Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No, the baby did not come yet. The Little Ditchman thinks the baby comes out of Mommy's belly button, which actually makes more sense to me than the truth, given present medical technology. I know this because I asked her straight out, "How does the baby come out?" just for fun. Mrs. Ditchman raised an eyebrow at me and then we both waited for the answer. "It comes out of the belly button," she said. Made perfect sense. I mean, what else is the belly button for?

Later, we explained that we had to go to the hospital and fetch it, so she knows what's going down. As well, our little girl likes to stomp around on you when you sit on the couch, and lately we'll have none of that; there's a baby in Mommy's stomach! Add to it the oblique changing of bedrooms and the mysterious prepping of the baby devices, and how Daddy always says things like, "Be gentle with Mommy," and "Mommy's pretty tired, she can't play with you right now," and the Little Ditchman is starting to get suspicious. This baby thing is more serious than I had originally anticipated, she wonders. You can see it in her eyes.

That is, you can hear it in her whine. She's been ornery lately, and there's no real explanation for it but Toddler Anxiety, if there is such thing. Last night I dragged her upstairs for bath and bedtime (had to yank her away from her new favorite show DWTS, God help us) and she kept crying for Mommy, Mommy, she wanted Mommy to do it, etc. I stripped her down and instead of getting in the tub, she went over and sat naked in the corner with her stuffed animals. Great, I thought. Arranging for a Family Therapist is not on the list of pre-natal preparations I have for the week.

I brought out the plastic dinosaurs and it all turned out okay, but sometimes you wonder. Mommy had mentioned to her that Mommy was going to have to be "shared" with the baby, which is easily the most disturbing thing the kid has ever heard. (I admit it was for me, too. My first reaction was whether or not I got a piece of Mommy when we divvy her up.) It may not have been a wise parenting tactic to say such a thing, however true. Straight talk is appreciated in a political campaign, but there's not much place for it in real family governing. (It's more the tender justice of "What I Say, Goes.")

I was chatting with a customer yesterday and she asked about the new baby. She told me about her own and then divulged that her biggest fear with the second child was that she would not love her as much as she loved the first -it's a concern I've heard from several other parents- but in the end she was surprised and impressed by her own capacity to love all her children with equal passion. I believe it. We're always tempted in this life to think that love can run out, like gasoline, or money in a bank account, or toilet paper, but love never runs out. On the contrary, the more you give the more you find you have to give. Unfortunately, you'll never know until you try. And that's the rub, I guess.

I would have ten kids, if I had the cojones and the billetes for it. I am one of six, two brothers and three sisters, and though it was a challenge growing up, now it is a joy and blessing. Every holiday is a party, there's a birthday in every month, and every new child is like a precious ornament adorning the Family Tree. When you have more children, what you're doing is you're giving them each other. As it goes, Mrs. Ditchman and I will be gone some day and we can't bear the thought of leaving the little girl alone. When my Dad died, all my brothers and sisters got together. It was an impulse. But what if you had none? I can't bear the thought of that for my daughter.

By the end of the year I'll have six nieces/nephews -and those are just the blood relatives. My grandfather was one of ten. My grandmother was also one of ten. Interestingly, they had two. Me and Mrs. Ditchman? We'll see. But I was the third. So if we don't have a third... well, draw your own conclusions.

Okay, several people have asked about the betting pool, so here we go with the rules. Cost: $10.00 to enter. There are two predictions you have to make: one for the weight and one for the length. You can submit here in the comments section, send me an email, or just call. I'll post everyone's guesses so no one doubles up. The winner is the closest set of numbers, and they get the entire pot. A tie is possible, so put the sex down too as a tie-breaking bonus. Send me the tens in the mail, or just honor it when we see you. Enter as often as you like. You can't win if you don't play.

Here's some fun facts to get you guessing:

Mr. Ditchman: 8 pounds, 2 ounces - 21.5 inches
Little Ditchman: 6 pounds, 10 ounces - 20 inches
Mrs. Ditchman: Unfortunately, the records have been lost to history. Eyewitness accounts claim weight as in "the low sevens."

I'm in:

Good luck! And please participate in the anonymous survey to the left. We're curious what people think.