Thursday, September 22, 2011

Terribly Two

Tomorrow marks a big day in our home-- Graham's birthday.  Since we had the big first birthday party last year, we are choosing to forgo a party that would celebrate little more than the fact that we managed to survive another year without losing or otherwise maiming our youngest.  I'm also somewhat hesitant to celebrate this milestone that will confirm his status as "terrible".

So before we officially enter toddler-dom, I thought I'd take this one last opportunity to remember what life was like when Graham was new and I had more hair.  But not too much.  I still had Cael.

Graham's entrance was a major departure from Cael's.  With both of my boys, ultrasounds leading up to the birth indicated that they were huge babies, and only a few days before Graham was delivered, they were anticipating that I would have a child as large at 10 pounds.  Compounded by the fear that he would simply not fit (as was the case with my nephew Keaton) and I would spend hours pushing only to be forced into an emergency c-section.  With the mental picture of a watermelon being squeezed through a garden hose, I happily agreed to an induction at 39 weeks.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30am and I was quickly outfitted with the very fashionable hospital gown and stretchy monitor belts to constantly check the baby's heart rate.  I had been dilated to 3 for about a week, so I knew that this induction would take less effort than was required for Cael's birth.  Once the pitocin was started, I began having minor contractions, but they were not very painful and I was surprised when I was offered an epidural at such an early stage of labor.  The nurse recommended that (if I planned to have an epidural at any point) I should take the opportunity to order it early before the strong Pitocin-induced contractions began.  With the real possibility of birthing a baby larger than our last Thanksgiving turkey, I agreed and was quickly numbed and was resting comfortably, texting friends and chatting with nurses.

Our wonderful nurse, Cheryl, decided to take bets on the baby's arrival time.  At a little after 10am, I was certain that my ordeal was far from over and I guessed 2:36pm.  Joel was a bit more optimistic and guessed 1:42pm, while my lovely and experienced nurse placed her bet at 12:21pm.

No way.  I wasn't having that baby in two hours.

At 12:37pm I was checked and confirmed to be at 10cm dilated and the doctor was on his way for my baby's delivery.  The nurses bustled around the room, bringing the equipment and delivery tools to my bedside as they encouraged me to push.  I turned to Joel and said, "I don't know if I'm ready for this already", but with a baby knocking at the door, there was no time for dawdling.  With the first push, I heard a collective, "Oh!" and my doctor muttered something about muscle memory.  One more push and a squirming, red faced baby slipped right on out at 12:45pm and I looked at Joel blankly.  "That was it?"

If only I'd been so lucky the first time around.

Under most circumstances, the delivery is the hard part.  But in room 10, a battle was underway-- one that was 9 months in the making.  The baby still needed a name.

If you know my husband, you know him to be a life-of-the-party, fun-loving guy.  These things are all true, but one of the most pervasive aspects of his personality is his stubbornness.  He was so stubborn, in fact, that we had argued (mostly lightheartedly, but occasionally heatedly) about his "pick" for the baby's name, Crosby.  (This is the part where you stop reading if you A) like the name Crosby, B) are named Crosby or C) know someone really great named Crosby.  If you know a real jerk named Crosby, please continue.)  I couldn't stand it.  I felt that by choosing that name for our sweet baby, we were solidifying his future as a womanizer, country singer, outcast or weird kid that eats grass on the playground.  Or maybe all of the above.  Worse yet was the nickname that Joel intended to use:  The Croz.

I learned recently that mother zebras can hold in their ready-to-be-born babies for up to 24 hours if they sense that there is a danger.  At 12:44pm I might have sucked the baby back in if I thought he would be facing a lifetime as "The Croz", but something told me that once born, our precious new baby would be too sweet and gentle for such a name.  Thankfully for me, Joel relented and we discussed the two remaining names we were considering: Graham Elliott and Beckett James.  I loved them both and let Joel name our boy.  Graham it was.

From the start, Graham was an easy baby.  He slept soundly in a noisy room.  He didn't fuss and rarely cried unless he was uncomfortable or very hungry.  Aside from a rough start with nursing, he was a good eater and grew exponentially.  He hit every milestone and was a joy to all that were lucky enough to be around him.  And he loved his big brother.

Or, to be more accurate, he loved him from a distance.  He loved to watch Cael and "talk" to him while he ran about and played.  Cael, on the other hand, loved to throw things at him play catch with him, scratch him give him tickles and force feed Graham share his toys and snacks with his little brother.

As Graham grew older and bigger, he learned to hold his own against Cael.  He used Cael as a model of how big boys should act, so it is no surprise that today, the day before Graham's second birthday, he rivals his older brother in both attitude and cuteness.

The two years I've been lucky to have my Graham cracker have passed as a blur of kisses and baths and nightlight dances.  I love that he is a perfect mosaic of our family; fragments of my sensitivity and Joel's sense of humor are complimented by Cael's confidence.  And every once in a while I see a glimmer of something I don't recognize-- a trait that will prove to be all his own and I am anxious to uncover many of them over the years.

As long as they aren't hiding in his diaper.  Nothing good can come out of there.

Happy Birthday, my little Bubba.  Nobody loves you like I do.


  1. Ohh...he is such a doll!
    Happy Birthday Graham....may you have many many more!

  2. Thank you Pavi! I think tomorrow will be a special day for him!

  3. Happy birthday to Graham! His delivery sounds like mine with Brielle--and induction with epidural, pushed for one contraction, easy peasy! :-) And for the record, I would have lost all respect for you if you agreed to "the croz" LOL



Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.