Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas-time Birthday Boy

Christmas time is also birthday time at our house. Our Young Son has a Christmas-time birthday. December 23 to be exact. Those 17 years ago, we made an error in calculations, or were overcome with baby-need on one fine spring evening - take your pick - and ended up with a baby due on 12/19. Since my babies hide out inside until forcibly ejected, he would have waited for a January birthday. Per the doctor, baby boy had to come by 12/26. Per my need to be in charge, I ordered him out on 12/23.

In those days I was overly organized, overly rigid, overly predictable and overly in control. My overly- planned world would not accommodate a birth on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; I couldn't risk that Baby Son would spontaneously arrive to mess up my Christmas plans. In my well planned and organized world, which was critical to proper child-rearing, I had rules, and to accommodate those rules, everyone knew I had to be there for Christmas morning, or else Christmas morning wouldn't happen. Or at least they wouldn't be dressed right for Christmas morning. If nothing else, I could dress them for the season, back in the day.

So on December 23rd we picked up our babysitter, Danette, and told the other 3 that we had some "Christmas business" to attend to. It didn't cross their minds that it might be baby-day. Don't underestimate children's Narcissism. The day with no interference from me was a huge Christmas gift. They thought we were off to buy fabulous toys and video games, while in fact we were going off to have a baby. With Danette there all day, they could eat whatever they wanted and watch TV shows during the daytime, of any kind, all of which were not part of my lockdown rules to produce perfect children.

As they go, our Young Son's birth story is pretty much a reflection of him - easy. I needed him to be born on December 23, so he was. I needed it to be fast, and uncomplicated, since I had Christmas to deal with the next day or so. So, he did just that.

The most interesting thing about the whole labor was that BigB and the Sophisticate kept calling us to report on what was happening at home.

Little KidB: Dad, I need to talk to Mom

BigD: Mom's busy now.

Me: Don't tell him where we are.

BigD: You just threw up? Here, talk to Mom.

Me: (to LittleKidB) You threw up in our bed? Did Danette clean it up? Ask her to change the sheets. (I was already calculating my return home, babe in tow, 24 hours hence)

LittleKidB: Danette doesn't want to get sick for Christmas. (Seriously?)

It was established that LittleKidB should stay away from the other children, get OUT of our bed, and take a pillow to the couch so he could watch TV in his illness. Either he or the Sophisticate called to report in every time he threw up. It lined up in some kind of mysterious celestial rhythm with the contractions I was having. Every time they called, BigD just told them we were "doing Christmas stuff...and if you don't stop calling, we'll never get finished." That would have been fine with them, because Danette was totally cool with the TV, and I would have had them doing chores or an act of good will for poor children or something equally indicative of my super-mothering.

Our Young Son was born in four hours. I just missed lunch by an hour. I spent a good bit of time sitting on the side of the bed while various people tried to get an epidural in. BigD came pretty close to passing out during that 7 "you'll feel a BIG stick" process, a solid 45 minutes to get the ineffective epidural in. Our FOURTH time in the room to have a baby - and he gets light-headed.

That 45 minutes was precisely long enough. I told them Baby Son was coming, and they told me he was NOT coming, it was too quick, and then he was born, while the doctor was trying to describe his recent ski trip. I rather aggressively told the doctor to deliver the baby and THEN chat, since the delivery would take about two minutes. It did.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, they bundled Baby Son into a little Christmas stocking type bunting (yes, there should be a picture, somewhere) and we were home before the others finished breakfast. The Sophisticate asked if they could have a babysitter that day too, because they wanted to watch TV all day, but I said no, we'll make do with the new baby. That entertained them for about 15 minutes. And we went on about our merry Christmas - Eve way, minus television.Three children, four children, five children. Keep moving. Clearly PPP had the Christmas-wear concept under control. Way back there in the corner, it's possible to see a little baby-head. That's him, at 2 days old. As we always do, we had baked apples and cheese grits for breakfast on Christmas morning, (well, the baby had his own serving of mama-nectar, but it was all yummy) and life went on. In retrospect, I'm not sure how it went so smoothly, but it did.

This year he had a surprise party with friends, courtesy of La Petite Jockette, the second separate and distinct birthday party he has ever had. We often eat birthday cake as on Christmas Day. In contrast to my early days of being overly in-control, I am now overly blase and unconcerned. This year, I have spent a good bit of time looking for the pictures of the baby and his little bunting-stocking. I can't find any. Fourth child+Christmas=no pictures. So, I've spent roughly WAY TOO MUCH TIME trying to make this birthday/Christmas post PERFECT. Some rigidity remains.

This week, I was called a "Christmas tree Nazi" by BigB, because I have strictly enforced an "angels only ornament" policy, to insure holiness. Feeling pretty bad about the potential damage done by my early-years control freak nature, I did have a redeeming moment when the children self enforced the Angel-ornaments-only policy themselves this year. They also took WAY more delight in what they GAVE than in what they GOT. That's been a long time coming, but it made me feel hopeful about the damage done by my crazed need to create "a PERFECT Christmas" to my specifications. Amazingly enough, they continue to find joy in places I didn't plan for. Blase is beating rigid these days.

One would think that the Christmas we added 'giving birth' to the to-do list would have been the most hectic ever - but my memories are of a calm and peaceful holiday. We all were delighted with our Christmas baby and everything was done ahead of time. So, as far as good times to have a baby - I heartily recommend Christmas. As far as good times to have huge birthday celebrations for the rest of your life - I recommend NOT Christmas. As far as easy-going, cooperative, helpful children, who roll with whatever comes along - our Young Son rocks. It might be our best Christmas ever. That one. No maybe this one. Both. All. Let it be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I am still in my "need to have everything organized and in control" phase and your post makes me feel hopeful that someday I will be able to relax and just let it roll...