Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bastille Baby

So:  my daughter (I never thought I'd say that after three boys - my DAUGHTER) turned 6 yesterday on Bastille Day.  Bastille Day is big around here:  it's Colette's birthday and my mother's birthday (we just say Memere is Colette plus _0, so!).

There was a Frozen cake; there were many girls -

I think fun was had.  I hope so, because I have been rendered immobile.  Birthdays are wonderful.  But man I guess I am getting old.

Colette is really tricky for me.  She is a lovely girl.  She is also sensitive, bright and VERY detail oriented, which sometimes clashes with my slap-dashery way of doing things.  And her flamboyant whackjob of a sister (who may go by the name of Sylvie) is often all too happy to trample through Colette's very precise plans for HOW THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

Oh I love her so much.  Sometimes I marvel that this ethereal little auburn haired beauty is my own little girl.  But all this growing up coming up:  it's not going to be easy for any of us females around here, not while we have oodles of estrogen coursing through our veins.


Well this is embarrassing:  I am kind of having a tough time slogging through the days.  And I feel bad about having a tough time.  Because - well, duh.  Six healthy kids.  Everything is good.

A dear friend reminded me today that "sometimes it is not our decision."  Strangely that was comforting.  Of course I didn't choose this; but I have to trust the One who allowed it to happen.

But I also have to believe that He knows how darn and stupidly sad I am.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Where I Try My Damndest to Have a Good D&C Day

So yesterday I had a D&C.  Oh man.   It started out a little rough:  I had intermittent tears, and several of the nurses thought I was either a) a head case (well duh), or b) nervous about surgery.  When they saw what my procedure was, they all understood.  And were really just the sweetest, kindest women:  all of them uttered a simple "I'm sorry," and conveyed a calm, understanding peace about them.  I know there's a lot of complaints out there about the current state of health care, but of the many, many medical professionals I've encountered, I'd say 97.3% of them were just quiet, competent, professional angels, serenely dispensing care, drugs and empathy.  So it was yesterday.
I know some people have trouble with anesthesia, but I always wake up giddy, relaxed, and happy.  Or:  sort of drunk.  Which is embarrassing, because here's what tumbled out of my mouth to the young and pretty recovery nurse:  "I have no right to be sad!  I have six healthy kids!  I have KEANE, RORY...et cetera et cetera...!"  And:  "Do you have kids?  What are their names?"  And:  "I feel like I just drank an excellent glass of Pinot Noir!" And:  oh gosh I will just stop there.
So way back when I had my last D&C, I got these rather wonderful painkillers.  Not only do they completely annihilate any cramping, they make me feel light, happy and downright bouncy.  So bouncy that I forget that I've had not insignificant surgery and suffered through a rather sad thing.  So I have to be super careful not to run a marathon, just because I feel so good, and not to get into the habit of popping them every four hours per the label.  Because Hydrocodone?  Isn't that Oxycontin?  Isn't that what all good celebrities get addicted to?
A non-sad aside:  I have been sort of blown away by "Totus Tuus" - that's Totally Yours, for all of us who didn't take Latin - it's the "Catholic Camp" my bigger kids have been attending this week.  The first night we hosted eight teachers, including two seminarians, for dinner (ok fine pizza) - and wow.  These were smart, polite, wonderful young people who could talk soccer, jump on trampolines and push babies on swings.  They have somehow managed to make even some of my shyer, more recalcitrant kids fall in love with them.  The kids go to daily Mass; today they went to Adoration (report:  "Colette went for 7 minutes, Will for 10; Rory for 20 and Keane for 30!"), and they cannot wait to go back every day.  I'm thinking this is nothing short of a miracle for my usually camp-hating kids.  Or Sainthood for Totus Tuus personnel.
A balm for my sad little soul today:  I'm sure I'm revealing the harrowing depths of my sheer shallow-ness here, but this little thing arrived today (I had signed up in the name of "research" for an article.) It was much fun to open and ooh and distract and ahhh.

Plus:  the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale started "privately" (meaning:  anyone who signs up for a credit card) today.  I am not sure there is any greater visceral pleasure for a material girl like me than choosily picking out adorable back-to-school shoes and clothing for her living children.

I might have thrown in a few treats for mama, too.
More vanity:  there's nothing worse than "losing the baby weight" than "losing the baby weight when there's been no baby."  Oh good grief.  Why have aesthetics have even crossed my mind?  Shallowness and vanity, that's why.  And oh how fun it is to eat with sheer abandon when pregnant!  I am one of those girls who packs on five pounds in the hour after I have a positive pregnancy test, and then steadily put on two pounds per week thereafter.  Gah.  Stupid stupid, that thigh and tummy flab have even crossed my mind.  But it's just a wee insult after a biggish injury.
But grief:  grief boils everything down to the bare essentials.  Grief renders everything in high resolution for a while:  you see, you really really see, the beauty of your children living life right in front of you.  You deeply feel your love for your concerned and solicitous husband.  You revel in the ordinary messes in your home:  the spilled milk, the clumps of white dog hair, the painful little Legos you step on, the puzzle pieces that a new puzzle aficionado has spilled over the family room.  Oh, this big exuberant life that I have been taking for granted.

