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Newborn Otto Brodhead transforms parents’ lives


Born to Peter and Sara Brodhead on Oct. 27, Otto Brodhead has an eccentric fascination with coat racks and lights. His grey-blue eyes fixate on flashy objects that catch his attention, and shortly after, he bursts out into contagious laughter. Otto is, as his parents describe, a happy baby.

“Otto likes to have his hands close to his chest and munch at the same time—just like a hun-gry, fat boy staring at a slice of pizza that he is not allowed to eat,” Mr. Brodhead said. “He also has a tendency to punch his blankets and have his fists out by the side of his head, which I [interpret] as a sign of happiness.”

Otto is now 12 weeks old, and according to his parents, his personality has started to slowly emerge. He loves to smile and seldom cries; in fact, according to Mrs. Brodhead, he only cries when he is hungry.

Otto is also growing increasingly aware of himself and his surroundings, as he is learning to notice sounds and grip onto different objects with his fingers. He does not yet have the full body coordination to roll over, which Mr. and Mrs. Brodhead are in fact grateful about, as they can expect Otto to stay still, rather than roll around freely.

“It is absolutely fascinating to see how much he learns every day,” Mrs. Brodhead said. “As soon as he was born, he learned two things: to breathe oxygen and to eat. He is now starting to perceive different objects and swat at things with his hands, which is interesting because it shows how aware he is of himself and his own body. He literally started from zero and is ab-sorbing the world at an amazing pace.”

Even before his birth, Otto shaped his parents’ lives in different ways. After Mrs. Brodhead became pregnant, doctors advised her to stop teaching for a semester. According to Mrs. Brodhead, this was a difficult decision to make because she wanted to see her students before taking her maternity leave. However, she ultimately decided to take the doctors’ advice and rest for the sake of her health and that of Otto. Mr. Brodhead has also been impacted, but said that he was, in many fundamental ways, the same person— caring and fun-loving.

“Now that Otto has entered our lives, everything is much bigger than just me and my wife— it is now about the family,” Mr. Brodhead said. “I was able to come to this realization when I held Otto in my hands for the first time; since then, everything I do has been motivated by that team mentality.”

As with any parent, Mr. and Mrs. Brodhead have high hopes for Otto. Mr. Brodhead wants Otto to have many friends so that Otto can interact with different types of people and gain a wider perspective of life. In addition, Mrs. Brodhead wants Otto to pursue education beyond high school, as she remembers her college years as having been enjoyable and enriching. Be-fore anything else, however, both Mr. and Mrs. Brodhead want him to always be true to him-self, kind-hearted and loyal to his family.

“While Mr. Brodhead and I have high hopes for Otto, we do not want to place any strict ex-pectations, as we want him to challenge himself and pursue whatever he feels passionate about,” Mrs. Brodhead said. “We have to realize that Otto will reach a point where he will start making his own decisions; it is the responsibility of Mr. Brodhead and me to support and love him for what he wants to do.”

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