The holidays have been especially blessed for my family this year with
the birth of my nephew, Robert David Rudolph. Six months old this week,
he has constantly added humor and excitement to our lives in his short
time with us.
Of course, no one is more proud than my brother and his wife, Robert
J. and Debra Rudolph, former Burbank residents now living in Santa
Clarita. My nephew is just adored by his sisters, Sheila, 16, Rochelle,
11, and Tiffani, 6.
And let’s not forget Grandma Dorothy Rudolph, a longtime Burbanker
whose bedroom is now half a nursery. Robert’s crib is sporting fresh new
sheets, bumpers and stuffed toys.
Right after Thanksgiving, mom came home with an infant Santa suit. She
could hardly wait to see the baby in it. And, oh, what fun it was when
baby Robert’s parents took him to see Santa Claus in his little red suit.
“Are you hoping to take my job?” Santa quipped.
Baby Robert wasn’t too impressed with Santa this first time out. He
kept dozing off. But the photographer was able to catch one shot with his
eyes open and smiling from pudgy cheek to pudgy cheek.
Last week, we all went to my nieces’ holiday program at their
elementary school. While Robert and Debra stood in the back of the room,
grandma and I sat in chairs, grandma holding baby Robert. In the words of
my mom, he was an angel. From time to time, she stood up so Robert could
see the children. He listened intently.
It wasn’t until the end of the program that tragedy struck.
Mom whispered to me, “does he still have his pacifier?” I looked down
at his pouty lips. They were minus the yellow plug.
“No,” I whispered back, and started scanning the floor. Under my mom’s
seat. Under mine. Under the chairs in front of us and the chairs behind
us. A nice couple behind us stood up helped scour the floor and whispered
suggestions. “Is it under his bib?” the man asked. “Could it have fallen
into a pocket?” the woman offered.
Then the woman called over my shoulder, “There it is by your foot.”
Mystery solved. We thanked the nice couple as we stood to leave.
On the way out, I asked Rochelle if she would introduce me to her
teacher, Mr. M. He has been the main topic of conversation when the kids
visit grandma’s. A very animated individual, he keeps his students
riveted to their seats with witty sayings and quick comebacks.
It was in his class that Rochelle learned who the governor of
California is. When we went to Camp Fox this summer for family camp,
Rochelle won a contest because she answered “Gray Davis.” He has a way of
teaching kids things and making them stick.
We went to Mr. M.'s room and Rochelle introduced me. He was great,
chatting like we were old friends. Rochelle showed us her desk and the
displays around the room. Mr. M. told us the most mind-boggling addition
to elementary school curriculum was algebra, which we all recalled,
wasn’t part of classroom work until high school.
As we prepared to leave, I said “Goodbye, Mr. M.” And his reply left a
smile on my face. “Goodbye, Aunt Joyce,” he said.
Packing into my brother’s van, we decided to go out to dinner and
stopped at a cute little ‘50s-style diner. The hostess immediately fell
in love with baby Robert. By the time we sat down at a huge booth in the
back, she was cuddling him in her arms. This young man is definitely
going break some hearts, ladies.
The busboy rounded up a wooden highchair. It was a little too big for
Robert, so we tucked my fluffy ski jacket all around him. All propped up,
he looked so grown up, gazing around at all of us, taking it all in. A
pang shot through my heart at the thought, he’s already growing up.
My Mom and I are really looking forward to later today when we spend
this beautiful holiday with our family. It will be a joy to watch little
Robert experience his first Christmas Day.
* JOYCE RUDOLPH is features editor. Her society column runs each
Saturday. To have an event covered, call her at 637-3241 or fax
information to 241-1975.