He's here! And he's perfect.
Charles Joseph Rousmaniere came into the world at 2:13 a.m. on Sunday, December 3rd. “Charlie” is named after Will’s grandfather, James, and my father, Arejas. (Come again?) As legend has it, Will’s grandfather was the last male Rousmaniere inhabiting the earth. In order to preserve the Rousmaniere name, he proceeded to populate the planet with seven (count ‘em) seven sons. By the time Will and his brother Dana (the other Dana Rousmaniere -- another long story for another time) came along, it was all he could do to keep them straight, so he simply yelled out “Hey, Charlie” when he needed to get someone’s attention. Somehow the name stuck to him alone, and Will has always known his grandfather simply as “Charlie.” When my father came to the United States, he went by his middle name, Joseph, due to our tongue-tripping Lithuanian heritage.
As if that’s not complicated enough, Julia wanted to name the baby “Guong Guong.” We have no idea where she came up with that, but she has stood by Guong Guong all along. After her Bubbe decided that it sounded Chinese, we consulted my good friend Jenny Cheng and our Chinese-speaking uncle Joe to find that “Guong Guong” actually does mean something – actually, several somethings depending on the context:
1. “Naked.” Check. He wore his birthday suit for the big day.
2. “Old Man.” I think every newborn looks like a wrinkled old man, though this one is a particularly cute wrinkled old man. Check.
3. “Shine Brightly.” Check. Check. Check.
Julia hit the nail on the head. Our little “Charlie Guong Guong” Rousmaniere shines. And his big sister is already basking in his light. She’ll wake up in the morning and bounce down the stairs shouting: “I LOVE my baby brother forever and for always.” For a 2 ½ year old who can hardly stand a three-minute wait for anything (Mama, it takes SO long. Why does it take so long?), Julia patiently awaited the birth of her baby brother, all the while reiterating our catch-phrase that “Charlie will ‘pop out’ when the snow comes” to anyone who would ask. On Monday morning in the hospital, I woke up to the light streaming through a window of clear blue skies and big white fluffy snow flakes. It was as if we were in a tiny hospital inside a snow globe that someone had just shaken up. It was the first snowfall in Boston and our Charlie was here. At home, Julia was telling her Mimi: “The snow is here! This is when babies come!” So, Mimi got Julia dressed and off to the hospital, where our flower-toting girl proceeded to tell everyone in the parking garage, the hospital, the hospital corridors, and the nurse’s station that “Charlie Guong Guong Rousmaniere popped out in the middle of the night when I was sleeping!”
Pop out, he did -- after 22 hours of labor, that is. And, not before my entire bag of water also “popped out” completely intact like a giant water balloon. The doctor let me lift him up and out from under his armpits while Will cut the cord. He arrived all rosy, splotchy, rashy, and beautiful, like a little wet baby seal with the softest, silkiest black hair I’ve ever felt. His quivering little chin is enough to break my heart into a million pieces.
Did I say we were stopping at two babies? He’s so deliciously sweet, he makes me want a baker’s dozen.
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Read the next entry: 12.11.06: Discharges