The ward at the medical center has a similar layout to the one we have visited three years ago, when my niece Bethany was born. Yesterday – March 30th – my mother, my wife, and I drove to the same center, as we did in 2010. I was not rushing in, as I did before. Partly because I had a terrible backache. Also partly because we knew what to expect. My sister was admitted to the medical center in a Saturday morning. Two and a half hours later, Lydia was born. Lydia did not take as long as Bethany did. I read somewhere that the second one may come out relatively faster than the first one. Who knows? Maybe my sister is getting the hang of childbirth. Maybe the third one may pop out even faster.
My first reaction in Chinese when I saw Lydia was: She is made from the same cookie cutter! Figuratively speaking, this means Lydia looks the same as Bethany as a toddler. I beat everyone to the usual discussion of which part of the baby resemble to which parent. Freshly delivered from the womb, Lydia looks the same as Bethany. Period. That drew a lot of debates – not unexpectedly so – between Benny the proud father, Lora my beloved sister, my mother, my wife, and soon, the in-law side of the family. I even took out a picture of Bethany taken when she was very young. Only time will tell if I am a genius or I am missing the details.
I am not entirely sure how my sister feels to have another girl. To me, that is extraordinary. Two daughters in one go. Sure, while it is less likely I would be drinking beer with my nieces and watching Formula One on TV, I can relate to girls better. I can’t wait to bring them out for shopping, with their daddy’s credit cards.
Cynthia was especially curious how the three-year-old Bethany would react when she first met Lydia. I reckon Bethany must have some level of understanding that a baby once inside her mother’s tummy is now sleeping peacefully by her mother’s bed. Bethany was calm as her parents made the introduction. When her grandparents tried to ask her questions, Bethany quieted them with a gesture signaling them that her sister was sleeping. I was touched by the whole scene. So young, and she has this sense of responsibility. We whispered to each other, not wanting to upset Bethany, which is better for Lydia I reckon. All the while, little Bethany sat on her mother’s bed quietly looking at her sister Lydia. Given any other days, Bethany would have been running around and making laughter. This level discipline suddenly struck me as an exhibition of growing up.
I noticed that in the ward, everyone was looking at Lydia, smiling at her. How would little Bethany feel now that she may no longer be the sole center of attention? I took out my mother’s tablet and signaled Bethany to come to the far end of the room. Her father gave his blessing and we were playing her favorite pinball game, which I have installed for this very occasion that I have anticipated.
Avid readers may have followed my observation on Bethany and our pinball game. New to our previous encounters, Bethany now has this awareness of losing. A ball going down the drain is no good. Now she gets it. She would get all tensed up when she lost, holding fists and getting frustrated. But when she managed to hit the bell at the top of the machine, she would smile and said slowly: This is … FUN!
Normally, I praise Google’s effort in evolving the Android platform. In the new Nexus design, there is no physical buttons on the front of the device. Instead, the three buttons – back, menu, and running applications – have become part of the touchscreen at the bottom. This has given me tons of headache when Bethany now keeps on hitting those virtual buttons by mistake. The game would suddenly disappear and she would get a shock every time that happened. I would need to tell her that it is OK and show her how to return to the game.
And that happened every 20 seconds or so.
I am thinking, would Lydia grow up to like playing pinball and racing games like her sister? Or would she have a whole new different personality? Just one day before Bethany was born, my sister was playing racing game on my computer. Now I wish I had instill some video gaming excitement to Lydia days before she was born.