A family's story

Posts tagged ‘nine years’

Birthday Brouhaha

On Saturday we had a birthday party for Jake. Our final headcount was 10. For some crazy reason, I thought that three hours was a good length of time for a party. I now know that I was suffering from temporary insanity. There was way too much testosterone in my house for an early evening.

As the boys arrived, they congregated in our family room. We had our Wii set up, and they were flitting between Mario Kart and some Wario Shake game. (We don’t have many games…our boys just haven’t been into the Wii until recently.) As boys are wont to do, they got louder and louder as they played and cheered/jeered/commented in general on the others’ playing styles/abilities/etc. The other issue? We only have 2 remotes. Yeah, you do the math…

A few of the boys started to play with Jake’s Beyblades. For the most part, they were keeping themselves occupied as they took turns playing the Wii. Of course, after about 30 minutes,  I noticed that the same two boys were playing the games. They weren’t sharing. When I asked them to share, they’d hand off the remote, only to resume play under the guise of showing another boy “how do do it right”. One child was roaming around aimlessly, and he kept proclaiming that it didn’t feel like a birthday party.

**Let me pause here to say, this is a sad statement of our society. Well, at least the one I live in. Maybe it’s just our area… Our kids are used to being entertained. They are accustomed to having big parties at centers/gyms/laser tag places. We had nothing showy. It was a run-of-the-mill party at home.**

I jumped in and let them know that they all started playing Wii as they arrived, and that I had some party games if they wanted to try something new. Since third grade boys have the attention spans of gnats, they were game. (He he…see what I did there?!) I brought out some balloons we had partially filled. I instructed them to pop the balloons, but without the help of anything sharp or jagged. Most of them tried to sit on the balloons. When that didn’t work, they tried to lay on them, then stomp on them. Eventually, one of the boys figured out that if he jumped up and landed on the balloon with his knees, it would pop. I was certain that I was either going to have to (a) call a parent to meet me in the nearest ER after an unfortunate cracking of a skull on a piece of furniture or (b) call a repairman to fix a third-grader-sized hole in my floor. Oh muh gawsh!

The boys got silly. But they were having fun. I picked up shreds of balloon as they went along. One of the boys, who I know has some social issues, started to cry because he couldn’t get his balloon to pop. I suggested sitting on it and trying to flatten it out with his hands. He was afraid it would hurt. Luckily, one of his peers showed him how to get the balloon to pop. Right about that time, Hubz came in with the pizzas. As we got ready for dinner, a few of the boys said they should play “Epic Fail”. Epic wha?! Chanting began, “Ep-ic Fail! Ep-ic Fail! Ep-ic Fail!” I let them know, in no uncertain terms, that anything called “Epic Fail” was an “Epic not happening” in our house. I don’t really even want to know what that is…really.

We fed the boys. Surprisingly, they ate very little. A couple of them must have been too wired. They didn’t eat anything on their plates. It was incredibly amusing to listen to the conversation that they had at the table. I will never quite understand third grade boy humor. But they were laughing and talking and enjoying their time together, so I let it ride.

After dinner we did mystery boxes. We tied in some Halloween themes to the party. A few of the boys willingly participated in the game. Many of them found it to be too sedentary and “boring”. Eh, you win some and lose some.

We had an hour  and 20 minutes to go with the party. We were losing some of the kids. I suggested opening gifts, and luckily was met with loads of cheers. Let me say, Jake’s friends were incredibly generous. He got some terrific new games and toys. I think one of his favorite gifts was a dinosaur pillow pet. The boy who got it for him has social group with Jake at school, and he really paid attention to what Jake likes. That was a huge success!

We had cake, of course. And ice cream… Hubz got Oreo and Mint Chip. Many of the kids were surprised that vanilla was not an option. The Oreo ice cream was decimated, so they were adaptable. Once we had them nice and sugared up for the evening, we unwrapped foam covered glow sticks and let them run around like banshees. Yeah….it was epic. Not really in a traditional party sense, but the kids had fun. They had sword fights and ninja duels and what appeared to be a rave at one point. There were shrieks of laughter and giggles. They played hide and seek–with glow sticks. Yeah, I know…but they are 8 and 9.

With a half hour left of party-palooza, we kind of let them pick their own adventure. We had kids playing Wii. A few were in our kitchen playing with homemade gak. One or two were in the living room having another sword/balloon fight. Most everyone was happy–except Tate. He really struggles when he doesn’t get a Wii remote. We tried everything, and it wasn’t working to get his attention diverted and redirected. So he sat on the floor, in the thick of the group, whining. Jake finally let him have a remote. He played Mario Kart against one of the boys who is a “gamer”. At some point, I heard, “Oh, man, Tate is terrible.” “Tate stinks.”  Then one of the boys started a chant, “Tate is awful. Tate is awful.” Tate was too ensconced in the game to understand the chant. I lost my shtuff. Mama Bear came out to play.

“NO! NO! NO! You will NOT chant about how “awful” someone is. Uh-uh. No way. I’m turning this off,” I roared.

