Happy New Year, Baby


Our 16th-floor kitchen window in Hong Kong offers a great view to the city’s famous mountain peak, as well as the neighbors’ windows. About halfway up the adjacent building there is a baby who, more often than not, can be seen bobbing up and down in one of those new, fancy baby-motion pacifying cradles.

The little guy looks like he’s moshing to Metallica. Every time I walk by the window, I find myself looking for him. In the words of my Australian wife, I’m getting “clucky,” meaning “ready to nest,” meaning we’re counting down the days till our little boy arrives.

By the time this B-Metro goes to press, Trevor Jr. (we’re calling him TJ) will have arrived.

His coming out party/welcome ceremony will be at Matilda Hospital. It’s a 100-year-old hospital with high ceilings, slow-moving fans, wicker furniture and balconies in the recovery rooms where, according to tradition, champagne is served to welcome the new arrivals, with dramatic views overlooking the bay.

In other words, very civilized. I’ll be able to stay overnight with Michelle and TJ. I hear the room service is sublime. You heard correctly. Room service.  There is an extensive menu which includes various iterations of lobster, and what I’m told is a fantastic burger. I’m sure there are fish and chips, as this is a very British establishment. #cheerio

Hong Kong was of course a British colony for close to 150 years and there are still charming (and stifling) vestiges of colonial rule (private clubhouses, passion for rugby, parks and streets named after monarchs). As one would expect, the higher one lived on the mountain comprising Hong Kong Island, the higher one’s social status.  Matilda Hospital is literally at The Peak.

I say this not to put on airs, but to celebrate the good fortune of great insurance. We’re very fortunate to have found a great OB/GYN and this hospital after moving from Dubai. When trying out docs, we knew Dr. Ghosh was the one. First, because, Gosh! Second, we heard him telling a very pregnant patient, “Just have two gin and tonics and call me tomorrow,” of course in jest.

There are many who don’t have insurance or whose insurance may very well be taken away in 2017. I can’t imagine the stress they would be feeling at nine months pregnant.

I’m spending lots of time thinking about the world in which TJ will arrive. It’s hard not to see his first weeks and months through the prism of global politics. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 and is known as a “special administrative region” with its own unique rule of law, trade and currency. To be sure, it is part of “greater China” and any deterioration in the relationship between China and the U.S. (death by a million tweets?) could impact Hong Kong and Americans living in Asia.

TJ will spend his first few years in the urban jungles of Honkers, where hearing different languages and experiencing multiple cultures is the daily norm. He’ll learn early how to differentiate between Xiao Long Bao pork soup dumplings, more native to Shanghai, and the fried jiaozi dumplings of northern China. (His mom happens to be a dumpling connoisseur.)

His pals will hail from all over the world. Who knows what kind of encrypted, telepathic social media he’ll be using to communicate in multiple languages?

Given the Brave New World in which he will emerge, I’ve been thinking about what we should be teaching him:

Empathy, as he is citizen of the world and should appreciate (and become fluent in) other cultures, religions and traditions. #meltingpot

Curiosity, as he will need to adapt and learn at a blistering pace to keep up with the upcoming disruption. #peekaboo

Resilience, as he will need to hold his own, and hold true to his beliefs in the face of increasingly polarized and extreme points of view. #stand

Humility, as even though he starts life on top of the mountain, it only takes a couple of missteps to fall hard and fast; and there are so many who are struggling.

Selflessness, as being a bigger man, and helping others do and shine with nothing expected in return, is a sign of greatness. #southerngentleman

Where is he going to learn all this, I fret?

Surely I’ll wear out this phrase in the coming years: Thank God for his momma.

Leave a Reply