Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lord Is My Shepherd, Part 1 (Season 1, Episode 13)

Pa bugs Ma for not eating and being too thin. Well, enjoy it now, Chuck, cuz it ain't gonna last. Ma is - how would they say it back then? - with child.

Charles needs make sure that everyone in Walnut Grove knows how excited he is about the baby. And by 'baby', I mean the boy male son that Caroline is certainly carrying. Charles also prepares for the baby by constructing the world's biggest crib. Where the hell is that gonna fit in the little house?

The more apparent it becomes that Pa really really really wants a boy this time, the more Laura tries to compensate for, like, not being a boy. She beat Johnny Johnson at some old-fashioned recess game and he called her a tomboy! That's almost like being a boy. Yeah, except not. Sorry, Laura. You fail.

Nine months pass at warp speed, until one morning after Ma sends the girls off to school. She holds her stomach joyously and tells Pa to send for the mid-widow Grace Snider.

Later in the day, the girls and Pa wait in the loft, while Ma and Grace work on the birthing. Then, suddenly - a baby's cry! It's the boy that Pa wanted!

The girls peek around the quilt door to see the new baby.

Already Laura is less excited than the others. Carrie says: "Carrie's dolly!" but Pa shoots that idea down quickly and sternly: "No, Carrie. That is my son. Charles Ingalls, Jr."

The baby will be baptized on Sunday, Pa tells Nels Oleson at the mercantile, while completely ignoring Laura's exhibition of flour-sack carrying strength. Pay attention, Pa, cuz I'm pretty sure that's something a boy would do. To make matters worse, Nels starts going on about how awesome a son is. Yeah, like he would know. Willie, ha! Everything a man could want? Keep wishing, Nels. And jeez, Laura is right there! Make her feel like shit, why don't ya?

It's baptism day, and the church has a celebratory picnic. Harriet Oleson approaches Ma, pretending to want a look at the baby... but REALLY wanting to dis' Ma. Four kids now, eh? Country wives are kinda like brood mares. Harriet says,"In my case, Nellie and Willie are more than enough." Ma snarkily agrees. Burn!

Mr. Edwards buys popcorn for the girls to celebrate their new brother. He's started calling the baby 'Freddie', for his middle name, Frederick. Ma hates it.

Doc Baker comes by to check on Freddie. He's not gaining weight. It's probably something to do with Ma's milk, so he gives her some other stuff to try. Ma pays him in eggs, which she feels silly doing because Doc Baker gave them the chickens. Continuity for the win!

Laura comes home from school and shows Pa a map of Walnut Grove that she made. But OMG - Freddie is drinking from a bottle! Can't miss that. Pa immediately runs into the bedroom, ignoring the hell out of Laura. Laura walks away sadly, rejected, and tosses her map into Plum Creek.

That night Mary prays for God to make Freddie strong. And Laura kind of doesn't. Mary threatens to tattle to Ma and Pa that Laura didn't pray for Freddie. Yeah, well, Laura prayed for a sister and God didn't listen, so now she don't even care.

Doc Baker comes back to the house with bad news. Freddie still isn't gaining weight. He's seen it before and there's nothing he can do.

Sometimes a country doctor feels so useless! The Ingallses just cannot depend on this guy when it comes to babies. Good thing Mary and Laura were born out of state. Ma and Pa leave the girls with Grace Snider, and take Freddie to Mankato. Freddie dies in the hospital, and Ma and Pa return home alone. Mary cries, and Laura runs off, and I bet this whole scene is pretty awkward for Grace Snider.

Next Sunday, the family attends church. It's time for another Alden sermon: "It isn't enough to say 'I'm sorry, Lord', and then continue your sins until the following Sunday." But you can work together with the Lord and all things will be possible. "Remember I said ALL THINGS."

Laura has been wracked with guilt over not praying for Freddie, so she stays after church to talk to the Rev. She has a question. Alden is pleased that Laura paid attention to his sermon, because so many people don't. Yeah, get over it, Alden. Stop scaring the child. Laura wants to know how to get a miracle. Well, "The closer you are to God, the more likely he is to listen."


Susan said...

I remember seeing part of this episode when I was in second grade. It revealed to me that the books were not 100% factual. (They are much more so than the show, but Caroline and Charles DID have a boy who died soon after he was born.) I was so confused when Mom explained all this to me!

~tracy~ said...

i LOVE your blog! I kind of wish you would post every day.

Julie said...

no one but Pa could have said, "He's in heaven, child" so poignantly. TEAR!

Julie said...

Also, back in the day, lil Freddie would have been suckin on Ma not a bottle!