We Can Never Forget His Birthday

The last time I showed up at a hospital because of an impending birth, I was back home within the hour, tucking into some macaroni and cheese and laughing at Mej doing the grandparent voices in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was mildly aware of the gravity of the occasion (my brother was being born, after all), but I was only seven, and not fully cognizant of what was transpiring in the delivery room. I just knew I had tossed every lucky penny in every fountain, and blown out every birthday candle, with the same wish (“I want a little guy to play with!”) and soon that wish would be granted.

Recently, I was lucky enough to see that same wish granted for our good friends…only this time, there was no delicious cheesy pasta to temper the immensity of the experience.

Arriving at the hospital...the first time!

Arriving at the hospital…the first time!

A few weeks before Dane was born, Ron and Trina asked if I would film his birth. I was totally honored that they felt we were close enough to share that seminal a moment, and of course I said yes…and then wondered if I should watch a few on YouTube so that my first reaction to a human being entering the world didn’t result in fainting. (“Um, no, I didn’t get any footage of your firstborn…and I broke your camera when I passed out cold. Sorry!”)

We were “on call” starting on Monday morning. I woke up to a text from Ron saying that Trina was laboring at home, and they would let us know when to head to the hospital. Around 10:30 that night (aka FOREVER if you are waiting for a fun baby to be born, and are instead stuck studying for the bar) we headed to the hospital. Of course, because we wanted to fit in some pregnancy cliches, we first ran to a few different convenience stores to find the right brand of crackers for Trina. (“We can’t take her regular Wheat Thins! She is in labor! Where are the reduced fat ones? What do you mean you don’t carry them??”) It was so fun to be on this side of the experience first. Honestly, it make me much more comfortable (prospectively) about asking people to help me when I’m pregnant/in labor. We were so incredibly excited to meet the baby and witness this actually happening in real life…forget crackers, I would have stood on my head.

Anyway, so we get to the hospital, take blurry excited pictures in the entryway, hand over the crackers, and…wait. Several episodes of Community later, Ron came out looking semi-exhausted and told us to go home. Apparently “labor” was not interested in the fact that we wanted to meet Dane immediately, and had decided to return again another day.

So, back to the waiting game…until a certain day which was already fantastic for other reasons. Mostly because this guy…

…happened to be born on it, twenty-seven years prior. Correct: Dane was born on M’s birthday. At the exact same time. If that’s not a clue that this new human being is destined for greatness, I don’t know what is. (Maybe the fact that both his parents are great themselves. Whatever. You see the point I’m going for here).

Round two at the hospital happened so fast, there wasn’t really time to absorb things as they were happening. Ron called as we were finishing breakfast, with the instruction “Come now! But not so fast that you hurt yourself.” We figured a cab was a good compromise. I left M in the waiting room, and Ron swiped me in through the giant double doors of the delivery wing.

Being present at a birth was overwhelming. I rounded the corner into Trina’s room, Ron pressed the video camera into my hands and turned back around to her, and suddenly I was a fly on the wall, overlooking the most intimate experience possible. Granted, there were also two nurses and a midwife in the room, but the amount of tension and emotion encircling these two people who were about to be parents made it feel like they were steering a ship into port themselves, and we were all just around to pull on some ropes if called.

At one point, Ron had to leave the room to call their parents, and asked me to step in and hold Trina’s hand as she pushed through a contraction. I guess I thought she would be more shy, that my stepping in for him would throw her off balance. Not in the slightest. She just grabbed me and squeezed (so strong for so small a person!) and it was just so clear that she was in charge of what was happening, and not the other way around. It was thrilling to watch. People might talk about “mama grizzlies,” but this was the true manifestation of that core instinct– a woman tapping into her deepest physical being to do what is needed to help her child.

The rest of labor was over so quickly. Trina asked for a mirror so she could see the baby’s head crowning, and when they wheeled it up, she could reach down and touch it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone squeal with glee under an oxygen mask before. That was it; if she could touch him, she wanted to hold him, and within five minutes there was a head…and then a shoulder…and then astonishingly fast, the whole rest of a whole baby. The wave of emotion that accompanied his entry into the world knocked me right in the face. I’ll be very surprised and grateful if their birth video is not set to the tune of my muffled crying.

