Bella: Mom, what happens if Baby B[rother] comes home from the hospital?
Me: Then we'll be very happy.
Bella: What if he doesn't?
Me: Then we'll be very sad.
Bella: (after a pause) Is there another thing that can happen? Or is that it?
Me: Great question. At this point it's one or the other, I'm afraid. He could stay in the hospital for a bit, I suppose, but eventually even then he'd have to come home or not.
At some point since returning to school from Christmas break (I need to label it as such because we've had a plethora of mini holidays -- one consisting of a whole damn week -- since due to snow and previously scheduled days off) Bella's class made "wish clouds." I'm not sure what the impetus was here, but up they went hanging on a clothesline -- puffy clouds bearing the children's names and from each dangling a few smaller clouds with wishes, handprinted and designed by the students. I finally had a moment to check hers out last week, and found it illuminating. One stated, "I wish I could meet you" and had a picture of the big dipper on it. Huh. From what I gather, this is quite literal -- she would like to travel to space (she really doesn't know about constructs of heaven so I'm not alarmed. Yet). Another said, "I wish my campus was more beautiful," which I found a wee bit disturbing because for an urban campus, I do find hers quite beautiful. We had a longer discussion about this where I explained right now, sans leaves and green which only exposes trash and blocks of dirt-colored unmelted snow, her 19th century enclave replete with two graveyards isn't horribly attractive. But that I'm sure come spring, the same space will be exploding in bulbs and flowering trees and green and will look like a small oasis. I'm not sure I sold her on this point.
The third cloud said, "I hope my brother doesn't pinch me." Which is part of a long, long story that involves our collective family's initial disappointment with the sex of the current fetus in residence. Which I should probably expand upon some time. Which I also should -- at the very least -- note we've all gotten over and are fully on board with team baby brother. But -- cute I suppose. And a bit forward looking, even for her.
And dangling there was a fourth cloud, without a wish at all. It said, "I miss my baby sister." And it damn near brought me to my knees in the middle of a screaming, crazed bunch of five and six year olds.
Bella's class is currently in the midst of learning about the world wherein parents come in and explain some fun things about a certain country, and then they make the flag and locate the country on a map and partake in said "fun things" -- food, dances, more food, crafts, and food. Nothing says globalization like food. Last week she came tripping home excited to show me a very small box. "They're Worry Dolls, from Guatemala," she said lining up the matchstick figures on the counter from small to big. In her best lecture voice, she explained that you tell the doll a worry before going to bed, put the doll under your pillow, and in the morning your worry will be gone.
Where on earth have these been for the last three years of my life? I could use a whole fucking city of these things!
"Do you want one mom?"
"YES!" I practically shouted while (almost) grabbing one off the counter.
"What worry do you have?" asked Bella curiously, to which I stupidly responded, "Hahaha, I have so many! What will I choose?"
And then I noticed the slight look of alarm on her face. Maybe that wasn't a great thing to tell your five-year-old, that mom is worried about Haiti and Chile and global warming and whether her brother will live beyond May. "I mean, I worry that the alarm won't go off in the morning!" She seemed to relax at that.
That night she whispered her worry to her doll, and I missed it (slightly intentionally) only catching the last word: "Florida." Where, it turns out, she is headed for a mini-vacation over spring break with Mr. ABF and MIL while I bask in the glory of an empty house with loads of sleep-in and movie time for moi punctuated by ungodly early mandatory parents' meetings for things like spring t-ball. I digress: I wonder what on earth she's worried about? That Disney will inexplicably shut down?
I walked in this morning and cheerily said, "So! Did the worry doll work?"
"NO! I'm still thinking about it," she said rather pissed-off-edly, while pulling the doll unceremoniously from under her pillow. "Did yours go away?"
"Yes!" I said. (I didn't really play along. Way too tempting.) "I'm using your doll tonight," she decided.
Oh, if only there were enough dolls for all the worries. I think I'd resemble the Princess and the Pea, with a pillow stacked high on wee matchsticks.
But she's growing up, my little girl: some things you can't wish for, and some worries linger 'til morning.
If there were enough dolls: I have somehow ticked up to the eve of "30w." I'm amazingly still balancing on that tightrope with the shark-infested "fear" tank on the one side, and the molten-hot acidic pot of "hope" on the other, my toes dipping in neither.
I've come to realize that a lot of people use the term "expecting," as in "Oh! Are you expecting?" (Which superficially is quite hilarious, seeing as I look as though I'm due next week. To hell, people.) And which I internalize as, "No. We're actually not expecting much of anything. I am pregnant, though." And usually leads to some awkward conversation that I try and shut down fairly quickly. I think a lot of parents from Bella's class either know the whole story or are really picking up on the vibe, because they've been remarkably and blessedly silent and free from dumb chit-chat and stupid questions . . . so far. Phew. But I'm wondering, when exactly did this turn of phrase come to enter the pregnancy lexicon? For some reason I find it hard to imagine that centuries ago they were using a similar turn of phrase when infant and maternal mortality was more norm than I'd care to consider, but they were big on euphemism. Maybe they were all expecting the other very bad scenario, so it was a pleasant surprise when it didn't happen.
The appointments are now going by in a blur, and I'm already up to every-other-week at the OB, and am on the cusp of my bi-weekly visits to the MFM. The theme of the last month has been "Spatial Movement," and while some days I don't feel kicking per se, I do feel as though someone is sitting on a desk chair and swiveling around in my midsection, occasionally tipping feet up or stretching up hands or falling out of the chair completely (not realizing that copy machine he thinks he's putting his ass on is really my bladder).
I have yet to purchase anything, nor will I. I learned from Bella that one really needs nothing, and from Maddy that one really doesn't want much to clean up should things go south. Diapers and a car seat do come in handy with live infants, and there's a big box store between our house and the hospital. If Baby comes home, Mr. ABF can stop on the way and pick them up. Sadly, I'm not very long for the name-game either -- it usually disintegrates fairly rapidly into "Haha, let's name him [fill in the blank name that sounds like something from Hobbit/Star Wars/generic WWII film/bad contemporary teen drama program]!" or finding alternative ethnic-sounding names for the dogs. After swearing up and down on a stack that I would not consider the boy names from either Bella or (especially) Maddy, they're back on the list because, well, we really don't have a list. I'm sure like the girls he'll be "Baby Boy" for 48 hours and then we'll land on something and hopefully it won't be too crazy. Like Angie said, it's very hard to imagine this guy. I can't see him, I can't fathom that he'll ever come home and be anything other than a pipe dream.
And I'm not so far gone that I'm going to wish for anything.
Because February usually sucks in toto: We had a million snow days. February was an educational loss, unless there's something to be learned from Mario and please tell me what that might be. Max had ACL surgery. He's going great and his recovery is ahead of schedule. I had to do the Heimlich on Mr. ABF. For real. Please refresh yourself on this -- we were both calm as cucumbers and it worked like a charm (even with me very pregnant, and him quite a bit taller to begin with) and neither of us freaked out . . . until the next day. When we went through all the stupid things that could've happened, but didn't. Anyway, go look it up and remember. You never know. And finally, after experiencing some bizarro drops in heartrate and blood pressure (for someone with historically low HR/BP) my father is getting a pacemaker next week. I'll take whatever wishes/prayers you have to give, but really our main concern is hospital-induced infection because that seems to be going around and is likely what could go wrong with a minor, more-or-less "outpatient" procedure.
Hope you're well.