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A Celebration for Samuel

It started off as an intended joke. We were all at Norbert and Elke's place for a barbecue (except Elke was at a retreat for Lutheran women in Madang), and we were discussing having a party to celebrate Karl & Peggy's new little baby [see Samuel has Come]. I said, "Why don't we all dress up in nappies?" There were some that immediately dismissed it as a bad joke ("You're not serious?" Chris & "I never thought you'd do it!" Bill), but others were captivated by the idea. Initial planning started immediately—a sudden flurry of ideas—to be developed the following Thursday by a practice at Andy & Iris' place.

All the Mowbray's, Margaret (from Maria Kwin), Iris and Gerard came to the practice (Andy would have been there too, but he had work, and came later). The practice went smoothly, with the main ideas being developed into a short performance. We only practiced it through once, but were amazed at how well the whole production unrolled on the day. Certainly not Broadway, or even off Broadway, but fun all the same.

The Grand Entrance
We all met down at Andy and Iris' house at 2:15 PM. We brought afternoon tea, and all the plates and cups (because we didn't want to leave a burden of washing up when we left). We had to bring our individual costumes and baby bits, and dressed before walking to the Christian Brothers, where we left the food, and then on to Karl and Peggy's. There was some discussion about whether it would be "safe" to walk through Fatima in one's nappy, but as it turned out, very few people actually saw us. The few that did, were stunned into inaction and only recovered after we had gone.

We assembled, single file, and waddled, toddled and cried our way toward Karl and Peggy's house. We all had towels or laplaps as nappies. Some of us wore bibs, some dummies, some bottles, others ribbons… some of us wore all of them.

Karl saw us coming, and quickly ducked inside to warn Peggy. What do you do when a single line of 9 overgrown babies descends on your house with screams? Probably what they did: stand there, not knowing what was happening, or, what to do when they did find out what was happening. The actual plan was to sneak up and get them to open the door by crying on their front door step, but considering they had seen us waddle up, we just toddled and crawled inside.

Lullaby Number One
All the babies are now sitting or lying and crying on the living room floor. Some bang the floor, some hit other babies in frustration. The room is in a pandemonium, Karl and Peggy and some of the invited visitors watch dumbfounded, "What is happening?"

Iris and Margaret stand and start to sing "Lalelu Nur der Mann Schaut Zu" (a German lullaby). They walk around each baby and gently sooth it; slowly the noise eases, and eventually only the song is heard. The two girls sing it through once more without the crying accompaniment. All is peace, everyone is amazed at the soothing effect of this lullaby, some hoped that that was the end&

Lullaby Number Two
As soon as the first lullaby has finished, the babies start to become restless. It isn't long before one starts crying again, which start others off as well. Soon all the babies are crying at the top of their voices, banging the floor, just like before.

Jesse and Iris stand and start to play the Brahms Lullaby on their two recorders. It's a little out of tune, or time, or both, but it is having its effect: the babies are quietening down again. They wander amongst the group spilling the melodic notes upon each one. Iris breaks into fits of laughter at one very discordant moment of the tune, but it all ends happily, with both recorders together and with peaceful babies who are sucking their thumbs, dummies or bottles, or are gently cooing.

The Wee Wee Song
The Wee Wee Song is a song that Peter Kearney does in concert, I think from Scottish tradition. Iris changes into a dad by putting on a false moustache and eyebrows, Gerard puts on a meri blaus and two moderately inflated balloons. A blanket is spread on the floor, and all the babies move to the side.

Jesse lies himself down on the blanket. The babies not involved in the drama start to softly sing the chorus:

"Wee wee, wee wee&"

Iris and Gerard move to the side of the cot and start to take Jesse's nappy off. They are talking, "Come on little one, time to go toilet now." Iris says to Gerard, "Come on, it's the wife's job to look after the baby."

The singers sing:

"When I was just a wee wee tot,
they took me from my wee wee cot,
and put me on my wee wee pot
to see if I would wee or not."

