In Maryland, It's a Second Son for the First Couple

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 7, 2004; Page C06

The governor's mansion is about to get a little more crowded.

Joshua Taylor Ehrlich, Maryland's "first baby" and the second son of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and wife Kendel S. Ehrlich, was born at 6:22 p.m. yesterday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

The couple arrived at the hospital at 8:30 a.m. Although the governor had said earlier that he's not a camcorder-in-the-delivery-room kind of guy, press secretary Meghann Siwinski said that Ehrlich spent time in his wife's hospital room.

"He's been in and out . . . getting coffee, being with her," Siwinski said, "being like every other dad."

But the governor had other concerns. About halfway through the delivery, news broke that a Baltimore Harbor water taxi carrying about two dozen people had overturned about 1,000 feet from shore, near historic Fort McHenry. Ehrlich left the hospital late yesterday afternoon to go to the scene.

"Doctors said, 'Go ahead and go. You've got plenty of time,' " said the governor's father, Robert L. Ehrlich Sr. "We got halfway down the [Baltimore] Beltway, and they called and said, 'The baby is on its way.' "

The governor continued to the harbor, where he remained before heading back to his wife about 6:30 p.m. Kendel Ehrlich's sister and mother-in-law were waiting at the hospital. The Ehrlichs' son, Drew, 4, stayed at home in the Governor's Mansion with a babysitter while his brother was born. The baby was not expected until late next week, but the family moved up the delivery date. Siwinski would not discuss further details of the birth, calling it "a personal experience for the governor and the first lady."

Kendel Ehrlich is expected to return home by Monday, Siwinski said. Drew often attends his father's speeches, hamming for photographers, and Kendel Ehrlich has made a name as her husband's key adviser and public supporter, fighting for his proposal to legalize slot machines and standing in at speaking engagements.

But Kendel Ehrlich also has made it a point to carve out family time from their busy schedule. She gave up her job as a prosecutor and then consultant to cable giant Comcast after her husband took office last year. She and Drew often are spotted playing on the front lawn of the mansion, Drew's toys scattered in the grass.

The Ehrlichs were married in 1993, shortly before Ehrlich declared his candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Drew was born in 1999.

After Ehrlich was elected governor, his wife said that she would like to have another child but that her husband did not want one. He is 45, and she is 42.

Kendel Ehrlich announced that she was pregnant during a $150,000 political fundraiser and fashion show for the governor's campaign fund in October.

The first couple decided to keep the baby's sex a surprise until the birth. His nursery is decorated with lime-green gingham wallpaper and an animal theme -- "elephants, of course," Siwinski said.

The family already employs a part-time babysitter to watch Drew, and she also will help out with the baby, Siwinski said.

Joshua is the second child to be born to a sitting Maryland governor in recent years. In August 2002, Jennifer Crawford, wife of then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) gave birth to Gabrielle Mona Glendening.

Before that, the last such occasion was in May 1879, when Gov. John Lee Carroll and his wife celebrated the birth of Philip Acosta Carroll.

Staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company