Well hello, Beatrix!
We weren’t expecting you for a couple weeks yet, but you showed up early. We suspect it’s because you wanted anyone at all to remember when your birthday is, and any closer to Christmas/New Years would be hopeless. Whatever the reason, you’re here and you’re excellent and we’re delighted and we’re exhausted. Luckily both your parents are veterans of jet lag, so we’re not too fussy about napping at 7pm or 6am or whenever it is that you’ll let us.
By the time you read these letters, you’ll know that I write them to your sister, too. If you read those letters, you’ll know that guessing about the future is one of my favourite dad follies. But, true to form, one of the things I think about most these days is the kind of relationship the two of you will have. She met you for the first time this weekend, and we weren’t sure how it would go. She’s 5.5 right now, which is not an age where kids generally cope well with having to share the spotlight, or their toys, but she was curious and excited about you and jumped and smiled every time you made a noise. When I called to tell her that you’d been born, she said “But I haven’t figured out how to teach her everything she needs to know yet.” I told her you two would figure it out together.
Let’s see, things you’ll need to know when looking back: You scared us a couple times when your heart rate dipped, enough to call in a whole room full of specialists, but then showed up in your own time perfectly fine without any of their help. Your response to the very first contraction was to flail around and then start power hiccuping. You always sneeze in 2s and 3s.
As for the name: we hope you like it. My feeling is that any time you can give a kid an ‘x’ you sort of have to do it. It’s the coolest letter. You’re named in part for your great grandmother, Beatrice. I never met her, but your mom tells me she was gentle but strong, a lifelong feminist, and aces at math. Those sound like great things to inherit, as far as we’re concerned, but we also wanted to give you a name you could make your own. Beatrix is an ancient name, it goes back to the latin Viatrix, and in the thousands of years since, it’s picked up a bunch of diminuitives and variants, so you’ve got room to work. Your family is already testing out nicknames: Bee, Queen Bee, Bea (Be-ah), BiBi, and more I’m sure that they aren’t telling us yet.
In our house, your mom, Lil, and I are calling you “Bix.” We’ll see if it sticks. I’m sure you’ll have opinions. I can’t wait to hear them.