Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christmas Shopping Accomplished (nearly)

I am not usually the type that buys Christmas presents early, but I think I will be quite busy soon, so I did what I could online yesterday.

The hubby: check! All complete, something he expects and a nice surprise
The teen: half check, but her dad is better at finding the other presents than I am
The toddler: Check
The baby: Baby's first Christmas, they always get a personalized stocking, so check
Really, all that's left is the shopping for the adult gift exchange. We draw names, and the teen is included in the adults, so my family is responsible for gifts for my mom and both my brothers. It doesn't really matter who drew who, I end up doing the shopping. That's okay, I enjoy it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please stop asking that!

I'm going to rant. I thought I should warn people.

Stop asking me if this is my last child, or if we plan to stop "now that we have our boy" or hinting that we ought to stop for similar reasons. A polite and genuinely interested inquiry about how many more we want is fine, but I find that everyone from the bagger at the grocery store to theneighbor up the street has to share his or her opinion on my family size. It's annoying, and frankly, I find it more than a bit rude.

I have three children. One is 16 and in a few years will be off to college and her own life. It's a situation that makes me feel like I really only have the younger two (and no, the youngest isn't technically here yet. Soon.). I don't want to stop at two. I believe that siblings are a priceless asset to children and families, much more important than a newer car, a boat, a bigger house or just more stuff. I'd rather give them a little brother or sister.

I'm not saying that we won't stop until we've hit a round dozen or anything like that. I'm not sure I have the grace for ten or twelve kids, but I don't want to stop at this one. Certainly not because so many people act like I ought to stop. Those people who do decide to limit themselves to one or two, taking occasionally extreme measures to ensure that their family never grows again, have their own reasons. Health. Finances. Space. Mental health. Their reasons are between the spouses and God. Please, stop assuming that I must look at it the same way. Don't ask if we're getting the husband "snipped" after this (He's my husband, not some randy dog who keeps jumping the fence. What an insulting thing to ask.)

It's even harder to keep friendly in this type of conversation when the other person share how their husband had the vascetomy only a week after the baby was born. They seem so proud of it, like this unneccessary operation, which has forever altered their spouse, which may not be reversible if they change their minds, is an intrinsic good. I remember holding my first baby. She filled my arms and my world and I was sure that I would never want for another thing forever and ever amen. Then she grew up. It probably isn't inevitable, but for those who have sterilized themselves so quickly after a birth, how do they feel when the baby turns one and is toddling off? Is there ever some pang of regret, some sense of wishing for one more, one more chance to swaddle and cuddle (and yes, become sleep-deprived and nutsy from exhaustion)? It's hard, with that first or second babe-in-arms to look forward and think, "I will want to do this again. I don't want to end it here." Isn't the outlook after birth a little different than that a year later, or two? With the decision made, the cut finished, the tubes tied, the process complete, the only road back is harder, fraught with tougher decisions that it would be before. It is cutting off potential as well as flesh.

So for the record: We are not stopping after this child. We don't know how many we want. Children come one at a time (usually) and we can decide one at a time. We will consult God about it, one at a time. In the end, He has the final say. Had my parents' planning gone well, I would not be here. Neither would my younger brother. My parents then would have no grandchildren. I don't think they regret at all that they had four instead of two. If they had sterilized themselves after number two, though, they would never have known they they would be missing these children so much further along down the road. I can't help but think it would have left a hole they couldn't place. We won't cut off our future potential for the convenience of the present.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Patience is a virtue, one of the supernatural moral virtues, I think. And it ought to count double or triple because there are many types of patience. I'm better at some than others.

I'm pretty good at the "I've explained this type of math problem six times and she still doesn't get it" type of patience. The type that leads a mom or teacher to explain it yet again.

I'm not too bad at the "It's eleven PM and my toddler refuses to sleep tonight" patience, though the closer I get to my due date, the more Hail Mary's I need to keep it.

I'm downright awful at the"waiting for my house to sell" patience. Waiting on God's timing seems much harder than being patient with people. Maybe it's because I feel like God could hurry things up if He thought it was neccessary. Knowing that a) He won't and b) it will turn out better this way, doesn't exactly make me more patient. It just means I have to apologize more for my impatience.

I'm not doing too well on the "Baby could be here any day, labor could start any minute" patience. Part of me feels so ready (the part that has to pee every 20 minutes and can't sleep at night because there is no comfortable position anymore, it's really ready) and part of me remembers that the due date isn't for a week, and that it would be great timing, since my husband has four days off in a row right then. And those other parts think, "Seven days? That's 168 hours. 10080 minutes. That's a long time." It's a lot of trips to the bathroom.

So I'm ready to wait, and figure out which part of the virtue I'm earning and which I need to work on. I'm still finding it easier to wait on baby than on God, though, Lord knows, it's the same thing right now, isn't it?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Birthdays and False Alarms

We celebrated my 2-year old's birthday yesterday. It wasn't her actual birthday, but most of the people we know work, so we set a weekend party. Birthdays have always mystified me a litte. The parties, anyway. When I was growing up, they were for friends and family. We had the choice of what Mom would make for dinner, what type of cake and ice cream we wanted (and that was the only time of year, other than holidays, when we had dessert) and we had people over for a party. Today sometimes, I see parents paying a huge amount for a party venue, or spending quite a bit for McDonalds or Pizza Hut or the pool to host the party. Fun, but is it neccessary? We had at least 16 people over, ranging in age from two months old (my neighbor and buddy from college and her baby) to over 65 (Grandpa). The kids took over the back yard (thank God multiple times for the glorious fall weather) and were quite enthusiastic about the rats. The adults staked claim to the couch and the teens managed to hang onto the edges, looking cool but still taking part. We had enough cake and just barely enough ice cream and everyone went home tired, full and happy, which means it was a successful party.

Then we went to church. It was a normal Mass, until after the Eucharist, when I started having the most intense Braxton-Hicks contractions I've ever felt. After about the third one, I sent Chalea back to catch our doctor's nurse, who goes to our church, to ask her to wait after the Mass was over. Her advice was to take a nap (I'd need the rest) and make sure my bags were completely packed. We both expected to see each other before morning. Here it is, morning, and I'm still at home. The contractions never intensified and faded for a while every time I changed position, so I figured they were false labor. Maybe it was the busy day. I'm still on high alert, though. I ought to call Mom too, because I'm sure she's been on high alert all night as well.