In 14 days, my wife and I will be experiencing a major shift in our family. A major shift. Tectonic-Plates-Glacial-Sliding-Landslide type shift.
We’re having a child.
And not just A child, but our THIRD child, which means two things. First and foremost, it means that we are socially irresponsible by having created more people than will replace us when we “pass“. BUT… in my defense…you should see the “next generation” of kids growing up around my block. Trust me when I say that my over population is nothing more than my most desperate and valiant effort to help the human race not dip into The Darkest Abyss.
Secondly, and more importantly, it means that my wife and I are now outnumbered in our own home. The child-to-parent ratio is all screwed up and there could, for all intents and purposes, be some sort of uprising; an overthrow of government if you will; a Coup. I’ve read Treasure Island, I’ve read Mutiny on the Bounty, I know how these things work!
I’ve got my eye on you Little Baby Boy or Girl… Papa will be watching you from Day 1…
Now, backstory out of the way, I’d like you to take a journey with me. For the next 14 days, I’m going to document the final two weeks leading up to The Great Shift. We are, as most parents are, eternally thankful for our Little Nugget and excited to see if she actually ends up being a she or if he ends up coming out male-wise. In any event, there is an element of bittersweet aroma in the air because, as all parents know, there is a family dynamic that is in play and whenever you add something to it, the previous dynamic is lost forever and a new one takes its place. We currently have a set of twins that are, obviously, the same age and we have routines and inside jokes with them (and about them) and we have those quiet, special family moments and those public outings and adventures and these things won’t be gone, but our dynamic, our Everyday that we’ve gotten used to over the last two years, will be transformed.
ABOVE: RORY (LEFT) and QUINN (RIGHT).
I had this really fantastic couch in college. I bought it at a Goodwill and paid eleven bucks for it. I loved that couch and, often times I actually just slept on it. I even named it. Couchy. It stayed with me in the dorms, into my first apartment and then into the duplex my wife and I eventually moved into and then into the first house we rented. It was well worn and soft and I knew just what to expect. But one day we had to buy a new couch and we took ‘ol Couchy and set it out on the curb and a garbage truck came and stuck two giant steel poles through it’s back, lifted it into the air and then slowly lowered it into a series of spinning blades that spit stray wood chips out into the street, leaving me behind with only my memories and tears and this awful final image.
The new baby is sort of like that… only without the spinning blades and steel spikes and tears.
ABOVE: COUCHY BEFORE HE WAS TURNED INTO TOOTHPICKS, A YOUNGER VERSION OF BOTH JADE AND MYSELF AND A LIVING VERSION OF MY DOG.
Let’s get started, shall we?
This morning I was awakened by a loud banging on my bedroom door. The handle jiggles and I blurt out some incoherent sentence about grapefruits that I’m sure made sense to whatever dream I was having. The door knob wiggles again and I hear someone shout at me, “Hey! Hey! Door’s locked!” and I say, “I know. I did that to keep people out,” and then I twist the knob and standing there is my son, Rory and my daughter Quinn, both of them holding onto their favorite blankets. I don’t want to call them security blankets because, well, there’s really nothing secure about them; in the event of a fire, you can’t crawl under them. In fact, they’re stuffed with cotton so they’d probably be the first thing to just go up like a magician’s flash paper. POOF!
Quinn shouts, with an energy that should be outlawed at 7:15 in the morning, “I’m ah-WAAAKE!” and then Rory echoes her with, “Mornin’!” He has this built in drawl that he throws into that word and that word alone so that he sounds like a legitimate cowboy of yesteryear. I imagine him tipping his hat to me and rolling a piece of wheat in his teeth as I flop back into bed and cover myself up, hoping that they’ll just crawl in behind me and go back to sleep but instead Quinn puts her foot on my cheek and says, “Daddy, I want to snuggle,” and I understand that this is less of a request and more of a threat.
ABOVE: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LOOK INTO HIS EYES…. I SAID DON’T DO IT!
I pull the blankets back and she crawls under the covers and I shut my eyes and think, “I’ve done it!” but then Quinn is poking my eyelids and laughing and saying, “Daaa-dee,” and I say, “Whaaaaat?” and she says, “Daaaa-deeee?” and I say, “I’m sleeeeeeping,” and she says, “No, you’re not.”
Rory begins jumping on the end of the bed and screaming and then he’s dropping onto his knees and landing on my shins and I’m saying to him, “Uck – ouch – eek – oh,” and he’s laughing and I’m wondering if anyone has ever considered building a sort of king sized coffin that adults can sleep in; something with a lid…
I roll over and grab my book from the nightstand, a copy of Big Sur by Jack Kerouac and try to read a few pages in order to transition into the day. “Oh, we readin’?” Quinn asks me and takes a look inside my book. No pictures. She jumps off the bed, runs into the living room and returns with a small handful from her own private library, wherein she crawls next to me, props herself up on a pillow and begins to examine each page with such silent intensity that I’m positive that she is legitimately reading. Time passes, pages turn, Jade makes a couple pig-ish snoring noises and Rory shoves a toy cow in my face and says, “THAT’S A PIG!” and I say, “That’s not a pig,” and he says, “THAT’S A COW!” and then he arranges each of his animals onto one corner of the night table and doesn’t touch them again. He’s a very meticulous little boy, similar both to my sister Theresa and my brother-in-law, Jordan, a man who used to iron his money when he was younger.
ABOVE: THE FORCE…. OF OCD… IS STRONG IN THIS ONE…
I grab my phone to check the time and realize… “Dang, it’s just after 10am.” At some point in the last three hours when I thought I wasn’t sleeping, I must have dozed off and the kids just laid there (lied there??) and we all slept in until late and, now that I think about it, I do feel pretty refreshed.
Jade sits up and says, “Should we eat french toast for breakfast?” and my kids love french toast (who doesn’t?) and so they scream and say, “YES! FRENCH TOAST!” and then they’re gone and then my wife is gone and I’m left lying in bed with my book, thinking about standing up. I look over at the empty bassonet we have in the room and I realize that soon…..
…soon the idea of sleeping in until 10am will be a luxury reserved for bachelors, rich people and the homeless.