The baby was late. She was due September 15, but that day passed. It was our niece's first baby, and she was warned that due dates weren't always exact, so she was not concerned. My Darling Wife, however, was impatient.
"I want to start the quilt," she said that morning after she said good-by to her sister and put down the telephone.
"What quilt?" I asked. She was still finishing up the quilt she had been working on for several weeks.
"The baby quilt for Kate."
"That's what they plan to call her."
"And Kate who hasn't even been born yet needs a quilt?"
'That's a silly question," she said.
Of course it was. I knew better. But she had been so involved with the quilt she was working on that the thought of her next quilt hadn't entered our conversation before. "You're going to make a baby quilt for the new baby," I said.
"I told you that."
"You told me you were thinking of making something with something or other."
"There was a dolphin in my sewing room this morning," she said. Her tone was neutral.
"Swimming or sitting at your sewing machine?" I asked sweetly, never for a moment believing her.
"It swam up from the ocean," she said.
"One of those we saw in the ocean last week?" We had seen dolphins swimming. Maybe she had been working too hard to finish the quilt she was finishing.
"Could be," she said. She looked directly at me, daring me to disagree.
"And then what? Dolphins don't do well out of the water."
"There was water. It swam around with its friends talking to me."
"Friends?" I had to ask. "Dolphin friends? And what did they talk about?"
"My new quilt for the baby," she said.
"Not the quilt you're working on?" I asked.
"The one I'm working on is big and boring. I want to do a new little quilt."
"You already made two quilts for the baby."
"So?" She gave me a look that would have threatened me into hiding in a dark cave had I not seen that look before.
"Where are the dolphins now?" I asked. First things first.
"In the ocean. They just stopped by to ask if I would put some dolphins in my next quilt."
"What did you tell them?"
"I told them there were no dolphins in the design I was planning."
"And they said.?" She paid no attention to the look I tried to give her along with my question.
"They told me to change it."
"Can you change it?"
"I have to take out the baby toys and change a few things. I can leave the boat in."
"Boat?" This was fast becoming a trip into never-never land.
"I'm adding a few extra boats for the baby."
"You're changing the original design to please the dolphins swimming around in your head?" I knew they weren't in her sewing room. The ocean was four miles away.
"The baby wants boats."
"The baby that hasn't been born yet wants boats?"
"I'm sure of it."
"The baby is late," she told me two days later after another call from the mother of our niece.
"That'll give you time to finish the big quilt," I said.
"I'm almost finished."
"But you'd rather be working on the baby quilt?" I asked.
"I can't work on the baby quilt until the baby is born," she said.
"Is that another quilting rule? You worked on the first quilt long before the baby was born."
"That wasn't this quilt. This quilt has to know when Kate's born," she said.
"Did the dolphins tell you that?" I asked.
"It's an appliqué quilt. It has the date of birth on it," she said.
"Kate's date of birth?"
"Not mine," she said.
Kathleen Rose Dunne was born on September 21, 2003.
"I'm on the binding," she said the day after the baby was born.
"Then you'll be finished," I said. She wanted to be finished with the big quilt.
"Then I'll start on the baby quilt. But I have to wait for the dolphins," she said.
"What dolphins?" I had forgotten the dolphins swimming in her room. Then I remembered them. I wondered where they had gone.
"I'll need the dolphins to swim on the quilt." she said. "You know all that."
I thought you had dolphins in your room," I said.
"Not real dolphins," she said. "Appliqué dolphins. I need to make a pattern and cut them out of fabric.:
"Find me a good picture of a dolphin," she said.
I found several photos and drawings of dolphins. She picked one out, made a few changes (probably on the advice of the real dolphins swimming happily in the Pacific Ocean which we had seen a week before), made them smaller on the copy machine, cut them out, and carried them up to her room where she assembled the pieces for the new quilt.
"I'll be busy for a few days," she said.
"A few days or a few weeks?" I asked.
"Sooner or later," she said, a quilter's answer.
"Twenty-point-five," she told me the following afternoon.
"Sounds good," I said, not having one clue as to what she was saying.
"When Kate was born," she said.
"Inches?" I guessed.
"Seven pounds and eight ounces," she said.
"It's not finished yet. I just called to find out the vital statistics."
"For the quilt."
"Of course for the quilt. Why do you think I waited?"
"I thought you were waiting for the dolphins."
"The dolphins are all cut out. They're happy. I'm happy, and you should be happy."
"What about Kate?"
"She's very happy."
"The quilt should be happy, too," I said.
"It will be when it's finished," she said.
"Then get back to work," I said.
"Be careful," she said.
"I'm going for a walk," I said, and I did, but I didn't see any dolphins.
Copyright 2003 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Vital Statistics Quilt"
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