And I'm just going to let you all make fun of me and say it:  I have this hope, a treasured and perhaps silly hope, that I still might be blessed with one more precious life; experience that joyous peace of holding a newborn in the crook of my arm in the hospital at 2am, witness the sheer bliss of introducing siblings to a new baby.  Maybe I'm being willfully obtuse, ignoring the odds, my history.  But:  I've never regretted being an optimist.

Oh sweet little baby VT.  Goodbye.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Well Poopy.

For the past...many months, I have hoped for another baby.  Yes, I know:   I already have six healthy, wonderful, monstrous children.  Isn't that enough, you ask?  Well, yes!  But I am greedy.  And here's the deal:  I don't want to run marathons.  I don't want to run for PTA president.  I don't want to play tennis, work out, go back to work, or become an interior designer.  Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things; I would just rather stay home with a new baby - while I still have any wee bit of fertility left.

I suppose it's easy for me to want more kidlets, too:  we are all healthy.  My husband has a stable, well-paying job.  I don't have any ardent desires for a career (I was a CPA.  It's not hard to "retire.").  And (well, I guess I ought to check with PVT), I have a pretty darn good marriage.

But I guess at my age, openness to another child opens one up to a lot of risk and grief.

Back in February, I had an early miscarriage.

Yesterday, I had a late first trimester miscarriage.  A "missed miscarriage."  I really thought this one was going to work:  I had felt sick; exhausted; I had to pee all the time.  I really thought this was the real deal.

But there was no heartbeat.

I think I'm still in shock a little.  I had been so confident I even told the kids.  When I picked them up from church camp yesterday, Will must have known something from my face because the first thing he asked me:  "Mama did your baby die?"

Tomorrow I'll have a D&C.  Woo hoo!

I'm so glad we're going on this wonderful trip; I think a change of scenery will be the perfect balm for my confused old soul.  Oh I know so many mothers have been through so much worse:  infertility, later miscarriages, stillborns.  Ugh, Ugh, Ugh.  But this little taste of grief I've had of the great grief ocean makes me ache for mothers everywhere, mothers who know this sense of emptiness and loss.  Although probably that feeling belongs to every mother, at some point.

Oh how very very lucky I am.  And of course:  there is still so much beauty, so much life, in watching your children grow up.  Right?  Right?  But I'm going to let myself be a little sad for a while, too.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Five Seconds of Summer

Well.  Dare I say it:  we are surviving summer?  Sometimes even getting out in the world and having some fun?  Sure, there some days where there is too much Sponge Bob, nagging, and general angst and humidity; but we are doing pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.

This guy turned 10.


Mr. Rory has become a walking encyclopedia of all things World Cup Soccer.  I suspect if you asked him who plays forward for Chile, or midfielder for Argentina, or who is the best player for the Netherlands, he would have the correct answer - and plenty of additional soccer-esque facts, if you were interested.  He joined his father and co-workers playing hooky at the local pub (he had root beer, no worries) for the US World Cup games, and had a fabulous time.

Plus: we had a sleepover for his birthday, and we survived!
We went to Rory's soccer coach's wedding, which was lovely, and which required us to dress up like mermaids and various "Under the Sea" characters, which was sort of ridiculous.
Oh so fitting.
Not sure what is going on here.

Colette keeping with the theme
This is supposed to be my "mermaid hair." 

We had a fabulous time.

--- 3 ---

And now a gratuitous shot of Margaux inhaling queso.

Our Will has had a few adventures of his own:  he got to go to the "lake" with his good friend.

Now a little background for you non-Okies:  everyone goes to "the lake" for every summer holiday.  I guess there is boating, fishing and swimming there.  I am not quite sure where "the lake" is, or what it is called. I am just going to be a flat-out snob and say I really don't care if I ever, ever, see or go to an Oklahoma lake.  I'm from Seattle.  It would be like a trip to a drainage pond after sunbathing on the Mediterranean.  

I'm pretty sure.

Our Fourth of July was fairly spectacular:  somehow Keane and I managed to buy a whole slew of rather staggering fireworks.  Artillery shells?  Saturn Rockets?  I don't know, but wow!  We could have charged admission!  We had some lovely neighbors over to our cul de sac, and also had views of the two big fireworks shows in town.  Here's the great picture I took:

What I SHOULD have taken a picture was our increasingly eccentric 70 pound labrador, who was so scared of the fireworks that he accompanied all of our guests into our small powder room when they needed to use the facilities.  Then - THEN - he leapt into the baby's crib.

Thankfully the baby was not in the crib at the time.
I have a little thing going on that I am not at liberty to discuss yet...but please say a wee prayer for me and I shall remember you, my dear eight blog readers, in my prayers as well.
Oh, and in case you've got a hankering for acupuncture, here's the latest from yours truly, the Hip Mom.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Looky Here! A Blog Post!

Cousins galore!
This post is for Missy, who wishes I would blog more often about the really pedestrian events of my life.  I'm not sure what that says about HER life.  