And then there was so much to do right afterwards. There was afterbirth, and placenta, and weighing and blankets and learning how to breastfeed immediately. Even as only a witness, I was internally echoing Trina as she was continually turning to Ron, saying, “I can’t really hear them…will they tell me all this again later?”

I’m not sure he was hearing them either, because he was following Dane around the room, affirming every part of his seconds-old existence. The nurses were dictating his weight, (“8.4! What a great weight!”) assuring that his little head would immediately round out (“And even if it didn’t, that would be ok!”), and the new father just couldn’t verbalize enough of his love and support.

And…can you blame him?

I think we can all agree that is one perfect little baby.

And that this picture is just not. even. fair.

Welcome to the world, Dane Davis. We sure do like you already.

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Snippets from Home

Now that everything is finished (except bar studying, but we are not going to talk about that), we can do normal things like attend baby birthday parties. The littlest Fish turned one while we were home, and we drove down to Escondido to pay him our respects. And to watch his big brother do “bobs” in the pool. For the uninitiated, a “bob” involves ducking underwater for a second, surfacing, and squealing “I DO A BOB!” all while laughing hysterically.

Almost as funny as him jousting with the pinata, running full-tilt at it with an outstretched flyswatter and forgetting every time that it would rebound on him with a cardboard-to-the-face smackdown. These Fisher kids, I’m telling you. They are a serious good time. Their parents are also fantastic…especially since Hope promised to give me the recipe for her Tres Leches cake! It’s pretty great being friends with Martha Stewart.

Smash showed up in the LBC post-fiesta, and we tricked Open Sesame into serving us dinner at eleven o’clock at night  (“Our kitchen closes in four minutes…” “I AM READY TO ORDER!”). I like having friends who will drive excessive distances to spend about four waking hours with you. Thanks, lovebug.

I also love visiting the holy grail of breakfast foods:

…and coming to terms with the fact that a certain person’s intuition should just basically always be followed. Are you using avocado on your breakfast burritos? Turns out there is only one correct answer to this.

And then it was time to go home and do this for two days:

and this…

I think the above picture might literally be my favorite sight in the entire world. Obviously you’d have to factor out sights like loved ones’ faces and…yeah, that’s about it.

Still Pushing

That title sounds vaguely birth-related, but I’m too lazy to fix it. I am not giving birth any time in the next century…the pushing obviously relates to finals. I just finished an 8-hour one, and am about to dive into studying for the next (and last!) but needed to download my brain first.

First: Studying in the park is the totally correct decision during Spring finals, but watch out for little kids who will steal your concentration with their cute frolicking. And also by playing some game that inexplicably required them to yell, “FISHY, FISHY, CROSS MY OCEAN!!” at the top of their lungs every five seconds. (It looked like a variant of Red Rover? Whatever, I don’t know their lives.)

Second: Never leave your bobby pins around that guy who lives with me. This happens:

Are we starting a fraternity? I don’t even know.

Third: Our wonderful friends Ron and Trina are having a baby boy in June, and I ran over to the South End for her baby shower on Sunday. I realized halfway through it was the first one I’d ever attended! Apparently all my other friends have babies when I am inconveniently across the country. Anyway, the mother-to-be looked beautiful surrounded by all her new baby gadgets…

…including the tiny clothes we brought. When I was wrapping the present the night before, M looked over and was like, “Oh, I’d totally wear that.” And…yeah. This is basically his summer wardrobe, shrunken to fit an infant.

Fourth: Boston is beautiful. Still. Despite the fact that I am trapped inside studying. The nerve.

And finally, to herald the soon-to-be ending of this scholastic business, I looked up from hour 7 of my test to see an a capella choir practicing on the roof of the building across from us. Seriously? Seriously. They were actually really good; their “Lean on Me” probably made my FDA analysis far better than it otherwise would have been. What they were doing practicing on a roof, I cannot tell you.

 

Mongrel

Once in a long while, you come across an artistic talent of such immense proportion that to shelter it from the world’s view would be criminal. Such beauty lurks in corners of the earth where it might never be suspected…like Trader Joe’s.

