Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I have a brand new nephew!

My brother called me this morning to tell me that his wife had their first baby today.  A little guy named Simon Christopher. Well, last I heard, Christopher was the 'tentative' middle name, but for now, that's what it is.

Simon is just the cutest little guy name. It goes very well with the name we have picked if we end up with a Goblin of the male variety - an old fashioned, British sounding name.  My brother said that if we have a boy, we'll have to get Simon and Goblin together to eat scones and drink tea.

Congratulations to the first time parents, K and D.  I'm over the moon for them and can't wait to meet the little guy.

I have five brothers. Three of them have had children now.  All boys. So on my side of the family, I have five nephews and zero nieces. Testosterone, anyone?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why I wanted to have another baby

My grandpa passed away last week after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. (Today would have been his 89th birthday.) When I finally got a chance to talk with Grandma at the visitation, the first thing she said to me was, “Now tell me the truth, Monica. Are you happy about this baby?” It made me smile, especially after she told me that the idea of her youngest child took some ‘getting used to.’ 

We've actually gotten some comments that leaned to the offensive side, but most of what our acquaintances have said made me laugh. I’d be more offended if I didn’t understand their viewpoints.  I get it. It’s unusual to have a kid when you’re our age, unless you’re newly married, or have been trying for a long time, or are just now getting around to having kids.We're none of those things.

I understand the shock of it all. Some of the comments we got when we went public with the news of Goblin’s pregnancy were funny.  I think “Holy SHIT, Monica, are you crazy?!!” was my favorite. But “You do realize by now how this happens, right?” was a close second.  Yeah, we kind of figured that out.

The thought has been bouncing around in my mind for a few years now. Perhaps it’s because Bumblebee is growing up so quickly.  Or that Hollywood and The Boy are both in high school, preparing to leave the nest. The Husband’s family has had a veritable baby boom recently (five babies in the past 3 years) and that only awakened the sleeping tiger inside me that is baby fever. Last fall, my step mom passed away. While MJ’s time ended and Dad’s future became complicated and uncertain, my brothers and sisters-in-law gathered together and faced that awful situation head on. We had each other to lean on, to share the burden of what was not a pleasant experience. We found time to laugh, bitched about things that annoyed us, and bonded in our close but not touchy-feely way. When I thought about how grateful I am for the gift of my family, the tiger woke from a fitful sleep, stretched out its muscular body, and let out a roar. 

I want my own kids to have that some day. Sure, the dynamics will be different.  Hollywood will be 18 years older than Goblin, so their relationship will probably not fully develop until later in life. Who knows, I could be in a nursing home, completely off my rocker by then. But still, they will have  each other.

People have had other questions about having another child when we already have three, spaced 10 years apart. Some people might wonder why I don’t pursue my career more vigorously at this stage in my life.  I’ve done quite well with it so far, moving into a position last year that secured me an ‘officer’ title.  Having an AVP in my title is pretty cool, I won’t lie. I’m proud of my career, and for the most part, I enjoy what I do, and I’m good at it.  So one might wonder why I’m choosing to delay further ascension up that corporate ladder by having another baby. I guess my answer to that is simply that work is not my life. I do my best to make sure that I’m happy enough in my current position to maintain a healthy home/life balance, but I work to live, I don’t live to work.  When I retire in 25 years, I doubt I’ll regret the decision to have Goblin instead of powering ahead for an executive vice president position.

Other folks have asked me if I’m a glutton for punishment because I try to make it to most of my kids’ games, concerts, events, and activities. They ask, “don’t you want your own life?”  To that I say, “This is my life.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I do things for myself too.  I play bunko with the neighbor ladies and go to book club monthly, and I try to have the occasional social event with my girlfriends from time to time… The Husband and I have been good about scheduling at least a long weekend away together each year, in order to reconnect with each other outside of our frenetic home life.  But I have to tell you, that the softball games, and the football practices, the show choir performances, and so on, are social in themselves.  I talk with the parents of kids who are on the teams, we become fast friends, at least for the duration of that particular event’s season.

My manager asked me how I would handle having another kid with all of these things going on. I can see her point – The Husband is often gone for these events, so I’m there with a kid or two in tow.  It’s not easy, but babies are portable, and I think the enjoyment you get from having a child outweighs the burden of having to tote them everywhere when they’re little.  Bumblebee was carted to the older two kids’ activities from the time she was an infant.  She’s used to it, and is a fairly adaptable kid. 

