On being a woman of child-bearing age

Tonight I visited Jill at St. Joseph’s Womens Hospital; she’s on bedrest with twins and pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks. Yesterday we babysat while another friend had a d&c after a miscarriage (she has three boys). Tracey and Melinda, my BFF’s from 8th grade, recently gave birth to their first chilren, Joseph (1 week) and Susan (5 months). Marcy gave birth to her third child (and the luckily-non-cancerous tumor) by c-section a month ago. Liz gave birth to Rachel 6 months ago and Tara to Emmett 9 months ago. Another friend recently adopted and is considering undergoing another round of fertility treatments.

In short, everyone I know is having babies or trying to. I’ve given birth to 3 healthy children and had one miscarriage/d&c. This shouldn’t be surprising; we might be a little young for this prodigious display by modern American terms (I’m 29–but then, I’m also Mormon). What I’m shocked by is how healthy we are. How alive we are. My friends are not dying, their children are not dying. Our babies are flourishing, and our biggest problem is trying to lose the pregnancy weight (Sorry, Danielle, I know Liam is sick again).

Nicholas Kristoff writes a hugely uncomfortable op-ed column for the New York Times. I can’t bear to read his accounts of maternal/fetal health (or rather lack thereof) in third world countries. He also writes about the sex trade and other terrible things. I know, I know, we shouldn’t be forced by our government to pay for medical help in foreign countries. Such taxation is completely immoral, yadda yadda. (and Dick and I, living on one income with three children and voluntarily tithe-ing don’t owe any income tax, so how can I even comment), but God help us if we ever take for granted what we have.

You can read his article here. It’s on times select, so if you’re interested, email me and I’ll tell you how to access it.

Avery Builds a Castle, Then Describes It

Sally built a castle out of blocks this Sunday afternoon. It’s not so hard to build a castle, unless you have a 2-year-old sister whose only mission in life is to topple it. Actually, when we moved to the kitchen table, Susan stopped trying to knock it over and actually started helping.

Listen to the audio file below to hear Sally’s narration.

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No Boys Allowed

I informed Dick yesterday that we would not be “trying” for a boy ever. We will probably have another child, but I will be doing my best to ensure that it is a girl (not that effort in this vein would seem necessary). This realization that I have no desire for a boy child came about as I was reminded of two univeral truths about boys that I knew in my youth but had somehow forgotten in the past 9 years of bliss:

Boys are gross.

Boys are mean.

I knew that boys were gross when Jim Leavitz exposed himself to me on the playground at La Paloma Elementary School. (This memory was more disturbing to me as a teenager than it is now. As a mother of a kindergartener, I can see little Jimmie as being curious and open, but, still, gross). I knew that boys were mean when Gavin and Rory teased me on the school bus and poured Pepsi in my hair (ok, so I told them to go to hell and they forever after taunted me with “go to heaven, Jane”).

Last week I took Susan and Spot to Mother Goose storytime at the library. A four year old boy (the age range is infants-three, so obviously the mother was pretty delinquent as well; maybe mothers of boys are affected while carrying male fetuses?) yanked on the arm of a wobbly (female) toddler and pulled until she fell and hit her head on a wooden easel with a loud crack. 30 horrified parents gasped, and the (yep, delinquent) mother inadequately reprimanded the boy.

For 18 hours this weekend we babysat the 9, 6, and 4 year old boys of a family in our branch whose mother needed surgery. These boys are very nice and sensitive and caused no tears or bruises. We had a hard time convincing Sally and Susan not to sleep on the living room floor with them. But, these boys are gross.

My goodness, I had been aware before that Dick is an exemplary male when it comes to toilet use (despite his insistence that shaking is as good as wiping–not so), but apparently he is the only male on the planet with good aim. I guess we could take the risk that a son of his would inherit his superior ability, but I don’t know if I want to risk 18 years of servility in the bathroom on this point.

Now, my girls are messy eaters, and they know how to get really dirty, really fast outside, but they love taking baths and love snuggling their baby sister. Let’s hear it for girls!

And the little one said, Rollover, Rollover

Spot has learned to roll over! Sally says she did it for the first time on Tuesday, February 20th, but I didn’t see it until yesterday. Right on schedule at 4 months, 1 week. What a prodigy. Spot is also the best sleeper known to man; I’d like to thank Dr. Weisbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book, and her superior genes (that’s you, narcoleptic Daddy).

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“I’m not ____, I’m Caddies”

It’s official: Susan Louise Johnson, age 2 years 4 months, suffers from middle child syndrome. And, with her newly exploded linguistic ability, she is also extremely vulnerable to teasing (mostly from her parents, who think she’s hilarious). Susan feels very defensive about her identity, responding to every question (Are you happy/hungry/poopy/full of beans?) with “I’m not happy/hungry/poopy/full of beans, I’m Caddies.” And she refuses to call me “mommy dearest,” opting instead for “little missy” or “Jane.”

Lately she’s been telling me to put Spot on floor or in the bumbo chair (incidentally, Spot’s new nickname is Bumbo Princess, although I have to say I don’t like the bumbo chair–good thing we just borrowed one instead of forking over all that dough–because it exacerbates the urp factor) because she wants to be on my lap. On Sunday at church I was having a *little* difficulty with the three darlings and Sister Meadows offered to hold Spot. Susan got really upset and kept saying (screaming) “Give back Spot Goosey.”

Whenever I do lose my temper (very rarely, of course), Susan looks at me long-sufferingly and tries to placate me with “okay, mommy, okay.” Or to my frustrated directives, “yes, yes.”

Susan even tried a form of self-mutilation in her middle-child bid for attention. She has been in the habit of staying up after we have all gone to bed (thanks to the 3+ hour afternoon nap; Sally did the same thing at this age) and playing with toys in her and Sally’s bedroom. She also loves putting hair bands around her wrists as bracelets. A few weeks ago she chose a particularly small rubber band and woke up the next morning crying. I had flashbacks of the gluttonous guy on Seven (not that I ever watched that movie back in my rebellious BYU days). It took 48 hours for the swelling to recede completely.

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Susan is now isolated in her own room in the crib at bedtime. She usually tells us she wants Sally at bedtime, but settles for Maggie and Ribbit.

3 is the new 2

After a horrendous winter (2 weeks of highs in the 50s) the weather has warmed back up to the 70s and even hit 80 yesterday, so we headed to Crescent Lake park after picking Sally up from school. A nice woman sat by me on the park bench to see the baby. She asked if Spot was my first, and I said, no, I’ve got three girls. She was taken aback for a moment and told me about her 13 and 5 year olds. Then she said, well, it’s okay, it seems like 3 is the new 2 nowadays. What a relief that other people are doing it too.

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Auntie Liz took these pictures at Busch Gardens on Saturday Jan 27, when we celebrated Sally’s 6th birthday. Grandpa Dave and Liz, Sean, Sean, and Rachel came with us. A fun time was had by all.