How does it happen that summer seems even busier than the school year?  I am not sure, you all.  Maybe because there's no bus in the summer.  Mama is the bus.  We've already done Princess Cupcake Camp, soccer camp, robotics camp and an all-day adventure camp.   There's been a soccer tournament, Scooby Doo Live, a quilt show (don't ask) and a hike on the nearby "mountain."  Throw in bassoon lessons, swimming lessons and piano lessons, and it is shocking that these dang kids are still spending HOURS on the dreaded screens.  But they are!

Then, while PVT escaped on his annual Golfapalooza, we had a visit from our cousins:  mini-golf!  Sno Cones!  Splash pads!  The Children's Museum!  Pizza, McDonald's, Chick Fil A, a fudge demonstration!  Many, many trips to the pool.
The Duct Tape Slide at the Children's Museum

Sylvie would ONLY go down head first, upside down.  It's her faulty wiring.  
People, it is all wonderful, but I am exhausted.  The other night PVT, at my insistence, drove all the kids back home from the pool and I walked home all by myself with an empty stroller.  It. Was. Heaven.

Spoiled Rotten
 Still to come this summer:  a wedding; 3 more birthdays; "Totus Tuus" (that's Catholic camp), and an epic trip through New Mexico to Vail (OK, OK, it's Beaver Creek, Colorado, but I like saying "Vail") to meet my family for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  Besides the inevitable barfing and whining in the car, it should be a fabulous trip.

As long as I don't fall into a deep deep sleep before we leave.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summertime and the Living is ANYTHING BUT EASY

Yesterday their grandmother asked my boys "what their goals were" for summer.
Um, wasting time and money at the arcade
And:  "How many books are you going to read?"

In the parking lot:  $40 for $1.93 in prizes.  Oddly I rather love this picture of the twerps.

Oh, yes, I know.  I will bring them to the library.  We will do some educational stuff.  We will travel; we will foist them into some camps (one even involving robotics!) (and one involving cupcakes and sprinkles, so - ); we will swim.  But this morning, when one of them asked to go to the arcade - one that doesn't usually like to spend time with the siblings en masse - I said yes.

Unfortunately things devolved after our lovely un-educational morning:  there was eye-rolling, squabbles every 2.1 minutes (please tell me your children like to taunt each other mercilessly JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT?), one hitting mama incident, and a Large Poop of Unknown Origin.

I adore my children, really I do.  But I suspect I might need some reminders over the course of the hot and humid here that there really is nothing else I would rather be doing.

Except possibly shopping for a couple hours while my nanny does crumb duty and fields disagreements over whose turn it is to fling the flipping plastic snake around.

Bring it, summer 2014.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Bunch of Stuff that Only a Grandmother (maybe?) Cares About

Well, I started this blog so very long ago partly to chronicle my monsters' childhoods, and I surely have been doing a lousy job of that lately!

We've had a very successful piano recital:
Posing with the prodigies; even Colette played.  Guess which kids are mine?

We have had celebrations of learning (the only photographic evidence shows my kid from a far distance singing something); and then this weekend we had Sylvie's first dance recital.  People, all these good moms posted darling pictures of their daughters backstage with flowers (FLOWERS!  Who remembers that?  Who does that?  Why are all these BABIES getting flowers and not their mothers, who have schlepped them to baby ballet all year and endured the recital?), and I didn't get one picture.  Yes, I was wrestling Margaux, but really.  I stole a picture my mother in law took afterwards at her house:

Despite the fact that I had to tear her screaming self off my leg when I left her with the "stage mom" who shepherds the wee dancers onstage, she did great.  She did her moves and seemed to love it - this one, of all my rascals, is a performer.

And then, on May 25, my baby Margaux turned two.

Margaux continues to be an absolute delight.  She is funny; she is independent; and for a newly minted two year old, she can carry on a pretty darn good conversation.  

She also adores her big sister Sylvie and mimics her every move, which is both adorable and terrifying.  

She has started to have opinions as most two year olds do, and IS NOT AFRAID TO SHARE THEM.

Are you kidding me?  I can't throw balloons at Dada while he's driving?
 We had a little celebration, a "Cinco de Marguax:"

Every 4th grader needs to learn to make Sangria!

Sheer ridiculousness

Cheezball decorations

No I have no pictures of Cinco de Margaux itself because once people arrive it's mayhem.  Glorious mayhem.

This is the first time I have had a two year old without a new infant or a heavily pregnant belly.  This is fine, of course (so I tell myself), but I wish I could tell my younger self not to worry too much about the speed with which the babies came at first, because someday I would be faced with doing ridiculous things like "going to the gym," or "joining the PTA," or "going out with the girls."  These things I would have just died to do when all of them were little - so exotic and impossible did they sound.  But now I realize I will have the rest of my life to do thrilling things like these, and that that baby window is really not very long - even for someone who had more than most.

Happy Birthday dear dear Margaux.  You are such a charming little sprite.  Please don't grow up too fast.
And what am I ever going to do with that hair?