Monthly Archives: June 2009

9 years.

Over the weekend, Ever-Patient and I celebrated our 9th anniversary.

I have spent 6 of those 9 years pregnant and/or nursing.  We have moved 3 times.  We have gone away on 8 vacations (two of which have been without children) and 3 road trips.  For approximately 4.5 years, there has been a child in our bed.

Yet, with the gracious help of our family of course, we have still been able to find time to re-connect.  And although when we find ourselves without the kids, we end up sleeping or cleaning or talking about them.  But I think the one thing that has kept us sane is the one true fact that neither of us can deny:  it’s us versus them…the two of us have to remain united so they don’t break us.  We have survived for the sole reason that no one else can understand the intricacies of our life but each other.

So here’s to 9 long years…where I have been lucky enough to spend it with my best friend who knows me better than anyone else and still chooses to hang out with me, let alone be married to me.  Thank you, Ever-Patient, for putting up with my crap, loving our kids, and reminding me not to take anything too seriously.

Here’s a card that reflects our marriage in a nutshell…

uandme

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by the way…

it’s a BOY.

For Ever-Patient’s feelings on the matter, please visit his blog.

I still can’t wrap my head around carrying a baby with a penis inside me…and for those of you who may doubt the accuracy of the ultrasound, we have a very graphic photo of the little guy, spread eagle.

Ever-Patient and I had planned to go to the ultrasound together.  He was going to videotape the whole experience and be there for the big news…but life happened, as usual, and the girls got sick.  He had to stay home with them and I went alone, trying to decide if I actually did want to know and if so, whether or not I would tell him or let  him sweat it out like he did for #4.

Before leaving the house, we took a poll:

#1:  It’s a girl.

#2:  It’s a girl.

#4:  It’s a boy-girl.

Ever-Patient:  I know it’s a girl.

Me:  It’s a girl…(although something was telling me this pregnancy didn’t quite feel the same, I didn’t want to get his hopes up…)

#3:  It’s a giraffe…but definitely a BOY giraffe.

So I went and the ultrasound technician did her thing…checked the vital organs and took all the measurements.  She told me to go pee because she needed the baby to change position and apparently, relieving fluid sometimes does that.  As I left the room, clutching the back of my gown to avoid an indecent public display, she asked, “Did you want to know the sex?”

The big question.  Did it really matter to me?  Then I thought of all those girl baby clothes in bins at home waiting in a form of limbo…will they be donated or kept for another round of wear?  Then I thought of the girls at home awaiting news of who to welcome – another sister to put nail polish on or a brother…to also put nail polish on?  Then I thought of Ever-Patient and his reassurances that it really doesn’t matter if it’s another girl and his acceptance of his destiny as a father of daughters…and then I would notice his subtle expression of longing  when he would see a father and son play catch in the park.  Then I thought, what about me?  How many times did I hear mothers of sons say that there was a special bond between a mother and her boy and how I secretly was a little sad at weddings when I saw the groom dance with his mother?  What if this was a boy…

I turn to the technician and say, “Yes, I want to find out…but do your thing, and then try to see if it’s a boy or girl.”  She turns to me and says matter-of-factly, “Oh, I know already.  It’s a boy.”  I stop in my tracks, throw my hands up, forgetting that I am now exposing my backside to the rest of the waiting room, and I say, “What?”  She repeats, “It’s a boy.  You seem shocked.”  I stare at her and tell her, “I have 4 girls.”  She then participates in my shock and awe and says, “When you told me you had 4 kids, I assumed you had a mix of boys and girls….quickly, go pee!  We have lots of photos to print for your husband!”  …which included the now infamous “hammer” shot, proudly named by Ever-Patient.

Throughout the rest of the appointment and on the drive home, I try to figure out if I keep this news to myself or announce it to the anxious 5 at home.  How do I tell them?  Can I even keep it from them?  I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut because since the appointment, I have told the receptionist, the people in the waiting area, and the parking attendant.

I arrive home and the house is quiet.  The 4 girls and Ever-Patient are sound asleep in our bed.  I creep back downstairs and try to channel my nervous excited energy into something productive but instead end up lying down on the sofa.  I hear footsteps come down the stairs.  Groggy and half-awake, Ever-Patient, in an effort not to wake up the sleeping beauties, whispers, “So??”  I whisper back, “The baby is healthy..very strong heartbeat…2 hands, 2 legs, 10 fingers, 10 toes…everything’s fine.”  He glares at me, still conscious of the volume of his voice, he whispers, “And…could they tell?”  “Oh, yeah,” I say with an annoying nonchalance, like a kid who is relishing in the fact that they know something you don’t.  I stretch out the game as long as possible until Ever-Patient starts to turn into Ever-Impatient while I say things like, “As long as the baby is healthy right?”  “It doesn’t matter in the end, really?”  I finally pull out the million ultrasound pictures and he looks at each as if he is watching a television re-run…until his eye focuses on a certain photo in the middle of the bunch.  He squints and rubs his eyes as if he is seeing a mirage or some sort of optical illusion.  He stutters, “Is..is…that what I…I… think it is?”  I grin from ear to ear and nod and whisper, “It’s a boy…you are looking at your son and his penis.”  Like an already proud father he says, “Impressive.”  He gives me a hug that speaks a thousand emotions and a million words he won’t be able to find in the weeks to come.  I just whisper back, “I know.”

One by one, the girls awaken from their slumber.  We don’t say anything, waiting for the girls to slowly remember where mom went and why.  Of course, #2 makes the connection first and with eyes wide open says, “Is it a boy or girl?”  We show them the photos and point out the one in the middle.  #3 gasps and says, “It IS a giraffe!”  We all roll our eyes and #1 says, “Oh, gross.  Ewwwww.”  #2 and #3 look closer at the photo.  I ask them what they see and they’re not sure until I ask, “What do boys have that girls don’t?”  The light bulb goes on for #2 and she starts grinning.  #3, still confused, says, “I just see a giraffe.”  And we all say to her, “It’s a boy!”

