The Family Expands
“Tommy, Mother has gone to the hospital. Soon we will have a new baby in the family. Maybe even tonight.”
“I hope it is a boy.” said my five-year old brother, Tommy. “Someone I can play ball with.”
“I want a sister. Yes, I think it should be a baby sister. I am sure that she will be able to run and play with you Tommy.”
Ted and Jean Bloch were taking care of us while Mother and Daddy were at the hospital waiting for the baby to pop out. We knew that Mother had a big belly so we thought she would just break like a balloon. We were so excited to have a new family member.
I remember before my brother was born. My father asked me what should we call the baby if it is a boy? I said, “Tommy. Mamie has a Tom, so we need a Tommy.”
Early the next morning, Jean Bloch came to give us the big news.
“You now have a new little sister, Kathleen. She is named for Aunt Sis, Grandmother’s sister.”
“Where is she? I want to see her with my own eyes.” I jumped at this news.
Jean told us that Mother and our new little sister would be home in about two weeks.
“How can we ever wait that long? Can’t we go to see her and mother in the hospital? Why not?
Jean comforted my brother and me. “What you can do is to make sure that the room is ready for her. Let’s go into your mother and father’s bedroom and make some preparations.”
“Is our new sister going to sleep in this cage?” My brother demanded.
Jean explained, “It is not a cage. It is called a crib. It has bars so the baby does not roll out and fall on the floor. It is just for safety. When she is bigger she will sleep in a regular bed like you and Jannie do.”
Tommy brought in some blocks and I went to get a doll for our new sister to play with.
“What about this rubber Ducky that squawks?” Tommy was jumping up and down and squawking the Ducky.
Jean went on to explain, “Kathy won’t need any hard toys for a long time. We also have to be careful about giving her things with germs.”
“Is that like things from Germany?” I asked with remembered messages about the Germans in the war.
“Not at all.” Jean countered. “Germs are things that can make people sick. You can’t see them. New babies have to get used to all sorts of things. Whatever the baby touches, she will want to put in her mouth.”
“Even our fingers?” I asked.
“Yes, so you must make sure that whenever you touch the baby that your hands are clean. Here is a rattle. If you shake it, it makes noise. After the baby is a few months old, you can give this to her. It must be clean.”
“When, when, when are they coming home?” I squeaked.
“Let’s look at the calendar. I think it will be September 23. Let’s circle that day. Everyday you can take turns crossing out the days. So tomorrow you can cross out today, Tommy. Then Jannie you can cross out the next day after it is finished. Everyday you can count to see how many days are left.” Jean offered.
Finally the day arrived. We thought it was a very, very long time even a year but it was about two weeks. Mother was sitting in the car wearing her coat with the fluffy fur that covered her mouth. In her lap was this tiny, tiny little baby. Jean had told us to wait in the house until they came in. Daddy went around to open the door and he took the baby. Then Mother got out. Daddy handed the baby back to Mother. They got out of the car by the driveway where the steps to the porch are. They walked up the steps so so slowly. We could see them from the Music Room window come up the steps. We ran to the front window and got there before them. Then they passed by the window near the front door. Daddy opened the outside door. We opened the inside door.
“Sh, sh, sh.” Mother said. “We need to use very gentle voices. This is your new sister, Kathleen. We will call her Kathy.”
“Oh, Dear little sister, we have loved you from the moment you popped out of Mommy. Can we kiss her? ” I whispered.
“Yes, dear. You and Tommy can welcome your new little sister to our family.”
We were all so happy. After all, I was eight years old and in school. Why couldn’t she be my baby?