandparent who handed him over to the person who, um, shortchanged him as an infant.
This better go right.
If not, I can see Noah 18 years from now, lawyer on retainer, saying, “That’s the guy!” — the grandparent who handed him over to the person who, um, shortchanged him as an infant.
But Jewish people have been doing this for more than 5,000 years, and our mohel clearly is an expert.
“Somebody help hold him down,” she says, and one grandma and a courageous non-related male reach for him, the rest of the men stepping back, cringing. Noah cries as he’s pinned down on the table, and before you know it —
“There. All done,” the mohel says, Noah crying no louder than he had been and taking it like, well, a brave little baby. With a mild local anesthetic used these days, it helps that his dad’s a pharmacist.
Twin sister Ida gets off much easier. All she has to do is accept her Hebrew name.
And with that, they’re welcomed into a tradition and culture. Yet whether we got around to those details or not, here they are. Born July 19 and now 6 pounds each, and of course incredibly cute (ours tend to come with a full head of hair), Ida resembles Erin, her mom/my daughter, who looks ridiculously like me. And Noah looks ...different.
Apparently, they read the manual on fraternal twins.
“Their personalities are the same as they were,” Erin says of Noah’s kicking inside her and continued postnatal restlessness versus Ida’s more laid-back demeanor.
Except when there’s something to cry about, which is often, it being the primary form of expression for newborns.
For that, Grandpa (unless I’m Zayde — we old folks haven’t divided up our new names yet) invents a game that we name “swoosh.” With a Katarina Witt documentary on the tube, I pick up Ida and mimic back-and-forth pirouettes. Her face lights up with joy, then sleep — until I stop and she wakes up. Perform for each child until adult is exhausted. Repeat.
Yes, I know this is getting sappy, but now I understand Grandma’s Brag Book. Unlike every other life event, becoming a grandparent does change you. Get hitched and everyone will ask, “How’s married life?” Mostly, you’re at a loss to answer because little does feel different. The same for nabbing a sheepskin or other life accomplishment.
Even your child’s birth, 3 a.m. diaper changes and feedings notwithstanding, is something for which you’ve likely been girding for weeks, and for which you’re directly responsible.
But this is a sudden and seismic generational shift, not of your immediate doing. Your offspring and her spouse are now the star players, and at best you’re there for assists.
It’s hard to imagine souls more perfect than these little ones. The job for the rest of us is not to ruin them. Or spoil them. It’s tough, but I’ll try not to.
Want to play swoosh?
New grandpa Robin Washington is editor of the News Tribune. He may be reached at email@example.com.