Friday, October 19, 2007

The last installment

We call Paige "Boomba," short for "Fatty Boombalatty." She really is a pudge, but in the most adorable way possible, of course. I am particularly fond of her leg rolls.

I don't yet have the perspective on how she's changed my life that I have with the others, since she's only been here a year. And that year felt like days, I swear. Paige's first birthday is next week. Next week, people! I know all parents say it, but it goes so. damn. fast.

Paige was not a planned pregnancy. In fact, John and I had been in negotiations over the big "V." He wasn't thrilled with the idea, but as we all know, a vasectomy is less invasive than a tubal, AND it feels like an eensy bit of compensation for the months we mothers put in as vessels of life and the hours we spend in labor. (Of course we also realize that a tiny snippity snip of the vas deferens doesn't even come close to what we go through to bear children. Our men are, in reality, eternally beholden.)

We'd decided that Bailey and the boys had taken us to the edge of our resources, financial and psychological. Raising two boys who are 2 and a half years apart is, er, taxing. To put it nicely. And our house is small, our savings account even smaller. I was satisfied with this decision, but I have to say, at times I heard a wee little voice warning that we weren't finished yet. It first piped up while I was packing up newborn clothes to donate to the women's shelter. The voice said, "Pssst. Don't do that. Wait a bit. Just in case." So I did. Unfortunately, the voice must have been on a coffee break when I sold all of our big baby equipment and gave all my maternity clothes to a friend.

I think it was giving away the maternity clothes that did it. The universe saw it happen, pointed a bony finger at me, and cackled, "Look at the silly woman! Giving away maternity clothes before the vasectomy. What gall! Pregnancy for you, woman!" It was a little embarrassing to call my friend, after much hoopla was made over my generosity and her life-long gratitude was expressed, to say, "Hey, can you give me my stuff back?" But I made the call because it was a whole wardrobe for heaven's sake. I couldn't start over from scratch. And of course my friend was thrilled for us (at least outwardly) and handed it all back happily.

So the little voice (lazy as it turned out to be) was right. It was also right about Paige's gender, something I'd intuited from the start but was thrilled to have confirmed at my 20 week ultrasound. I've long imagined all the ways I could force my own childhood loves on a girl: model horses, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, dollhouses. I've already imposed my fondness for old school Sesame Street on her. Happy birthday, Paige! Mommy got you a gift I know I'll love!

I have to admit, I do love having a girl, and yes, it's different.'s different. It could be a difference in personalities, but Paige is much more observant, much more willing to sit in my lap and watch what's happening around her, much less likely to jump into the fray and assume that all gatherings of people happen to honor her. (When Owen was a baby, any time he heard applause, he'd grin and beam and puff his chest out, believing the cheering was for him.) Paige is a snuggler; she seeks body heat and will curl up beside me in bed, hold my hand, stroke my arm. She pats my back when we hug. She pats her baby dolls' backs when she hugs them. She plays quietly on her own and can sit in one spot for more than 15 seconds.

All of this to say, I am thrilled to have a daughter. As the daughter in a very close, exceptionally healthy mother/daughter relationship, I was a bit sad when I thought I wouldn't have that with my own little girl. And who knows, maybe I won't. But at least I have the chance now.

And I have an excuse to buy paperdolls.


JMC said...

My youngest daughter just turned one today. Happy first birthday to yours next week!

LitTeacher said...

Thank God that's over!

No, just kidding, of course! Can't believe the birthday is next week. Yikes! I'd lost sight of that. How fast it has gone!!!!!!

Bon said...

you know, i want a girl for many of the same reasons...though every day i discover through O that boys are not the snips and snails i thought they were. which is a comfort. :) you all fit in the house?

Aliki2006 said...

I love having my girl, too.

I loved these stories of your kids--thanks for sharing them.