Gerard and Iris have literally dragged Jesse over to a cooking pot, which is acting the part of a chamber pot. They sit him on top of it and say, "Come on little one, wee wee time." Jesse is just one big grin.

"Wee wee, wee wee&"

They lift him up and peer into the empty pot – obviously not what they were hoping for.

The singers sing:

"When they saw that I would not,
they took me from my wee wee pot,
and put me on my wee wee cot
where I wee weed quite a lot!"

Gerard and Iris had put Jesse back into the "cot" and had lifted up the corners of the blanket and were attempting to rock him. Seeing these two smallish people trying to rock this huge 6' 4" lump in a blanket that never quite got off the ground had everyone in stitches. When Jesse emptied the ear syringe filled with water, so that a thin jet of water appeared out the top of the blanket, everyone screamed with laughter.

"Wee wee, wee wee&"

Gerard and Iris are understandably upset – and dripping. Gerard could possibly be better described as irate. They remove Jesse forcibly from his "cot", muttering to themselves.

The singers sing:

"They took me from my wee wee cot,
and smacked me on my wee wee bot
which only shows when the weather's hot,
it does not do to drink a lot!"

The parents are still struggling with the baby (never before has a parent had to reach up to discipline a toddler), when all of a sudden Jesse maliciously plunges a pin into the rather inflated ego of his mother. The balloon responds with a loud pop. Gerard shrieks, "Oh, my! Where do you think dinner is coming from now then?"

"Wee wee, wee wee&"

The audience is in hysterics. Jesse is beside himself with laughter, Iris is only just controlling herself. Only Gerard has control of his part – desperately trying to keep his last remaining breast from slipping under his armpit – but Jesse explodes the myth of his other breast with another well-aimed jab. "Oh, a double mastectomy! What am I going to do now?" The room is filled with laughter.

Nappy Change Demonstration
Jesse is laid back down on the blanket, Gerard and Iris are struggling with his "nappy" (neither of them have had children, especially of the 6' 4" variety!). Perry commentates on the proceedings:

"Thank you for joining us for our nappy changing demonstration today."

"Today we have Gerard and Iris, and their cute little baby Jesse. I'd like all you new parents to notice how these two work as a team." Iris had taken one side and Gerard the other, and were struggling to get the corners around those hips.

"One of the first things any new parents should do is to train their child to cooperate in the changing process." Jesse lifts his bottom, and they finally get the corners around those hips.

"Don't forget, mums and dads, that there is a host of creams, lotions and potions that can be applied to the little darling's bottom to keep it healthy and smelling nice&"

Gerard is pushing his pin into the towel without much success. "Don't forget girls, that if you run those pins through your hair before pinning the nappy, they will go in all that much easier." Iris has finished, and is urging Gerard on. Finally it is complete, Jesse is suitably content, and the three demonstrators sit back down with the rest of the babies.

Baby Fashion Parade
All the babies now lie down for a well-earned rest. Perry stands and introduces the next section&

"I'd like to offer a warm welcome to all our guests to our baby fashion parade. We have collected the newest and most outstanding fashions for today's babies, and you will have the pleasure of seeing them all on this catwalk."

" Andy is our pavaritsi baby, the little denim jacket is buttonless so that his chest can always be exposed. His unique nappy has many hiding places for cameras and lenses." Andy struts his stuff, but does not exit, he stays to take photos.

" Iris today is modelling what every fit young baby will want to be wearing: she is our aerobics baby." Iris is waddling, legs spread, down the catwalk, jiving to a tune in her head. "Notice the licra nappy – useful for not only absorbing sweat, but also always remains stylish till the end. Cap, sunglasses and baby bottle on a string make up this stunning outfit."

"Our next model is Nathanael. He is our Papua New Guinean highland baby. His outfit consists of a traditional bonnet, a silver dummy (that would pride any Chief) and a nappy so loose it won't retain anything that is better left beside the road."

" Sandi is modelling a collection obtained from opportunity shops, she is our mix-and-match baby." Sandi crawls down the catwalk and out the door, gooing and garring all the way. "Notice how easily every article matches with the outfit that will suit any occasion."

