Saturday, January 11, 2014

No, I'm Not Pregnant

Let's get personal. First of all, if you are one of those people who comment on the size of a family, other than to say, "What a big beautiful blessing these children are." stop it. Cease and Desist. Yeah, you guessed it, another fabulously awkward conversation with a stranger was the order of the evening last night.

C had basketball practice, her first of the season, last night. I arrive at exactly one minute before practice was supposed to start because, well, herding cats and inconvenient bathroom breaks, etc. Her coach introduced himself and then asked, "How many are there?" Five dude, I think, I don't know anymore. He then informed me that everyone thinks that anyone with one more than they have is crazy. Reread that last sentence, it will begin to make sense sometime next year. So, he tells me, he has four and those with three think he is crazy, and he obviously thinks I am crazy. Nice to meet you, Coach, this is going to be a long season.

This is one of those classic, "What I should have said..." moments. What I should have said:
  •  We don't have a T.V.
  •  Congratulations, that was an original insult on the size of my family that I have never heard before. I applaud your creativity, and expect you will do well when your children are teenagers. 
  • Shut up. 
  • *Sigh* 
  • We are very well to do. (Said in a stage whisper.)(This would have never worked because of what I was wearing, which I am embarrassed to report, was smeared with pea soup that Mariana had on her hands and wiped on my black pants.)
So here is my one and only effort to ever explain the existence of my children, and any future children to the world. Scott and I love each other. We love children, big families, chaos, and any lifestyle that will pull our noses out of our bellybuttons long enough to make us more human and less plastic. We wanted four boys and two girls and two dogs and lots of land, an organic garden that didn't attract deer and rabbits, and durable carpet that didn't get stained 37 seconds after installation. We have, so far, 4 girls, one boy, one dog, one cat, one ohdeardoIlovethatboy snake, a normal medium-small yard, vegetation that either dies from fungus or deer or rabbits, and stained builder-grade carpet in our suburban home. While we are aware of what causes children, and how to "stop that from happening" our choice of NFP has helped us get the timing part of planning right. Unfortunately we've discovered, barring some kind of rule-making exception, timing is about the least important part of child rearing.

So now that you are aware of the most none-of-your-business parts of our lives, lets talk about you. If you are the type to say:
  • Don't you know how that happens?
  • You've sure got your hands full. (Unless this is accompanied by an offer to load or unload groceries, push a cart while I peel a filthy and distraught child off the floor, or some other form of assistance. Say whatever you want as long as you are helpful.)(Because, God help you if you say this while sipping from your Starbucks while sporting dangle earrings that the mother hasn't worn in 14 years because her oldest baby ripped one out and she has a slight case  of PTSD from the experience, but boy does she love dangle earrings.)(Didn't happen to me, but I have an active imagination.)
  • Do you want more children?
  • Are you done?
  • I made my husband get "fixed". (To which my go-to line is, "You mean broken, cause you realized it was working before, right?)(And to those who have had this surgery, just know that if you broadcast it by calling it "getting fixed", you totally have invited me to make my opinion on the subject known. Cause I never wanted to know the state of your vas deferens in the first place.)
Or to those without children:
  • Do you want children?
  • When are you two going to have children?
  •  Life is not complete until you have a child.
  • Life will have so much more meaning once you have a child.
  • Babiesbabiesbabiesbabies
Stop. It is none of your business. If you want to know if it is your business, take this quiz:
  1. Are you responsible for assisting in the making of the future child?
That's it. If you are not going to be doing the thing that makes babies, or filling out the forms that adopts babies, then zip it until you are invited into a conversation. Even if there was a previous conversation, you better be really careful about asking for an update. Why? BECAUSE IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS.

I realize that you should get it by now, but I feel as though there have been 34,528,987,211 articles, books, blogs and graffiti published on this topic, and yet it is still happening. To be clear, I have been guilty of this, and may even slip up in the future, due to lack of sleep and nutrition consisting of left-over smoothie and Nut Thins crumbs. However, I hope it is to someone with whom I have a very close relationship, though I will not be surprised if I receive a snarky reply or a punch in the nose. Also, if the offended was polite, I'll be hitting up confession, because, well, see above.

I bet you thought this post was about being fat.

Post brought to you by the letter "no sleep" and the number "parentheses".