“Tate is awesome! Tate is awesome!” chanted the boy.

“Stop. Just. Stop. That is enough.” 

We turned off the Wii, and the boys had to go make their own fun for the last 15 minutes. I think it was fine…they wrestled, played with gak, beat each other senseless with their foam glow sticks, and played with balloons. All in all, they had a fun time. I may forever be known as “Crazy Mrs. Hope”…but that’s ok. If you invite Mama Bear to the party, she’ll come…

Seven o’clock rolled around, and all of the parents were fantastic about getting their kids on time. We sent them home with some goodies, and Jake thanked everyone for coming and for the gifts. He doled out hugs to each boy. (It may not be a cool “dude” thing, but it is totally a Jake “thing”, and they all knew it. It was all good.) Jake was happy, had plenty of new stuff, and thanked us for the party. Tate chilled out, watched an episode of Max and Ruby, and Cole took over Jake’s new Angry Birds Hot Wheels set. Life was good..and Hubz and I smiled and high-fived. We survived, and most importantly, Jake was happy.

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Nine. Wow.

Today is Jake’s ninth birthday. NINTH. How in the world has it been nine years since we welcomed our little man into the world?! My children’s birthdays have a way of vividly conjuring up the memories from their birth days. I cannot forget the details of their stories…they have been imbedded into my memory bank.

Jake’s birth story starts nine years ago, yesterday. It was Friday, September 26, 2003. The weather had suddenly turned cool after a string of warm days. I was a little worried that I’d have to invest in some more maternity wear, as my due date was 2 weeks away, and well, everyone told me that “you” always go late with your first baby. I waddled myself down to the cafeteria at noon. I wasn’t exactly hungry, but I knew I had to have something in my tummy for the baby. As I got some salad from the salad bar, he kicked me so hard in the rib cage that I had to pause. Holy Mary, Mother of God that hurts!!!  I whined to myself as I made my way through the check-out. The girl at the register asked when the baby was coming. I told her 2 weeks. She smiled like she knew something I didn’t. I wished her a happy weekend and went back up to my desk to eat lunch.

My salad didn’t seem to sit well with me or the baby. He was moving differently. I felt nauseated. My back was twinging every-so-often. I had a conference call that I chose to dial into that afternoon because I was not in the mood for any more questions about the due date. I knew I was huge. I knew I looked like Shamu with legs…I didn’t want to talk about it..and the upset tummy and slight backache I had were making me cranky. As I sat on my call and listened to a few other people bicker over a launch plan, I was looking up “Signs of Labor” online. I just *knew* I couldn’t be in labor, as the baby wasn’t due for 2 weeks. The night before the OB told me that he was high and only some really good contractions would evict him. I was convinced that we’d be at home that weekend, sitting on the couch and getting some last moments of couple time together.

I usually left the office around 4 on Fridays, but that day I decided to leave at 3:30. Who was going to cross the cranky, waddling, ginormously huge pregnant lady?! I let my manager know I was heading out early, and she said to take care. The drive home took forever. My typical 40 minute commute took an hour and 20 minutes. Rain, apparently, makes people drive like idiots. The entire ride home I was shifting all over the place, unable to get comfortable. And my freakin’ back was killing me!!

Per my usual routine, I called my mom once I was home. She asked if the baby was coming that weekend…she had a feeling. I told her he couldn’t come that weekend–the house was a disaster and I had cleaning to do. I assured her that we’d be there all weekend long. I wanted him born in October, when he was scheduled to be there. She laughed at me and said she’d talk to me tomorrow. Hubz came home and set up the deep freezer we had delivered that day from Sears.

Because neither of us wanted to cook, and neither of us wanted to sit in our own filth disaster of a house, we opted to go out to eat that night. We drove to Bennigans, which was about a 5 minute drive. Hubz asked why I was so quiet in the car. I told him I was tired…but the truth was, I just felt funny. He pulled into the parking lot. I opened the door, and heaved myself out of my seat. As I stood up on the ground, I felt a *pop*, and well, um, I told him I needed to make a dash to the bathroom.

He waited for me in the front of the restaurant as I ran hobbled back to the bathrooms. I am glad I was sitting down, so to speak, because it was quite evident that my water had broken…HOLY CRAP!!! OH MY GOD! THE BABY IS COMING…I ONLY HAVE 24 HOURS BEFORE HE HAS TO BE BORN! AHHHHH!!!! I’M NOT READY FOR THIS!!! (This was my inner monologue.) I calmed down, washed up and walked out to Hubz. He looked at me anxiously. Um, I’m pretty sure my water broke. We need to go home. He sped us home, and we were both pretty quiet.

We got in the house and I changed my clothes. I called the OB on call. (It was my favorite doctor at my practice–yahoo!!!) She said to come to the hospital to be checked. We threw a few more items into my mostly-packed bag (I was a first-timer, and all), and we drove to the hospital. On the way, I was quiet as ever. Hubz leaned over and said, “Hey, this is exciting!!!” Sure it is…for you. You don’t have to push a baby out!!

