Noe Valley Voice November 2001

More Mouths to Feed:
Audrey Sophia Campbell-Eby


Laurel Eby and Patrick Campbell met as exchange students in Germany in 1989. The two native Californians hit it off when they found themselves sharing a table at a wine festival in Wiesbaden, and they've been together ever since.

After graduating from college, the couple returned to Germany, where they lived for four years. They exchanged wedding vows in 1994, and returned to the States the following year, where they found a home in the city's Alamo Square district. After the birth of their daughter Zoë, now 21/2 years old, the family moved into their current home on Jersey Street.

On May 1, 2001, Laurel and Patrick gave birth to their second daughter, Audrey Sophia Campbell-Eby. Patrick was on hand at California Pacific Medical Center to welcome the new addition, who arrived at 8:27 a.m., weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. The birth was "a lot faster than the last one," says Laurel. "Zoë, from water breakage to birth, was twenty-nine hours. Audrey was only twelve and a half."

Things went so smoothly that daughter Zoë didn't even notice the changing of the guard at home. "Zoë woke up rather surprised to find Grandpa and Grandma in our bed, because we went to the hospital at midnight," says Laurel. "She knew that they were going to come when it happened, but she didn't know that it would be that night."

Little sister Audrey Sophia has a full head of brown hair, and dark gray eyes. Though she wasn't named after anyone in particular, both Mom and Dad like Audrey Hepburn and thought it was a pretty name. "It's a little unusual, and we both like unusual names. So she's named after two movie stars -- it wasn't planned," Laurel jokes.

At five months, Audrey has a happy, mellow disposition. Patrick notes that though she doesn't cry a lot, Baby can be quite talkative. "She babbles a lot more than Zoë did," he says. "My mom tells me that I was a chatterbox when I was a baby, so it's possible that she got some of that from me."

Zoë is enjoying big sister status, and shares her extensive collection of stuffed animals and toys with Audrey. One of Baby's favorite toys is a gift sent by friends in Germany: a tiny red stuffed giraffe, which is fun to squeeze and suck on. She also likes relaxing in her indoor swing or her Exersaucer.

Patrick, 33, works as a video specialist for Silicon Graphics in Mountain View. Laurel, also 33, formerly a project manager at a translation company, is now a full time "domestic engineer."

"I always thought I'd be the the type of mom who couldn't stand being at home, that I'd have to go back to work," she says. "I do occasionally get a little stir-crazy, but after I had Zoë, I thought, I can't leave her with someone else."

"Originally, she thought she'd go back to work after three months, and when three months rolled around, she thought, well, maybe six months," Patrick says. After extending the deadline a couple more times, "she finally said, 'Oh, forget it!'"

Two mornings a week, while Zoë attends preschool, Mom and Audrey hunker down on the floor for some serious play time. "She doesn't get to be on the floor too much when Zoë's around because I don't want her to get tromped on," Mom laughs. "So I'll let her lie on her back or her tummy, and we'll just giggle at each other."

Audrey is starting to sit up and roll over, but if you set her down on the floor, you don't have to worry that she's going to scurry away. "It's kind of a nice stage, when you don't have to constantly chase them," Patrick says.

Both girls like to visit the zoo and the park and, seated side by side in their double-wide stroller, will accompany Mom as she runs errands in the neighborhood. But one of the most treasured family activities takes place on weekends. "I'll tell Zoë that Pancake Day is coming, and that means Daddy will be home all day," Laurel says.

Even though Audrey can't actually eat the pancakes yet, she insists on joining the breakfast table. "She sits in her swing, which we pull up to the table so that she can see all of us," says Mom. "If she's getting a little cranky, the seat in her swing comes out and we can set it at the end of the table so she can see us better. So she's at one end, and Zoë's at the other end in her high chair."

Both parents agree that raising number two has been a more relaxing experience. Laurel has learned that "babies need to cry a little before they go to sleep, which I never realized with Zoë, because I never let her cry. Audrey will just cry for a couple of minutes and then goes to sleep. It was like 'Wow! That's a revelation.'"

"Before we had kids, we were told, 'You're going to love your kids more than anything you'd ever imagine,'" Patrick relates. "And if they could have somehow quantified it, I don't think I would have believed them. I now understand how much I can love them.... It's just the most amazing thing. They're more work than I ever imagined, but I still think they're the most wonderful things in our lives."

Laurel seconds the opinion. "Sometimes I just look at the girls and think, "How did we have such cute girls?" she says. "How is it possible that we created these wonderful girls?"


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