By MAUREEN DOHERTY
NORTH READING — Drum roll please! We have a winner in the Transcript’s ninth annual First Baby of the New Year contest.
Little Morgan Kathleen Carroll entered the world on Monday, January 5 at 3:42 p.m.
Weighing in at 6 lbs., 12 oz., she was born at Beverly Hospital and she is the third child of Jamie (Babin) and Ryan Carroll of Westward Circle.
There were no surprises with her arrival. She was born exactly one week early and most importantly, is perfectly healthy. “She was uneventful,” Ryan said. “Which is nice,” adds Jamie. Being born a week early has its advantages. For starters, it helped her win the New Baby contest, which Jamie said was a “nice bonus.”
Jamie’s cousin, Michelle McCue, who also lives in town, read about the contest in the Transcript. “She texted me,” Jamie said. If Morgan won, her cousin’s finder’s fee was simple. “She said we have to take her to the Horseshoe or Kitty’s,” Jamie said, which happen to be two of the contest sponsors.
The Carrolls entered the day before the deadline and were the first family to come forward.
Little Morgan is joined at home by two big sisters, Delaney, who’s 3 1/2 and an active and talkative preschooler, and Finley, 17 months, a petite and quiet toddler with big brown eyes and a sweet smile.
Baby number three in most families is often very laid back and little Morgan is no exception to this rule. She slept contentedly in her mother’s arms during her press debut at 3 weeks old, oblivious to the activity swirling around her.
The fact that her mom and dad are pretty easy going and take everything in stride likely factor into Morgan’s temperament.
Rummaging through her baby sister’s gift basket of items donated by local businesses, Delaney finds a stuff toy and exclaims, “It’s a lion! It’s a lion daddy!” But she’s most fascinated by the long purple ribbon that was wrapped around the basket. Untying it, she gives one long strand to Finley and takes off on an adventure with the other strand.
Jamie said their oldest daughter has been very excited about the arrival of her baby sister. Since Delaney was only 2 when Finley was born, “she didn’t really get it,” her mom recalled. “So this time she is all about helping because she’s the big sister. She tells everyone. Every time I change her diaper she asks, ‘Want me to help you because I’m a big sister.'”
Meanwhile, Finley is not so sure what to make of the tiny being. “She’ll go over and pat her on the head or give her a kiss, but she doesn’t really bother with her and doesn’t really understand,” Jamie said.
The Carrolls have lived in North Reading for nearly eight years, first on Elm Street for five years before moving to a larger house on Westward Circle for their growing family almost three years ago.
Jamie said they picked their current house for “the neighborhood and more bedrooms.”
Originally from Woburn, Jamie is an RN in the emergency room at Winchester Hospital, where she has worked for many years. Ryan, a Reading native, is a project manager for a commercial construction company.
Morgan is the fifth grandchild of her maternal grandparents, Bob and Bonnie Babin of Woburn and the 10th grandchild of her paternal grandparents, David and Kathy Carroll of Reading, who are soon to have an 11th when Morgan’s cousin is born. She is also blessed with a great-grandmother, Beatrice McCue of Woburn. They chose Morgan’s middle name in honor of her paternal grandmother.
The young family enjoys outdoor activities like camping and visiting Ryan’s parent’s vacation home on the Cape. But mostly they spend a lot of time hanging out at home or visiting their extended network of family and friends.
“All of their cousins live in this area and we have friends that live around here, so we get together with them just to let them play together,” Jamie said.
Ryan adds with a smile, “All the kids are the same age so it’s a madhouse.”
As the winner of the first baby contest, the Carrolls were presented with a pretty gift basket of prizes to welcome baby Morgan. They were amazed by the collection of gifts it contained and expressed their thanks to the following businesses for their generosity: Abbott Shoe – $40 gift certificate; A Touch of Class Salon – free haircut and blow dry for mom and dad; Advanced Touch Massage Therapy – free half–hour massage for mom; Walmart, North Reading – one car seat for baby; The Savings Bank, North Reading branch – $25 savings account for baby.
Also, Horseshoe Grille – $25 gift certificate; Kitty’s Restaurant – $25 gift certificate; The Farm Land, Wakefield – $50 gift certificate; Honey Dew Donuts, downtown Wakefield — free box of donuts for new mom valued at $15; Hilltop Nursery School – complimentary registration certificate, $75 value; and North Reading Transcript – one-year gift subscription or extension of subscription for the parents.