***

It’s been about a week since we found out.  #3 is all about names for the boy including:  Friday (because he’s the fifth like the fifth day), Jimmy, Rocky Mountain, Nacho, and of course, her reigning favourite name, Ring Toss Ricky.  #2 is all about shopping for the boy, constantly picking out outfits that Ever-patient vetoes….apparently, no cardigans are allowed.  #4 is slowly becoming aware that something is living in mama’s tummy and alternates between kissing my belly and smacking it.  Ever-Patient is perma-smile and is already using the terms “my son” and “my boy” ad nausaeum :  “What are you feeding my son?”  “How is my boy today?”  “That’s my son in there…” etc. etc.  #1 has been enjoying telling her grandparents and our extended family the news…but when it’s just us at home and we start discussing welcoming the “boy,” she’s a bit quieter than usual and I can almost sense melancholy as if she is prepping herself to lose something.  She puts on a happy face but I know my children.  I know there is a part of her that is disappointed it is a boy.  I know that she sees this boy as her biggest competition because up to this point, she has assumed the role of “son” for her father.  Their bond has been forged through sport and athletics, shopping in the boys section, and everything non-girly.  I know she may not even be aware of her feelings or be able to name what it is she is feeling but I can sense her apprehension and unease.  I can only give her the space to feel that way and reassure her that our love does not come in a finite amount.  There is room for 5 in our hearts…even if one of them is a giraffe.

As for me, I am feeling great.  The nausea is gone and besides the backaches associated with being pregnant while looking after 4 kids, I am enjoying this pregnancy.  Even the summer heat is bearable this time around.  I think it’s the feeling of relief at the fact that I am sure that this is the last one and that it happens to be a boy.  The politically correct thing to say is that boy or girl, it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re healthy.  Easy for anyone to say who has a boy and a girl.  I can imagine feeling just as Ever-Patient has been feeling if I had four boys up to this point.  Of course, I would have been happy with 5 girls but the fact that Ever-Patient has the opportunity to raise a boy into a good man (and I have one less child to take to the washroom later on and not worry about a hairstyle), I couldn’t be more thrilled.  And with five over-protective and strong-willed females in this house, I can guarantee that this boy will know how to treat a woman….if a woman ever makes it past the front door.

a conversation.

(The following is a true and accurate account of a conversation I had with my 6-year old daughter yesterday.)

Let me preface this story by reminding you of how introspective and observant my second daughter happens to be.  She is naturallty intuitive and pays attention to detail and often times tends to make very unexpected inferences and connections.  She is the one that asks me difficult questions like “What are we made of?”  “Are we alone in the universe?”  “How do you stop making babies?”…

Yesterday, after we dropped off #3 at her drama/music/art class, #2 and #4 accompany me to Starbucks for a much-needed decaf iced cafe mocha.  I run into someone I know who I chit-chat briefly with.  After we leave Starbucks, here is the conversation that went down…

#2:  Who was that you were talking to?

Me:  A customer who I used to talk to… but I don’t see her anymore because I’m not in the store as much anymore.

#2:  You don’t work anymore because you chose to be with us.  You’re home with us all day.  You want to be with us.

(Cue the tears starting to well up…)

I proceed to tell her how a lot of mommies don’t have the choice and have to go back to work and leave their children in daycare or with a babysitter.  She understood, grabbed my hand, and skipped all the way to the car.

So if you’re wondering why I haven’t updated the blog in awhile, I’ve been preoccupied with the following:

– Pretending to surf in Maui; playing dress-up thirteen times a day; re-enacting the kids’ new favourite story, “The Gruffalo”; building a maze of tunnels out of patio cushions, a sofa, and a coffee table; going for discovery walks where the kids have a list of things to spot (like a scavenger hunt with city items like: graffiti, empty starbucks cup..); losing my voice because of reading books at least 10 times a day complete with complex character voices and sound effects; camping in their new tent; tending to sick kids with an assortment of ailments from headaches to bladder infections to mysterious rashes that disappear within 12 hours; teaching #4 how to be gentle with her baby doll and trying to persuade her not to drag the baby by the feet on the floor (scary foreshadowing…); celebrating birthdays (future post owed to #3 about turning ‘4’); slumber parties with family; watching all 4 of my children nap in my bed one afternoon (I could have blogged during this snooze session but I couldn’t resist curling up on the couch myself); attending countless soccer games and tournaments and makeshift fashion shows and recitals at home; watching the kids with bated breath as they ride their new bikes; witnessing porch/deck/backyard destruction and construction; playing/eating/running/sitting/watching/drawing/writing outdoors; drying off the kids from endless water fights; walking to the market with the kids trying to guess what fruits or veggies will show up this week; laundry 24/7; cooking A meal to give Ever-Patient a slight reprieve from his normal duties; searching for the best playgrounds in the city…the kids still love Withrow Park; partaking in subway adventures and middle school tours with my oldest; trying to convince #4 on a daily basis to wear clothes; trying to convince #3 on a daily basis that she still needs a nap; finding out the sex of the baby; stealing time with Ever-Patient whenever the moment presents itself just to ask, “How are you really?”; buying flowers at the request of #2 “because the house really needs them”; and going to sleep at 9:00pm.

I love blogging and I do it for the love of expressing myself and sharing the events of the day-to-day…but knowing that time and energy are precious commodities, I have to choose to spend it wisely.

(For example…I started this post while the kids were playing nicely, building and decorating homes for their pretend pets, but now they are hungry and have started to annoy each other to get my attention…mission accomplished kids!)