" Margaret is modelling a creation for the parents who dote on their child, she is daddy and mummy's love." Margaret does the best imitation of a toddler's walk I have ever seen (actually the nappies helped tremendously!) "Note the ribbon in her hair, the dummy pinned to her top, and that delightful nappy will make any baby wearing this outfit the apple of their parent's eye."

" Keren is in blue today, the creation for all those parents celebrating their baby's boyhood. Notice the subtle tonal variations in his attire, the colour matched dummy and bottle." Keren does his imitation waddle out the door like it's been just a little too long since he learned how to waddle.

" Jesse is our cowboy baby." Jesse stands, thumbs in the front of his nappy (which might not always be the best place to put them), and starts to swagger down the catwalk, sufficiently bow legged. "Complete with 10-gallon bonnet, leather booties and corduroy nappy."

"Our final model today is Gerard. He is modelling a collection from Africa. Notice his hanky bonnet to keep the sun off tender heads, cool flowing garments best suited for hot climates." Gerard is doing a Princess Di, I'm sure!

All the babies have gone, apart from Perry. "Thank you for attending our little fashion parade for the little ones today. We hope you have not only enjoyed it, but that it has given you many ideas for keeping your babies up to speed in the fashion stakes."

The Baby Boomers Big Band
Click to enlarge After exiting off stage, all babies went to collect the afternoon tea from the brother's house. On returning, we formed into the traditional choir stance, walked back into the living room and performed a self-composed song—"Samuel has come"—to the tune of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. We called ourselves the Baby Boomers Big Band, although it was a totally acappella affair.

There we stood, all in nappies, all holding copies of our self composed song, all feeling nervous and all wondering what we would really sound like. Everyone else in the room were looking at us intently, wondering what could possibly come next. It was not time to keep them waiting any longer&


by the Baby Boomers Big Band
to the tune of Yellow Submarine

|: We're all happy that Samuel has come. :|

From the time that he was born
He was able to cause a storm.
And he made their lives so sweet
Keren (spoken): "Swit moa yet, only 50t. Ol i kum, Ol i kum!"
Karl und Peggy haben ihn so lieb.

|: We're all happy that Samuel has come. :|

We believe when he grows up
Em i no painim bagarap.
Denn die Eltern sind perfekt
Nothing better could be said.

|: We're all happy that Samuel has come. :|

And that's why we wish you well
Karl and Peggy and Samuel.
Now your friends are gathered near
We're so happy to have you here.

|: We're all happy that Samuel has come. :|

Afternoon Tea
All the babies then went to organise their contributions for afternoon tea.

The edibles were unwrapped and placed on a table from which Samuel had to be removed. Karl started boiling water for tea and coffee, and everyone is invited to come and help themselves.

Iris made banana milk (a hit with all the children – young and old alike) and a cake.

The Mowbray's brought some sandwiches and biscuits.

Margaret brought tiramisu, which is a yummy desert.

Gerard brought some shortbready type biscuits with one end dipped in chocolate and set in the fridge.

Norbert and Elke (although not in nappies) brought some date loaf and some of their fantastic chemical-free coffee.

The Christian Brothers ( Tony and Ray: also not in nappies) brought a huge quarter of sponge cake.

And we all brought either a plunger of coffee or a pot of tea.

The Charity brothers came – Jef and John (who has the same birth date as Samuel), as did Fr. Peter (though none of them wore nappies either).

Andrew came. He lives next door to Norbert & Elke at the Lutheran Mission and has a lot to do with their coffee.

We all crowded into their living room, sat, talked and ate and drank. Most of the "babies" changed quite quickly. Karl made coffee flat out and Andy and Iris did the mammoth washing up. Br Jef was taking some photos on his new digital camera.

And all through the afternoon tea Karl & Peggy wore their " Nambawan" badges. Incredibly, little Samuel remained asleep for the entire time – concert and afternoon tea – even though he lay in his basket in the middle of everything!