Some children resent waking up to the early sun. #9 did not. He laid in bed, cooing and babbling to Wife until she woke. A little attention and a morning snack was all he wanted. Curled up in her arms, he was as content as a rabbit living in a garden. But then, Wife got out of bed to dress for the day. Did I say he only wanted a little attention? My mistake… I meant he wanted ALL the attention.
Once he saw Wife leave him, he let out two short squawks… his warning shots. When no one came to pick him up immediately, he let out a barrage shrill squeals and screeches. He made sure everyone in the house, and all the surrounding animals, knew that he was alone, and did not intend to stay alone.
If Wife or one of his sisters picked him up, he would immediately lose his ill temper and become cheerful. He would giggle, babble, drool, kick his legs, and slap his arms around like a happy seven month-old. With a full stomach, he would even be happy to lay on the floor, provided someone was with him.
When Wife walked back into his view, he stopped crying and cooed hopefully. Unfortunately for him, she was looking for a hairbrush. She walked to the other end of the room to use the mirror. She continually talked to the baby, but he was not reassured. Either he understood that his mother was on the other side of the room, and would not pick him up, or he was mistrustful of a disembodied voice.
After a few minutes that seem like an eternity, Wife gave in and picked up her baby. Once #9 saw his momma coming for him, he kicked his legs in jubilation. As she lifted him up, he continued to kick his legs in the air, as if he were riding a bike. Every ounce of his bad temper completely disappeared with Wife’s concession. He had the attention he so desperately craved.
They left the bedroom and entered the living room. Most of the other children were awake, and hungry. Breakfast was an unfortunate requirement. That might not have gone well for the attention-starved #9, but he was the baby after four girls and four boys. He would not be set in a baby swing. Instead he was handed to #1, and he kicked joyfully.
After all, he had been born the ninth of nine for a reason. He wanted company, and he wanted to be held. If his momma was busy, a sister could hold him. He had his pick of sisters. But if they were all busy, then Lord help us all.