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The infant terrorist

There is a special reason why The Legal Genealogist is so very happy to be in Portland for today’s seminar of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

Two special reasons, as a matter of fact.

One of them is named Beatrix, and she was born in July. She is the latest twig on our family tree, my great niece.


The other one is her older sister, Isadora (a/k/a “Isadorable”), who is just a little past two and totally in love with her baby sister.


And they are alive because of me.

It all began just a few years ago1 when their father, my nephew Ian, was an infant.

My sister’s first-born, he was a bit of a difficult baby — in part, perhaps, because he was the first-born, and the new mother’s tension over every sniffle and cry was being communicated to the infant.

She did her best to handle it all herself but finally, right around two o’clock in the morning when he was perhaps two months old, she called me in tears. He wouldn’t stop crying, he seemed colicky, she didn’t know what to do.

I had just read an article in a New York newspaper entitled, as I recall, “The Infant Terrorist.”

It described a child very much like Ian, and a parent’s lament very much like my sister’s. And it was hilariously well done.

I found it and read it to Ian’s mother as she sat, rocking him in her rocking chair.

She laughed as I read.

And the baby’s crying got softer.

We got to the parts about the crying and colicky issues, and she laughed out loud.

And the baby stopped crying.

Now the main thrust of the article was that babies (and children) do what they do just long enough to drive their parents right to the brink of infanticide … and — if they are to live to adulthood — then stop and do something else.

I figure I helped Ian stop and do something else, thus saving his life.

And since I saved his life, he thrived and grew and married and became a father on his own.

So, you can see, Ian’s children are alive because of me. Part of my legacy to my family.

Or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

They are gorgeous, aren’t they?


  1. Okay, so it was a few decades ago.
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