This is Stella's first cousin on my side of the family. I do have some cousins of my own that are close to Stella's age that we sometimes refer to as her cousins, but I am loathe to credit them to her as I need all the cousins I can get. I have six cousins on both sides of the family for a total of 12, which is far less than David has. Entire Wisconsin counties are populated predominantly with David's cousins. It's a shame we didn't need to colonize other planets back mid-century, because David's grandparents would have been the perfect people to get sent off to Mars. Twenty years later the planet would be crawling with offspring.
Every so often I ask David to estimate how many cousins he has, but the conversation tends to disintegrate into him scratching his head trying to remember whether Aunt Mary birthed 23 or wait maybe it was 32 kids out on the dairy farm. Adding to the confusion, half his male cousins seemed to be named Dan. At his sister's wedding, a man of David's age approached him, gave him a hug, and he and David had a quick affectionate catch-up conversation before moving on. "Who was that?" I asked. "My cousin," said David. Name? ".....Peeeeete?" said David hesitantly. "Mayyyyybe Pat?" See, that's a lot of cousins.
We are going to visit Baby Emily in a few weeks, and I am already devising ways to convince Stella she needs to be gentler with the new baby than she is with her brother. It doesn't help that Baby W is basically a large, genial mushroom who doesn't mind rough handling. Stella will be violently slamming his bouncy chair up and down, and instead of getting upset, Baby W squeals with glee. Baby W! Help me out here, kid! I thought we were on the same side on this! His self-preservation skills aren't worth crap. In the wild he'd get eaten by a grizzly on Day 1. Scratch that -- he'd get eaten by a hedgehog on Day 1. A hedgehog with asthma and a bum knee. (And yes, chances are good the hedgehog would be named Dan.)
Having a lot of cousins is especially handy for David when he has a band gig in Appleton. If 10% of his cousins turn out for the performance, there's a line out the door! But you never know who else is going to come to the bar. I was joking with David about the dangers of wild women throwing themselves at him at his gig, and Stella must have been listening more closely than I thought, because she said "Mama! What does s-l-u-t spell?"
I will not be going to the band gig because I desperately need more sleep. Exhibit A is that today I told Stella I couldn't go to the store until I finished "walting Nurser." He has started waking up about 2:30 AM and staying up for way too long, making exuberant aaaAAAAaaooo sounds that are not cute when they happen in the middle of the night. It's like when I see a sunrise -- I know I should be reveling in the natural beauty and the miracle that accompanies the start of every new day, but really I just wish I were back in bed. I should be cherishing the wee-hour gleeful baby burblings, but mostly I find myself thinking, shut your happy milk-hole and be adorable in the morning, why don't you?
There's multiple reasons I'm not as well-rested as I'd like recently-- it's partly Baby W's midnight news updates, and Stella's sleep disturbances don't help. The biggest reason, though, is that I have to sleep with one eye open. You never know when that damn hedgehog might attack.