It has been 72 hours since Elliott received his first haircut. In that time, there has not been one improper use of a pronoun thrown his way. No she, no her. It is early I know, but operation "He is a boy and he has a haircut to prove it" has been successful.
We put the operation to a true test this past Sunday when we went up town to the Ashland Holiday Parade. The streets were lined with people who had plenty of opportunity to issue a false identification - but no one did. That allowed Elliott to focus on the parade. He enjoyed seeing the clowns, the fire trucks, all of the entries that passed out candy and Santa Clause. He doesn't know that we pulled a fast one on him regarding Santa. We were cold from an hour of standing in the chilly air and worried that it might be too much for Ian. The end of the parade where the 'real Santa' was riding was nowhere near. Like a gift from God, we conveniently spotted an old car approaching with a Santa puppet riding along. "Look Elliott, here comes Santa," I shouted with excitement. "Santa Clause," Elliott shouted back. With that it was official, we had seen the man we came to see. Elliott sang Ho Ho Ho as we made the long walk home.
Ian was a much bigger attraction than Elliott on this day. Some of it came from the cold and sane people wondering why on earth we had that little baby outside on such a chilly day. There were moments I considered our own lack of sanity as the answer. Most though were just sucked in by the magnetic force babies begin discharging the moment they arrive on earth. I saw it at church Sunday. We took Ian for his first service. He did well, but about half way through it, and I don't know that it had anything particular to do with the content of the message, his diaper inflated in the palm of my hand. I took him to the bathroom and changed him as quickly as I could. The change was fast and efficient, but the whole process got him upset so we stood in the lobby for awhile afterward to calm him down. Dozens of folks waiting for the next service provided me unexpected assistance soothing Ian. They were willing to hold him, rock him, rub his head, shake his tiny hands, rub his feet and to a person declare him the cutest baby they had ever seen, which if taken at their word, means Elliott no longer owns that title.
There is something about babies that brings out the best in people. I think we are taken in by the innocence (although none of Ian's admirers were there to change the diaper). I guess the world would be a better place if we all maintained the innocence of our infancy. Human nature makes that impossible for all but one of us who have walked this earth. But I do wonder if babies naturally lose their magnetism as they grow older, or does a world too often uninterested in those around them eat it away. I think I'll try to remember that people are impacted by a kind word or simple acknowledgment more as adults than they ever were as babies.