New baby a heavy financial burden

After months of anticipation, the new addition to our family has arrived.

Cadence, a quiet little baby who sleeps through everything but still manages to monopolize everyone’s attention, came to our Christmas celebrations wrapped in pretty dresses.

My brother looked on proudly as his girlfriend paraded her new charge around the room in her little red Christmas outfit with powder white trim and red velvet.

Cassandra (the new mom) looked tired but happy and regret-free over her “gift” to the family’s Christmas celebrations.

As for the rest of the family, there was nothing else that interested them from the moment my brother, Cassandra and the baby arrived, and they talked only about them long after they left.

There were fights for who got to hold the newborn next. My cousin drove from Vancouver to my mother’s house in Port Coquitlam (about an hour-long drive) just to see the little tyke.

When I arrived home after the ferry trip from Nanaimo, I was cheered by the sight of all the presents under my mom’s Christmas tree, before I realized that nearly all of them were for Baby Cadence.

My mom was perhaps most pleased by the Dec. 4 arrival, and her gifts to my brother’s new family included a fully-adjustable playpen and several baby outfits, including one of her favourites she once dressed me in.

I got to watch for the first time as the family members in my mom’s generation looked upon a newborn sired by their children.

This is perhaps the reason the baby has created such a stir. Megan, my eight-year-old cousin and formerly youngest in the family, has been usurping the position of the baby until now.

She had some adjusting to do when Cadence first entered the scene, and so did I, as the oldest cousin. I haven’t been around a baby in a long time.

When I held her for the first time, after rushing to the hospital in Victoria, I looked at that little unassuming face and thought it’s a wonder there are patient parents out there willing to look after babies 24 hours a day, seven days a week while they go through those first few years of utter helplessness.

I know my busy work and recreation schedule leaves nearly no time for even doing basic housecleaning, let alone the full-time job of watching over a baby.

But Cassandra has jumped into the job eagerly and unconditionally (which is good, since she can’t get her money back or return the baby to the nearest baby-return store).

She’s been reading all the books, attending her newborn educational classes and, most importantly, lavishing lots of love on the new child.

There seems to be fewer people out there willing to take a responsibility like this head on.

While Cassandra is staying home at least for the first little while to raise the baby, many people don’t have that option.

Starting a family these days seems to be a terrifying prospect.

I have been told by many people that daycare is not affordable. And money is a huge worry for families if there’s only one income, when living standards are now adjusted to two.

There are children going to school hungry in the Nanaimo school district, an issue district staff are trying to help address with their school meals program.

Cassandra has told me she’s interested in having more kids.

I admire her. Stay-at-home, devoted moms or dads are fast becoming a rarity, and in many cases, an impossibility.

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