Today was our first day volunteering at the hospital. We go to certain floors and ask the nurses “Aveți copii fără mame?” (Do you have any children with no mothers?). Sometimes they see us coming and just say “Nu avem” (We don’t have). If they do have any, then we hold or play with the baby or child, and change their diapers if they need it. Fun, right? Exactly!
Today we were in a room with a beautiful baby, probably 3 months old. In Romanian hospitals, multiple children will share a small room. So there were two mothers in there with their children as well. We were holding our baby and playing with her. Neither of the mothers there knew much English, and we know very little Romanian.
The mother who was there with her baby had her other child with her, whom we also played with. She loved us. It was so fun! And her baby was laughing and smiling pretty much the whole time we were there. The mother looked ecstatic. After about 15 minutes, the mother said to us “She no smile in 2 week, now today.”
It’s never felt so good to make a baby smile.
The baby we were there to hold was so sweet! She had the cutest smile. Then the same mother mentioned above said “boy” and we were like “What?! It’s wearing pink!” But I guess you just wear what you have. Then we kept playing and enjoying the baby and she said “have no name” and we suddenly understood why he didn’t have a nametag above his bed.
We couldn’t leave that baby without a name. So we were trying to think of boy Romanian names and Mihai was all we could think of on the spot. The other mother said “Antonio” and we weren’t feeling it. Every name we tried out, the other mother said “Antonio.” Then the first mother said “Think English name”, and right away we said “Joseph.” It just felt right. And the mother who was insistent on Antonio gave a little smile.
When we go back on Monday, we are going to bring a nametag and put it above his bed. He doesn’t have a mother to name him, and it’s been about 3 months and the nurses haven’t named him, so we did the honors. It’s the first baby we’ve ever named. Joseph. Sweet Joseph.