Saturday, January 29, 2011

The (newest) birthday boy

My two oldest sons share the same birthday, which was also the due date for our newest son. We thought that it would be pretty special to have three boys born on the same birthday (have you ever heard of that happening?), and so we hoped that baby boy would arrive promptly on his due date. I even tried to move things along with anecdotal techniques to induce labor at home. Just for the record, these techniques did NOT work for me:
1. Pushing a preschooler in a stroller for 5 snowy miles 
2. Snowblowing the driveway and sidewalk
3. Hauling 10 boxes of boys' clothing from the basement to their bedrooms
4. Cleaning four bathrooms and vacuuming three floors
5. Eating an entire bowl of the spicy salsa at Abuelo's
What finally worked was waiting until two days past the due date until the little guy was ready. I guess that he wanted his very own birthday.
The Story:
     Eric and I raced to the hospital at 3 a.m., just after I started having "serious" contractions--both my grandmothers had their fifth children in hospital hallways, and I didn't want to follow that family tradition! Eric was on call that night and was talking to one of his patients during the car ride, while I was trying not to scream during contractions. Instead I was gritting my teeth, repeatedly slamming my hand against the car door's interior. Can you believe that despite our hurry I still insisted on taking a picture in the hospital parking garage? 
Medication slowed the labor considerably so that I could have my four hours of penicillin (for Group B strep). Eric continued to take call in my hospital room during that time. Eric finished his call at 8 a.m., and the baby was born at 8:01 a.m. Here's the proud dad and his boy:
 Later on that day, my mom (visiting from MD!) and Eric brought the boys over to meet their brother.
 Even for young Adam, it was instant love:
 We're all in love!
 And how could we not be, with a pleasant little face like that?
After spending a day with the little guy, we decided that his name will be Max Raynor Brinton. Welcome, welcome, little one. Sure love you.

Birthday boys

Jacob and Zachary had their birthday last week, and we threw them (nearly) identical parties, one day apart. This was a great plan! We only decorated once  
and even used the same cake!
Here's Jacob, waiting near the door for his guests to arrive:
In both parties, we sent the kids on a "space mission" to retrieve the abducted birthday cake.
They had to build rockets and a space station out of refrigerator boxes (a local appliance store donated three huge boxes to us--they would have given me a dozen, but I didn't have the van space to haul them all).
(Here's Zachary's personal spacecraft.)
 After they finished their space missions,

 they had defeated the aliens and could eat the cake.
For Jacob's party, which was a day after Zachary's, the aliens had already eaten five pieces of cake before the boys rescued it (this was the only way we could figure on making a cake last for two parties!). Fun times.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Locals yet?

People in Wisconsin use the word "yet" at the end of a sentence when I would use the word "still." Here's an example:
"Are you 29 years old?"
"No, I'm 28 yet."
It is also used at the end of a question to mean "now" or "soon," as in "Are you coming yet?" or "Will you visit us yet?" Besides the pronunciation of the word "bag," it's the easiest way to sound out a native Wisconsinite. The easiest way to spot out one is by his ice fishing shack. Yes, these guys are the real deal:
Although still obviously greenies, we're getting there! Look at that manly auger (and its manly operator!), barreling through a foot of snow to the ice:
 The boys couldn't take their eyes off the action even long enough for a picture:
They helped clear away snow, flush out holes,
and drill some more.
Then we let a few lines down to try it out. But after Michael and Adam found out that the snow tasted the same as ours at home, they were ready to hike back. 
Next time we'll stay longer and catch our dinner! We're definitely up for some ice fishing again soon, especially since there's a bait puck in our fridge full of "mousies" (ew). Can you believe that I carried this guy to the middle of a frozen lake in the snow and didn't put myself into labor? I guess I've got some time to go yet.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eleven tidbits for 2011

1. We had a blast at my parents' house during Christmas break. One highlight was taking pictures of ourselves walking on iced-over bodies of water. This just never got old. Here we on the West Virginia side of the Potomac:
We went to some other ponds and did the same thing, and now I have about 50 photos of these ice-walks. Who knows why this is so fun?

2. On the way home, Eric and I drove through the night while the kids slept. We had never tried this strategy before, but it turned out to be a nice deal--we probably saved a couple hours and $40 or so on missed bathroom/snack stops!

3. Eric bought me this book for Christmas, and it's since become my dear companion. I've never been so efficient in my housecleaning/organizing efforts. Eric has ordered me two other titles by this author, and I can't wait to start them! Also, our baby is due in ten days. Efficiency is paramount here if I'm going to keep things running smoothly. Please, please be a happy baby. 

4. The other day Jacob woke up before the other boys, and we spent an unusually quiet morning alone, talking over breakfast and reading together. I walked him to the bus stop in the snow, and when I walked back I saw our two sets of footprints walking toward the bus and only my set walking back. I felt a sad tenderness then, knowing that I wouldn't see my boy until that afternoon.

5. Why Jacob Is a Good Boy tidbit #1: When I told him that I would help him with piano if he would commit to 20 minutes of independent practice every day, he asked, "But can't I do more than 20 minutes? I mean, is there a maximum?"

6. Why Jacob Is a Good Boy tidbit #2: Last night Eric was on overnight call and up for most of the night. I was also up for most of the night enjoying some false labor. When Jacob woke up at 6:30, I asked him to get Adam out of his crib. So Jacob got Adam out of the crib, brought him downstairs, fed him breakfast, and played with him for an entire hour while I slept. The kid should be sainted.

7. Speaking of pregnancy, why did no one tell me that my body was going to fall apart on my fifth? Some days I have to walk around the house from furniture piece to furniture piece because I simply cannot move my joints. Blood vessels are protruding everywhere, and I feel like I've been in labor for days! My OB prescribed me the highest grade of compression stockings available, and they have helped immensely. I will not post a picture of them, but I will tell you that they are darling. Actually, no, they're not. Actually they would pair perfectly with these knock-outs:    
Also, I'm sorry for complaining. I really don't mind--it's mostly just alarming to me how much function is being lost! But aren't babies the most beautiful things in creation? I wish that we could think of a beautiful name for him. Someone suggested that Quentin would be a distinctive name for a fifth son, but Quentin Brinton? I hope that he arrives looking like a name and that we can just bestow on him. 

8. Adam is building a vocabulary of post-baby words, words beyond the "mama," "dada," "ball," and "duck" set. My favorites: "moose," "tractor," and "SpongeBob" (he learned this under the tutelage of his doting older brothers). He has also started to enjoy fingerplays and songs like "The Ensy-wensy Spider" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." Cutie.

9. One afternoon I was in the garage tidying up and Zachary called out to me, "Mom! Come here quickly! Come soooo quickly!" When I rushed in, he was sitting at the piano with a few chairs lined up behind the piano bench. "Mom! When Adam pushes the high keys on the piano, he steers our ship that way and he is steering us right into a SHARK!" When I smiled and made no movement to redirect them, Zachary resigned, "Oh well. I guess we'll just have to die." Here's Michael in his pirate finery: 

10. Pinewood derby is coming up! Patient Jacob and Zachary wait for moments when Eric can help them with their cars--aren't they manly out there in the sub-freezing garage polishing axles?

11. Each year I make a major resolution--one that, if the others fall through, I will be sure to keep. This year I am working on being calm. Even if I sell twenty articles and run a marathon and become a rock star organist this year (and wouldn't that all be so fun!), I won't be doing well unless I can be calm. I want the kids and Eric to feel peace in our home, not stress inherited from my needlessly taking on extra responsibilities! I have some simple sub-goals to help me. We'll see how it goes.