We got to the hospital, and the receptionist sent us up to the Labor & Delivery unit. The nurse came to check me. I was already at 4.5 cm and my water had definitely sprung a leak. I was admitted. I was trying to hold off as long as possible on the epidural. You know, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Two hours later I was having more and more trouble talking through contractions. I was so uncomfortable. The nurse checked me again, and I was almost an 8. She said I should get the epidural. So we got on the list.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the anesthesiologist came into my room. She did not have the best bedside manner. She jabbed that freakishly long needle into my back during a contraction. I.was.in.hell!! But then, the meds kicked in and I was in a happy place. Hubz called his parents to let them know I was in labor. They were 3 hours away, so they said they’d drive out in the morning. Then, Hubz and I played some Uno as we watched the evening news. The nurse came in and told us we should try to get some rest. Hubz fell asleep. I was trying my hardest, but all of those beeps and the blood pressure machine were driving me nuts…ugh.

At 1 am, the nurse came to check on me…and it was time for pushing. I *may* have freaked out a little bit. I told her that I couldn’t feel anything, and she assured me that it would get easier. I pushed…and pushed…and pushed…An hour later nothing. NOTH-ING!!! The doctor came in and checked. The baby was anterior and had, what they called “cappit”. His head had gotten wedged and he was stuck. Oh. Yay. After some repositioning of me, and of the baby, Jake was born at 3:14 am on Saturday, September 27. As he was born, the doctor noted the presence of mecomium. Jake was kind of, um, blu-ish, and required some oxygen. He pinked up pretty quickly, but it was scary for a second there. I had spiked a fever at the end of my delivery, so they whisked Jake off to the NICU for a bath and monitoring and oxygen. I got to give him a quick, and I mean VERY QUICK, kiss goodbye. They let me hold him for like a minute. I was sobbing.

Once I was done with the delivery process, they wheeled me to my room. I was encouraged to get  some rest. Hubz went home to pick up some of our mess, let out the dog, and catch some sleep. I found it damn near impossible to fall asleep. I was waking up every 20 minutes. Oh my GOD! I am a mom. A MOM! Speaking of mom, I want to call mine…what time is it? Crap. Only 5. Ugh. I couldn’t sleep. I began reading literature in a “You’re a Mom Now!” folder that I had been given. The first flier covered the importance of breastfeeding immediately after delivery to bond with your child. Oh my GOD! I have been a mom for less than 5 hours, and I’m already screwing it up! I am not bonding with my baby. What if he doesn’t want to nurse?! What if he doesn’t love me?! What if…I hastily threw that flier in the back of the bunch. I read more about things to worry about. That wasn’t helping. I decided to look out the window.

As I looked out, the most beautiful autumn sunrise I’ve ever seen was occurring. The sun was popping up over the hill outside my window, and there were glorious strands of gold and amber. The clouds were illuminated with golden edges. There was a little bit of lavendar in the clouds. It was nothing short of divine. I sighed, and dozed off for a few minutes. When I awoke, morning had broken. And I was alone in the quiet. I turned on the Newborn channel on my hospital tv. I watched as the “nurse” instructed the audience to bathe the baby this way and that way…how to diaper the baby, etc.

At about 7 am, I called my mom. Please pick up. Please pick up. 

Hello?

Hi Grandma!

Yeeeeee!!!! He’s here?! I knew it!! How are you? How is he? Oh, my gosh….Casey, Casey…we’re grandparents!! Oh, Lisa…Oh, I am so happy for you….

We talked for a bit. She was going to come see me before her tee time. She couldn’t wait. After I hung up with her, Hubz called. He was going to head into the hospital around 9. I waited some more. I got up and got cleaned up. My mom got there at 9 am sharp. She was our first visitor. Not even an early tee time could keep her away from her daughter and newborn grandson. She didn’t get to see him, but she was there for me when I needed her. Like always.

The rest of the morning is a blur. There was a flurry of activity with family coming to visit and Hubz demanding that we be allowed to see our son. A lactation consultant came in and gave me pumping equipment. I needed to pump since he wasn’t nursing yet. Um, I am supposed to attach those to my what now?! Oh my GOD! Suffice it to say, later that day, I got to hold my son for the first time. In my arms. On my chest. I got to nurse him and love him and whisper all of the promises that a new mom whispers to her little one. He was so tiny. So fragile. So dependent. We were going to be responsible for his everything. In those moments where I got to hold him for the first time, my own son, I will never, ever forget the overwhelming sense of contentment.

Flash back to the present…nine short years later. He has grown into an amazing person, who I am quite honestly honored to have the privilege to parent. He is one of the good ones. He has a heart of gold. He is genuinely kind and caring. He constantly thinks of others before himself. He is patient (it must skip a generation….my mom had it…I do not. So grateful he got this trait from her…). He is empathetic. He is hard-working. He is a terrific, protective big brother. He is a son anyone would want. He is amazing.

Happy Birthday, P-man. I love you more than these mere words can say…

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