Thursday, January 29, 2015

Too Sweet to be ignored.

In the mornings, Matt and I frequently wake up to 3 little boys lounging in our Master suite "sitting room" watching morning cartoons. By frequently, I mean EVERY morning, with the rarest of rare exceptions (I think they all slept in one time, once). Once we are all up and moving, showering, getting dressed, Mitch will eventually pipe up on the monitor. I will change him, let him down, and soon enough, we have 4 boys, all hanging out in the master bedroom. None of them will go downstairs without an adult, or at least 1-2 other brothers. Eventually, we are all dressed and ready for breakfast, so we begin the descent down the stairs as a family. Mitch has decided that he can walk down forward, like his brothers (he can't). So, I have to hold his hand. Curtis instantly observed his baby brother's habit, as well as the fact that he cannot walk down alone. Being the naturally inclined helper that he is, Curtis will frequently hold Mitch's other hand so we can both assist him down the stairs, safely.
Today, as we headed for the stairs, Curtis was carrying his LeapPad and charger, which required usage of both his hands. My hands were full as well. Curtis noticed, even before I did, that Mitch was balking at the top of the stairs, waiting for  the normally present, helping hands, so as to avoid the (more appropriate to his age) backward crawl down the steps. Curtis looks up and him to say simply, and apologetically, "I am sorry baby Mitchy. My hands are full I can't help you down right now." Mitch seemed to understand, and slowly turned around, checking a few more times, just to be 100%, completely sure that, in fact, no one was going to help him walk down the stairs, and finally, crawled down on his own. 
Curtis has always been, and seems as though he always will be, concerned for others. He is a social being. He likes peace, and happiness, and love, and friends. Our close friends have a 22 month old daughter, whom he attends to quite nicely whenever she is over, by carrying toys for her or showing her things. Once, her father declined ehr request to be picked up, so Curtis, who happened to be standing near by, said, "I'll pick you up, Claire Bear." She said, "Ok" in the sweetest voice, and sure enough, he lifted her on up (for about 5 seconds.) His smile is ever present and so warm and welcoming...until he gets hurt. Or sick. Then, we see it. That other side. 

What goes up, must come down, right? I assume he is dramatic, and acts sicker, and more injured than his siblings with the same ailments, simply because he is more sensitive, in general. He wants to be happy all the time. So when he drops a brick on his toe, instead of shaking it off and continuing to run about, ignoring the throbbing pain, and swelling, blue hemorrhage underneath his big toenail, he wanders about, WAILING. For hours. Days even. This boy has come the closest to getting a trip to the ER, simply because of the dramatic responses he has to most minor illnesses and injuries. For the past 4 days, he will have periods of forgetting the black toe, but as soon as you get near it, mention shoes or socks, tears well in his eyes. He begins breathing faster. He panics. This does not happen only with physical pain, it is the same with emotional distress. Of all 4 boys, this one has the temper. The anger that takes over, makes him lose all sense of self and what is right or wrong. You can see his face turn red, he will hit, bite, strangle, kick, stomp, squeeze whoever it is that has driven him to this point of no return. There is no stopping him by talk, you have to physically remove him from the situation. Luckily, it takes A LOT, a lot, a lot to get sweet, loving Curtis to this point. I can count on my hand the number of times it has happened thus far in his 4 year life span, but I do fear those future bar fights. He will protect his loved ones to the bitter end, and though I hope to help him learn to control it...somewhere, in the back of his head, will always be that temper, waiting to be unleashed.

Thankfully, most people will never experience the Hyde side of Curtis. And the infrequency makes it nearly negligible. This sunshine, love of a child brightens everyone's day. Even his teachers will admit so. Also, I've been told he has at least 2 girlfriends in his current preschool class (as reported by the girls, of course. Like Curtis remembers names!!!) he turned 4 in November and remains in the 50-75th percentiles for height and weight. He loves to dance, jump and move his little, muscular body. Don't tell Brock, but Curtis is way better at the physical games on the Wii. When you practice moving all your parts all the time, you learn coordination and control. He loves batman. He loves clothes. He loves music and has an ear for it. He just keeps growing and becoming his own person, everyday. Keep it up Curty-man. You seem to be doing alright.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gender: Two ways about it.

In my extremely limited pregnancy experience, I have found there are simply two types of people. The type that really, passionately cares about gender, and generally feels that a "mixed" family is optimal, in fact, the ONLY way to to have a family. Or, the type that simply does not care, will not only, "make do" with what they have, but, perhaps even enjoy it! I whole-heartedly feel I am of the latter camp. How I came to this conclusion is simple. People, without hesitation, very much feel it is OK to voice their hopes, projections, ideals, theories and opinions on gender to any visibly pregnant woman. Especially one that already has a kid. And MOST especially one that already has MORE than one kid of the SAME gender {gasp}.

As I had one. Then two. Then three. Then four boys. I have gotten years, and years of: "maybe this is your girl!" "Going for that girl?" "Don't give up, you will have a girl someday." Always, assuming I want a girl. Maybe I had one and didn't want it, so I gave it up for adoption!? I mean, that sounds totally asinine and insane, and likely not common in America, anyway, but it's happened. Historically, it happened a lot in certain parts of the world. I never knew what to say to these speculations and comments. "You get what you get." That's really the only valid response. Otherwise, I would have to launch into a whole explanation about how I am the happiest mom in the world. And another little boy would make my world a whole person happier! They are cute, and healthy, and stinky, and lovable. So, no, I just don't care about gender. I can't.

As this discussion became more and more commonplace among my mother friends, I found that it didn't really matter what combination of children you have, you still get comments. If you have one of each, you get things such as, "You're so lucky, one of each." "Two and done." And even questioning comments when pregnant with a third, like, "Having a third? But you already have one of each." The nerve!!! Can you believe that woman? Selfishly having a third child when she already has America's dream family!!? That's just greedy. Unbelievable. As if it's ok and completely understandable to have a Duggar-size family if you have 11 girls, and are going for a boy. But heaven forbid you have one of each child and go for a third. Just because. Because what!? You wanted 3 kids!? Who WANTS 3 kids if you can get away with only 2?

Then, the opposite blows my mind. The people that might have stopped at 2 or 3 kids, but did go on to have another, purely "going for" the opposite gender. I guess we all have our reasons. I'm not really sure what my reason is for having 5 kids, beyond that I love them. They are healthy. I'm young. I love my husband. We seem to have the means, the personalities, the patience, the support. Procreation is necessary for our society to continue. Maybe having 5 kids is selfish, taking up more space then my genome is allotted. Maybe it isn't. All I know, is that I love kids of all kinds, and genders, and persuasions. A family is what you make it. Every child has their own unique personality, and gender does not change this. So who cares!?

Yes, I am having a girl after four boys. No, the fact that she is a girl is not the answer to all my hopes and wishes, and dreams. Yes, simply having a 5th child made me the happiest woman on earth. Yes, I am ecstatic and have already bought too many clothes. If she happens to be the last, it's not because she was a girl, but because that is the point at which our family became complete. I guess, what I am saying is, 1. stop intruding with weird, unsolicited opinions on gender, 2. You get what you get and 3. Just love whatever combo that is.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

"The Flu Bug"

About 6 days ago, my children excitedly came down the stairs claiming they had "found the flu bug". Curtis exclaimed, "Ya, it's in our room!"

I skeptically say, oh really? What does it look like?

They begin describing it. It's kind of red. And it has spots. Ya, it has spots.

How many spots?

We couldn't count, but there were black spots. It was little.

Sounds like you are describing a lady bug, to me.

No, it was the FLU BUG!

This had become a little joke around the house and amongst various family members, until 2 days ago....
While doing laundry, I too, found "the flu bug". Exactly as they had described! And sure enough, I woke up the next morning coughing, with a sore throat, and, well, I guess sick. As some people might call it. So, now, after my experience with "the flu bug", I will be a skeptic no more. Watch out, he's out there.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Half and Half.

     I turned 20 weeks today with baby 5.O. Exactly half my pregnancy was in 2014, and the other half will be 2015 (assuming she is born on May 21st.) I have been somewhat silent {for me} during this pregnancy. I cannot decide if this is because I have so so so many thoughts, emotions, and feelings about it, or because I just haven't had time to write. Maybe a mixture of both.

Baby 5.O is a girl. This came as a complete shock. Sort of. About a month ago, or so, I had begun referring to the baby as "she" in my head. I'm not real sure why. My gums bleed more often than not when I brush my teeth, which is a common pregnancy symptom I did not have with the previous four. By 16 weeks with Mitch, I was feeling him on the regular. By 20 weeks, anyone could feel his massively strong kicks. With 5.O, I am still merely feeling flutters, if I am lucky. This is unusual for all of my children. I still have zero appetite most of the time. I wake up a little gag-gy. My acne is off the chain. Something about the pregnancy has just felt "off". I panicked about this feeling of mine, and almost got the first trimester screening test just for peace of mind. Matt dismissed the notion, said, "you are pregnant, like you are always pregnant."

By 16 weeks, I had texted a few of my closest friends and informed them of my girl suspicions. They agreed. Most people do. Ever since Curtis, every pregnancy has been a "girl" according to just about everyone. Though, I had found, much to my pleasure, that more and more people seemed fine with the idea of us having a 5th boy. It's like everyone could finally see my point of view. They realized, it's fine, and fun to be a boy mom. That you don't need a child of each gender to have a complete and happy family. When asked what I was "hoping" for, my true and oh so cliche answer was (and still is) "a healthy baby". I simply LOVED the idea of a 5th boy. Seamus Michael. Such a perfect fit to our little family. At the same time, a girl would be something new, and different. She could carry on my family history and go to St Teresa's, like me, my sisters, my mother, aunts, and grandma. Matt could experience father-daughter dances and perhaps a wedding as father-of-the-bride.

As it were, 5.O is a she! I walked into the sonogram room, and immediately said, "I must have an anterior placenta. Either that, or the tiniest, laziest baby and something is wrong." The tech reassured me, and then asked if we were "finding out". When we said yes, she asked what we already had...I replied "4 boys". She said, with a smile, "Oh geez, now I am nervous". we reassured her that we were not "trying for a girl" and that we would be thrilled with either gender, and also told her we would like to guess without her telling us. She laid the probe on my belly, and it was immediately obvious, I do have an anterior placenta. That explained a lot, the lack of movement was really my body's inability to feel due to the large cushion on the front of my uterus! Though, the baby really wasn't too active, and she was lying straight, somewhat breech and with her legs out-streched and crossed. THE WORST positioning for gender determination. As we searched and searched, I caught a fleeting glance of what I thought to be sign of a female. The baby finally moved a bit, and the tech asked, "So, what do you think?" Matt responding..."Well, I don't see a penis." The tech and I both admitted we thought it was a girl earlier, but couldn't be sure. We checked probably 30 times, while Matt and I sat, smiling, in disbelief. The baby was also measuring 3 days behind (which is totally fine) and means, perhaps, she will be 8lbs 1oz which has always been my girl weight prediction.

I am so very curious what she will look like. I hope she gets Brock's tall, lean body-type, his hair thickness and texture as well as his eye lashes. I hope she gets Curtis' smile, nose and love of sleep. I hope she get's George's sense of humor and eye color. I hope she gets Mitch's hair color, eye shape and skin tone. Really, I know she will be beautiful as she his, and though I could also pick and choose pieces of each boy's personality, I know she will be who she is. And I will love her more than anything on earth. Like her four brother's before her.

The wonderful surprises never end with this pregnancy. It took me days, weeks even to believe that truly was pregnant with 5.O. Now, it's only been a weeks since we discovered baby to be a she, and I still question it at times. It's all so very fun. How wonderful would it be, if she surprises us and decides to come a week or so early on her own!? I am pretty set on letting her come on her own terms, provided she stays measuring "small". And if she does this efficiently enough, I may for-go that dreaded (but oh so wonderful) epidural. Lots of "if's".

I just think my heart may explode. I think I might be the luckiest person I know. I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful, healthy, fun family. I like to think that I don't take a single day for-granted. That I still respect reproduction, and the miracle a healthy baby truly is. I am ecstatic to bring a little girl into this world, and raise her with 4 older brothers. I am really enjoying the shopping as well. Like a lot. Definitely, too much. I still have half of this pregnancy to go, but cannot wait to kiss those precious newborn cheeks, forehead, nose, toes. Until then, I will try to love this journey. I will try to enjoy the discomforts of pregnancy, knowing they are bringing me the greatest of all joys. I will try to love on my four boys before dividing my attention, yet again. I will simply, love.