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More Mouths to Feed:
Oliver Liam Wolf
Last year, with the birth of their second child expected soon, Min and Beau Wolf planned a quiet St. Patrick's Day celebration at home. As it turned out, their evening was anything but serene.
Min had just finished preparing dinner for Beau and 51/2-year-old son Cameron when things really started cooking. "The contractions started around 6 o'clock, and they were coming quick," says Min. She did manage to get in a few bites of corned beef and cabbage before realizing she'd better get to the hospital pronto. Friends came right away to collect Cameron. "Then we got in the car, and my water broke and I started to push," says Min.
The race to the hospital was an adventure in itself. Says Beau, "I got to the Safeway on Market Street, and I said, 'Let's just stop, we can do this here.' But I had Kaiser on the phone, and they said, 'No, just keep driving!'"
"Which I'm glad for, because I did not want to have the baby at the store!" Min laughs.
In their urgency to reach their destination, the couple may have been mistaken for holiday revelers. "My husband was driving like a banshee, with his hand on the horn the whole way," Min says. "It's Friday night, St. Patrick's Day, and Beau's going through the lights and no one seemed to care."
When the couple finally reached the hospital, "we didn't even show our Kaiser cards," says Min. "We ran in through the Emergency Room doors, and they were all looking at us like we were insane. The baby was coming and no one was moving. Finally, some woman came over -- I guess it was a nurse -- and she said, 'Oh, the baby's crowning -- lie down on the floor.' I lay down on the floor with no blankets or towels, and with one push out he came, and Beau caught him."
Their audience in the E.R. clocked the dramatic entrance of Oliver Liam Wolf at 7:45 p.m. on March 17, 2000 (weighing 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches). "There were all these Emergency Room patients looking and watching," says Beau. "When it was all over, I looked around and everyone was patting me on the back and saying, 'Congratulations!'"
News of the Wolfs' achievement spread quickly through Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, and soon doctors and nurses from other departments were surrounding the couple as well.
"They were all so happy," Min says. "They said, 'Sorry that we're all smiling, but usually it's bad news in Emergency. Usually we don't get this kind of thing.'"
Now approaching his first birthday, Oliver has a full head of curly brown hair, big brown eyes, and a charming set of dimples. He is also maintaining his reputation as a track star. His feet are in constant motion, and he's shown a special talent for flexing his big toe as if to give the "thumbs-up" sign. "He's real active, and he needs a lot of distractions," says Dad.
"For the most part, he's really happy," notes Mom. "He's always smiling. Of course, he has his moments when he's a bit temperamental. He's not as self-sufficient as our older one was. Cameron could play by himself or sit in his swing for a long time, but Oliver wants attention. He likes to be picked up and and held."
Min, 34, and Beau, 33, both natives of Southern California, met in a Hollywood bar in 1990. "We literally bumped into each other," Min says. "Someone pushed me into him."
The two moved to San Francisco in 1991 and found a home on Sanchez Street in Eureka Valley. In March of 1995, they moved to their current residence on San Jose Avenue, and were married a few months later. Min is a full-time mother and homemaker, and Beau is a marine engineer.
Just two months after Oliver's birth, Beau was away at sea for 105 days. "Every 35 days, my ship would come into Oakland and I'd come home for a day," he says. "At first, when Oliver would see me walk in, he'd be almost crying. He'd be like, 'Who are you?' But then he got to know me and I got to know his personality and connect with him. I really like that connection with a really young baby. It's something you never experience unless you're a parent."
Dad and baby are now the best of pals, and Cameron likes to join in the male bonding. At home, the threesome get creative with blocks and Legos. And when reading aloud to the boys, Beau is a pro at inventing different voices for the picture-book characters.
On outings to the park, "we make up some game with a ball, and I'll be carrying Oliver around," says Beau. "We'll pretend to play Star Wars and chase each other around and play tag. Oliver always wants to get involved and touch things. He's a real player, even if it's just pretend."
Min was initially concerned that Cameron might have a hard time sharing the spotlight after four years of his parents' undivided attention. To her relief, "Rarely has there been any problem," she says. "Cameron helps me all the time with Oliver. They like being together. Oliver is always laughing at what Cameron is doing, and Cameron likes to entertain. He calls him his little lamb."
The brothers like to bowl a few strings with the baby bowling set Cameron gave Oliver for Christmas, and baby delights in watching big brother play with his trains. "He's fun," says Cameron. "He comes crawling in my room and pours the big blocks out."
Three days a week, Oliver accompanies Cameron to the Tiny Tots program at Upper Noe Rec Center. While the 3- to 5-year-olds let loose with arts and crafts and show-and-tell, Oliver schmoozes with the moms and nannies. "He gets passed around," says Min. "People don't believe that he ever cries, because he's fine with everybody -- even when the kids are making a lot of noise. They were playing instruments one day, and it was chaos. Oliver was just laughing the whole time. Then he fell sound asleep."
Oliver can entertain himself, too. He especially enjoys playing peekaboo with the boy in the mirror. "I don't think he knows it's him in the mirror," Beau says. "He sees another baby, and he'll try to go after him. He'll pull at his curls, and he's like, 'Gee, that baby's got funky hair! Wow, that's weird! Why's he doing that?'"
On weekends, when the family heads out for a stroll, all roads lead to 24th Street. The boys check out the latest toys at the Ark, and "somehow we always end up at the Noe Valley Bakery," Min says. Oliver smacks his lips while Cameron noshes on brioche. "He's really not too sure about regular food yet," says Beau. Cheerios are about as far as he will go.
For Min, having a second baby has rekindled the pleasures of "how babies smell, and all the little coos and noises that they make. I love nursing Oliver and just being close to him," she says.
As father of two now, Beau has noticed the extra demands on his attention. "If I have Oliver in my lap, Cameron wants to come here, too. Or there will be some little problem like 'I need a glass of water right now!' There's a little competition, but I'm learning to deal with it. I'm like, 'Hey, we can work it out!'" M
More Mouths to Feed
wants to show off your newest family member. If you have welcomed a new baby into the house, or adopted a teenager, please send your announcement to the Noe Valley Voice, More Mouths to Feed, 1021 Sanchez St., San Francisco, CA 94114. Or e-mail us at email@example.com. We'd also appreciate a phone number, so we can arrange for the family portrait.