Friday, January 3, 2014

Quick Takes Katsup style

Happy New Year.  2013 was a great year for us as a family. It's funny how I keep reading what a dud of a year it was, but how much I found it to be full of blessings. Perhaps the bad news made me more appreciative of our blessings. I mean, when you constantly read how the world thinks you should be able to euthanize your baby, but your direct community celebrates and supports everything she needs, it makes fertile soil for deeper gratitude.

The break has been lovely. Scott took a chunk of time off and we did not travel. As a family, this was awesome. Last year we did not travel, but everyone got the flu.  Having Scott home, not traveling has been amazing. We had so much fun with his mom at Christmas and we spent the rest of the time just relaxing and enjoying each other and the nice weather.

We do love to travel and visit family. I think that is what was so special about this holiday. The kids woke up in their own beds, they relaxed, they didn't encounter germs with an over-tired, over-sugared system. The girls sang in the choir on Christmas Eve and we celebrated the New Year outside with our neighbors. It was delightful.

Let's talk Saint Joseph for a second. Did you know the traditional understanding of the story of Saint Joseph's reaction to the Incarnation was that he believed Mary was telling the truth, but was terrified to act as a caretaker for the Messiah? Yeah, me neither. So, when the angel says "Do not be afraid to take Mary as a wife." It's a message of support, of "You were chosen too, Joseph, you can do it!"

The reason this struck me so profoundly was because of the high rate of termination that babies with disabilities face. Most parents who terminate are ending a pregnancy they were ready to accept until the testing came back with a Diagnosis. I think most of these parents want what is best for their children and many are led to believe death is better than a life of pain. I wish they all had a dream like Joseph to remind them that they don't have to be afraid.

It also struck me because I have always rejected the comments about me having to be extra special to have been given a child with Down syndrome. I always see my kids as people that I needed because they call to be more than I was. And they are! But when I read about Saint Joseph, I realized that God did choose me, not just as a call forward to make better use of my talents, but also because He is trusting me to rise to the challenge. He picked me. Whoa.

Speaking of Mariana, we've experienced a small miracle. Two months in a row showed a slowing of her thyroid function. We went for a third test as a formality to get in with the endocrinologist sooner. If you can show a trend, especially before the age of two, they see that as a more pressing case. So, I took her for another blood draw, which is its own kind of hell now that she knows the routine. We sort of forgot about it over Christmas, and Scott finally called the geneticist yesterday. When Dr. P called back the news was, well, weird. Mae's function is better. Her T3 and T4 have normalized, and, though her TSH is still running a little high, it's coming down. This is not the usual pattern, even though your thyroid can have blips where its function can get wonky, her particular case is not the usual situation.

We are still going to get in with the endocrinologist, just because she does have Ds, my thyroid is wonky, and hers isn't acting exactly normal. I'm happy to add a specialist even though it is trying to fit one more thing into an already crammed schedule. I don't want to have to wait if things take a turn down the road.

Mae's speech situation is driving me crazy. She can talk. She speaks in sentences when she's frustrated. But most of the time, it's just babble. She doesn't request items, regularly label items or answer questions she can answer. It's a constant battle to get her to participate in a conversation, and she sticks with the familiar. The reason this drives me crazy is that her ability exceeds her willingness to do what she can. Okay, okay, so that is the human condition, right? However, there's a whole lot more riding on her development than usual. It can be a use-or-lose situation for her, and there is no way to communicate that to a 22 month old toddler. The fact that I have entertained the idea of trying to tell her this is just more evidence about how crazy I'm becoming. As usual, the only thing to do is hang it on the Cross and let Jesus work it out. Now what's the over/under that there will come a day when I complain that I can't get her to be quiet?

My son got a baby corn snake for Christmas. It eats infant mice alive. I'm surviving. Barely.


Best we could do with an iPhone and low lighting
Mae walked about the church prior to mass and promptly fell asleep during mass. It was perfection.
Mae meets Baby Jesus, whom she promptly "pat-pat-pats" in an attempt to burp him. Only, that's his knee.
Charlotte's turn with Mae
A hopeful Christmas Eve prayer
A Desperate Christmas Eve prayer by a boy who spent the day before in his room after a major offense.
Best family photo in YEARS

Santa comes through in the clutch.
Mae's own personal baby to pat-pat-pat.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!