Others wonder how I can bear to deal with the sleepless nights that a newborn brings. I think of what awaits me this fall: I will be so sleep deprived that I’ll put the cell phone away in the refrigerator.  I’ll have bags under my eyes, and my body will be too chubby to fit into anything other than sweatpants. My hair will fall out by the handful.  But that won’t matter much, because I won’t find the time to shower for days and I won’t do anything other than a ponytail to my hair. My time will be spent feeding Goblin and watching The Husband and our older children interact with their new brother or sister.  I’ll explore tiny hands, stroke a sweet-scented, silky head, and I’ll rarely put that kid down until s/he’s a month old.

I honestly couldn’t be more excited for that if I tried. We are blessed, The Husband and I. And why not go for one last blessing while we still can?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The waxing and waning of life.

Life’s been getting in the way of blogging again, but Summertime will do that , and I’m not complaining.
*photo of Grandpa B and me, taken a couple of years ago:
grandpaNmeMy grandpa is very ill. He’s been suffering from Alzheimer’s for a few years now, and a week or so ago, took a turn for the worse. His treatment has been changed to focus on comfort/palliative care, and the Hospice team has been engaged. It won’t be long before he passes away.  I don’t want him to suffer any longer; I know he’s lived a long, full, and happy life. But I’m sad to think of him no longer being here with us. I haven’t lost a grandparent yet, which is unusual for a 38-year-old. But Lord knows I’ve been to enough funerals for family members over the past year or so.

Is it cheesy to conjure up thoughts of the great Circle of Life as a segue to my next topic? Yeah? Oh well, too late. I am now a little past 20 weeks along - officially halfway through this pregnancy. I haven’t talked about my pregnancy much on this blog because I’ve been uneasy to do so. As many of you know, we’ve suffered three pregnancy losses. Two were miscarriages, and one was a third trimester stillbirth. So to say that I’m nervous when it comes to pregnancy would be an understatement. It’s more accurate to say that I’m a completely neurotic nutball much of the time.

I’m trying my very best to enjoy the pregnancy, to savor the fluttery movements and little jabby kicks that happen once Goblin wakes up in there. It never fails to make me smile when I feel those movements.  Well, except for when s/he tries to launch a 70 yard punt with my bladder. That isn’t such a smiley moment. It’s getting easier to relax, the further along I get into the pregnancy.  It’s very obvious that I’m pregnant now, my belly is huge already.  I guess when you’re 5’2” there isn’t much room to grow, except for OUT.  I’m feeling better most days, although my physical energy level is still much lower than I’m used to, and getting tired all the time is, frankly, driving me crazy. But I’m still scared of the unknown. Scared of what can happen, because I’ve been there when things went wrong.

We have a detailed ultrasound in two weeks, where they will measure limbs, check out the heart, brain, spine, organs, etc. They will have a pretty good idea if the baby is healthy or not, based on what they see in that scan. I’m trying not to focus on that date, but it’s hard. I’ve been telling myself that the outcome is not within my control, so worrying is only going to make things worse. And that helps a little bit. I’ve been blessed with three healthy, robust children.  If I’m given one more, I will be overjoyed.

I can’t help but think about this new life growing inside of me when I think about my grandfather. Grandpa’s time here on Earth is winding down, and Goblin’s is gearing up. It’s an interesting concept, this waxing and waning of life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Time to cut off the 'fro.

Somebody needs a hair cut:
*photo of The Boy with his crazy curls:
The Boy has awesome hair.  I'm jealous of it's texture, the curls, and of how amazingly thick it is.  He lets it grow long and crazy curly, and when it gets this way, his friends call him Frodo.  A combination of 'fro and a hobbit from the Shire?  Who knows...just as long as his feet don't get all crazy hairy like the hobbits on the LOTR movies.

Anyway, I love the curls, but The Boy's hair is so thick and coarse and curly that in the summer it gets really hot.  So... we chop it off at the beginning of the summer.  By the fourth of July, the curls will be back, and by the time school starts, he'll have that curly mop top again.

I have to admit, I miss the curls.  But... for a brief moment, he looks pretty respectable, doesn't he?
*photo of The Boy with his hair cut short:

Did I say 'respectable'?  I meant he looks like a freak in a can:
*photo of The Boy doing a really goofy face: