Tuesday, June 30, 2009


One of the many things that I should have written about in this space is the fact that my sister-in-law gave birth to a tiny and adorable girl last week. I managed to show up at the hospital in that magical window where modesty is gone and acceptance has taken over so I was able to stay in the room during the birth. Despite all the scandal that an unplanned pregnancy to an unmarried woman not yet 21 caused, I cried when I saw my little sister-in-law choke up with those joyous sobs as she held her baby to her chest for the first time. It doesn't matter when it happens, whether the timing is right or not, it is powerful, that moment when your old life dies and your new one starts.


My sister lost her house, one of my best friends has lost her job of 10 years, my mother-in-law very well could lose her job tomorrow, and Jeff and I have been in a blur of constant moving, relocating all of our possessions again and again. We continue to work on our house, now onto the painting stage, just so thankful that we have something to look forward to when so many around us have lost so much.


Even though the lives of everyone around us seems to have flipped upside down and inside out, our little foursome keep on going on just fine. Work, and the house finishing process, the madness that is taking care of small children, the things we would like to do versus the things that need to be done . . . it's all an often frustrating but comfortably happy storm. I end up staying up late, like tonight, just to listen to music or catch glimpses of shows that I remember liking to watch when I didn't hear shrieking in the background. Or reading – books, YOUR blog, and yours too, and a million others as well. I keep telling myself “Write, Jenny, write now while the babies are asleep, write before that long list of things to write about in your head starts getting faded and lost forever, write” but then I look at the clock and midnight is so close and I have to get up for work in the morning. And slowly, but surely, all the things I want to write about are drifting away into never never land.

So -
Faith, my sweetheart, is at turns wonderfully good and deliberately bad. She tells me that she wants to ask me a question, then asks how an elephant goes through walls, like walls of glass. I am flummoxed, of course, because how DO they? But she has the answer. They just lift up their trunks and knock out a hole of glass and walk through it. Then she runs back off into the other room until she has another question that she already has the answer for. She still likes holding my hand when she falls asleep and still wants to cuddle on my lap and still wants me to “hold her forever” and I don't ever want that to end. She is so proud of herself at the pool, wanting me to watch her jump off the stairs, she is energetically giddy when she's around other kids or when we act like kids by dancing foolishly or running around in circles outside. She reads with me and then tries to repeat all the words that I've just said while cutting her eyes at me, watching to see my reaction to her somewhat flawed reading. I, of course, am enthusiastic, which she adores.

She and James are fighting more now, over toys, over food, over my attention or lap space. He is talking, if you can really call it talking, although I can mostly translate. He's picking up new words every day, finally, but he still has an appointment this week for a consultation on the tongue clipping that he's bound to receive. I could go back and slap, or at least foot stomp, the pediatrician that he had at birth who didn't think that being tongue-tied would bother him and “let's hold off on clipping it until we see if it affects his speech”. Which his pediatrician now, whom I adore, says that it certainly does. He is all boy, reckless and fearless, jumping off of the couch, climbing atop anything he can get a grip on. He is covered in bruises and scrapes and has dirt under his short fingernails and is always pulling off his pants and then his diaper and running laughing through the house and occasionally doing things that should only happen in a diaper then running to me, concerned, and talking his strange James babble. He's got the sweetest smile I've ever seen, the cutest pout, and a surprisingly strong arm when he gets mad and hits.

They both walk into our room at night and climb into bed with us and fall back asleep. They are both doing new things every day, things I want to remember, some I don't, and I am really enjoying them this summer. It is the first time in years when I haven't had an infant or been pregnant, and it's such a simple joy to go next door to the pool and be able to put on their floaties and us all just . . . be. And swim. And soak up the sun. As adorable as my newborn niece is, this is what I've been looking forward to when I wanted to become a mother. To have this, our family, all able to enjoy the same thing at the same time, with each other.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reunited and A Close Call

The children came back from their trip three days early and I was thrilled to see them and at the same time disappointed that I still hadn't shampooed carpets, read entire books while lounging in the bathtub while only rising enough to turn on the hot water occasionally, or, oh I don't know, write another post.

I was so glad to see them though, nearly tripping over my own feet to rush to them, not sure of who to pick up first – Faith, who was energetically telling me about “arts and crafts!” or James, who was stumbling quickly to me yelling “Ma! Ma!”. We've fallen back into our old groove like we never left it and life is happy and chaotic as usual.


On Saturday we took the kids next door to my in-laws' pool and Jeff's cousins joined us with their children. Jeff had to leave to go to work that night (boo) and I was talking with my father-in-law and cousin, while watching the kids, never taking my eyes off of them for more than a couple of seconds. All of the sudden Faith started yelling and us adults all looked towards her and all of us bolted upright because James was in the water, about two feet from the edge and I have no idea how that happened when moments before he has been sitting about two feet AWAY from the edge of the pool. He didn't have his little floaties on because he kept coming to me trying to get me to pull them off and I finally did, figuring we were about to go home and he was done with swimming (he had gotten water in his face about an hour prior and was DONE with the pool) (I thought). So I, foolishly, took off the floaties and let him play with his truck by the pool because I was right there and watching him. And then he's in the water.

I don't remember how, but the next thing I knew I was in the water pulling him out and he just grasped onto my arms, coughed a couple of times into my neck, eyelashes clumped together by the water framing wide eyes. He hadn't lost his breath and just wanted to hold onto me. My father-in-law said he was about to jump in when I pushed him out of the way, and the rest of the family got a chuckle out of that the next day when we recounted the story. But it terrified me. I had just read horrific stories of children drowning and here my own baby was, under the water. It seizes up my chest just writing this.

Without making a bigger deal out of this than it was, suffice to say that I am at danger of becoming one of those parents, you know, the ones that make their teenage children wear life preservers and the such.