Yeah, he draws SpongeBob freehand. When you least expect it. And he’s rakish.

He also owes me an email with all his newest music, since I burned it all eagerly while we were home…and then left my precious cd in the Battered Beater (aka M’s car). Come on, Mongrel, I didn’t push you around on my knees in your baby carrier all those times* just to be musically bereft. Help a (biological) sister out.

*This is one of approximately 10 (maybe 12?) stories about our collective childhoods that our parents (and sometimes grandmother) like to tell…let’s say “kind of frequently,” to be extremely generous. A smattering of the collection:

6. The above-mentioned baby-pushing, which occurred an old house with a circular floor pattern, and me, on my knees, pushing Mongrelito in his baby-carrier for endless laps around the house, singing to him so that he would go to sleep.

5. The time I got tired of doing the above, and left him in said carrier at the bottom of the stairs, swaddled and with a bonnet on his head, and a Victorian-orphanage inspired note, reading “This is my baby, and I cannot care for him any longer. He is a good baby, please take care of him as if he were your own. God Bless you.”

4. The time we were walking around Venice Beach when he had barely learned to read, and he looked up confusedly at a group of monks protesting China’s presence in their country, and asked them, “Free To Bet on what??”

3. The time my grandparents were taking me to the movies at our local mall (unfamiliar to them), and they stopped to ask for directions from a saleslady, and I indignantly yelled, “I could’ve tooken you there!!” (Unfathomably, this has the highest number of family dinner rehashings.)

2. The time my dad decided baby Mongrel’s desire to participate in all my girl-centered play-dates would negatively affect his burgeoning masculinity and went upstairs to separate him from my Barbies, only to find him gleefully bashing their heads together.

1. The time our grandmother, when asked by Mongrel (in a clearly joking manner) which one of us she thought was better looking, seriously considered the question, and then answered him, “Your sister, definitely. But that’s alright, because you have the music to fall back on!” And then we died.

Les Bebes

One loves card-hiding.

The other is currently more of a card-eating personality.

I'm looking at you, Mr. T!

Together, they are the worst birth control on the planet. Especially with pictures like these:

Will you please just stop that right now.

The parents of these lovely humans have hinted that they might want a few more. Pretty sure all signs (including the fact that I had to give up the second half of “Go, Dog, Go!” to LK because there weren’t enough babies to go around) point to “Uh, yes. Yesterday.”

We miss you guys (and Johanssen)!

The Cheapest Possible Form of Therapy

Sometimes (and not often, because I try pretty intensely to be tuned in to how great the current situation is) a particular day might tilt the wrong way, and a mood of general crab-osity might descend in this general area.

It might be in relation to something normal, like bad grades, or something that makes no sense to anyone but yours truly (like someone referring to their sandwich as a “sammy.” What? No. It’s not even short for sandwich. That would be a sandy, which actually sounds a lot like an experience I had this one time when we decided lunch on the beach in windy mid-winter was a great idea. It wasn’t.)

In such circumstances, a person might turn to the internets for solace…to try to self-medicate with humor. Sometimes Pinterest comes to the rescue…

…but the relief can be shallow and short-lived. Should you find yourself so adrift, I would strongly advise that you stop scrolling and instead turn to that utmost of physiologically healing stimuli…

[Babies Laughing at Ripping Paper]

It might seem overly simplistic, but I bet you ten thousand dollars* that any bad mood plaguing you can be banished by watching little guys lose it over the sound of shredding documents.

Maybe I should do my future doc review at Hope’s house…

*This bet funded and approved by Mitt Romney.

Deliberation

Problem: Things like the Christmas-decorated duck parade above are now evoking the following thought process:

1. How cute! It’s like “Make Way for Ducklings” in real life!

2. I love that book! I can’t wait to read it to our baby!

That second step is occurring with increasingly disturbing frequency. It also does not help when M looks at all passing babies and goes “Aw! The little guy!” (Pro tip: it is “the little guy!” regardless of the child’s gender. It also applies to small creatures of any kind [dogs, never cats, what are you even thinking?] and regular sized humans when they are being particularly adorable.)

However, time spent taking care of infants decreases his ability to do this:

So…we got time.