Flippy wanted to know who was born first (Caroline.) For some reason I mentioned this question to Steve and it lead to my discovering that Edward was born a full ten minutes later than I had thought. For a year I have told people - not a lot of people, true, as it doesn't come up that often, but still - that Edward was born at 9:45 when in fact he arrived at 9:55. A thirty-six minute age gap which seems like a lot for twins but what do I know?
As Steve and I talked about it I realized that I really don't remember much about that night at all. I had some soup and I threw it up later. When they break the amniotic sac the contractions go from moderately uncomfortable to hurting like a motherfucker. You would think that they would ask about the timing of the contractions before they start poking into your spine with the needle for an epidural but they don't; they just ask you to remain perfectly still. The fact that it would be easier to do so if they started when a contraction was ending rather than just beginning seems fairly significant to me but in my vast experience of two whole deliveries I was the only one in the room who thought so. I got to cuddle with Caroline for a few minutes after she was born and then I did not see her for at least eight hours. Even the comparatively monstrous Edward disappeared for most of the night. For some reason this did not seem strange or alarming to me at the time but in retrospect you think I would have asked someone where my babies were. Instead Steve and I were in our respective sleeping spaces in my hospital room, too wired on adrenaline to sleep but with nothing to occupy our attention. We read our books until one in the morning. I could kick myself for frittering valuable sleeping time like that. Edward was born screaming his head off and he continued to yell the entire time he was in the delivery room. Now that I am getting acquainted with sassy toddler Edward (who is apparently only distantly related to sweetie-sweet baby Edward) I am no longer surprised by the vehemence of his early objections to everything.
I hated this photo of Caroline when I first saw it.
Now I no longer remember why the picture with the feeding tube bothered me so much. Just like I no longer understand why I was terribly offended when the first - and second - thing people would say about her was "Oh my god she's so tiny!"
She was really freaking small for a full-term baby. I'm just glad that she is as healthy as she is and... ah ha! I knew this was coming from somewhere... I have to admit that when we found that chest lump and the surgeon took it so seriously I was terrified that she had cancer and that it was caused by all of the goddamned fertility/preterm labor drugs I took. And I had the same concerns when she was born at four pounds. Like, did I do this to her?
Anyway, long, discursive and unnecessarily nostalgic answer: Caroline is older and, sure, that's why she laughs when Patrick drags her backwards through the entire first floor by her pajama'd feet.
Oh and speaking about fear and cancer and breasts I was supposed to follow up with my OB after the mammogram but I had to cancel the appointment due to the Great Christmas Plague that saw me huddled in my bathroom. By the time I felt well enough to leave the house my recurring breast whatsit had resolved itself. Again. So I didn't want to go into the doctor and point at the perfectly healthy spot on my breast and talk about how it had been bothering me two weeks ago and a month before that. So I did nothing. But now that duct is acting up again. So I suppose I can go in. Although having gotten the all clear from the radiologist I don't really want to bother.
Steve and I got an accidental babysitter last Saturday night. I actually wanted her for tomorrow because we have a dinner invitation but she accepted thinking that I meant the 17th. Once sorted it seemed like a shame not to use a perfectly free night like that so... we went bowling. Actually first we went to dinner, then we went and drank enough wine that bowling sounded like a good idea, THEN we went bowling. I should warn you, skill at Wii does not translate one iota, not one solitary pixel into skill at real bowling. For starters those damned balls are really heavy and then they don't roll in any direction that you might reasonably anticipate. It took me six frames to knock down a single pin and my only spare came when I sort of fell down and released at the same time.
We had a really good time. Not to knock the women's magazine genre that keeps me in, um, pencils but I have always sneered at the billion or so articles that tout the importance of marital Date Night. It seemed to me that if you and your spouse can't cobble together a pleasant evening at home for free then the relationship is hardly going to blossom just because you throw in some mini golf. However, I admit that I now think they might be on to something. Steve and I have gone through periods with semi-regular sitters and those without any childcare whatsoever and when we are able to go out alone a few times in a shortish period I find that we are eventually able to talk less about what - exactly - Caroline's diapers look like after she has consumed dairy (YE GODS) and more about whether the table next to us is on a first date (yes) and whether we think there will be a second (no.)
So we went bowling and we had fun and I said something about how very nice everything is right now. We have these three children who we wanted more than anything and we are all healthy and the future might suck in any number of awful random ways but at this particular moment our lives are good. And Steve said something and I said something and then for some reason I mentioned the dreadful mosquitoes that we get here in the summer and Steve acknowledged that he is ready to have shorter winters and the next thing I knew we started talking - tentatively but seriously - about where we might move outside of Minnesota.
I know I have already told you this story but twelve years ago Steve and I sat in a bar in Oak Park Illinois and we wrote down on cocktail napkins lists of cities in which we would consider living. The first place to show up on both of our lists was Minneapolis-St. Paul. So we moved here. And although I like Minnesota very much and I love our house and friends there is nothing REALLY keeping us here if we felt inclined for a change. Steve's work is utterly portable and although it's a terrible time to sell it's a great time to buy. Besides, I have never liked the idea of being held hostage by a thing. The house is beautiful and Steve has done a lot of work on it but it's just a house. There are lots of them out there.
Finally, and this is just between us, I was taken aback that Steve would even consider a move after swearing up and down that the Upper Midwest was it for him. After thinking about it I decided that he has a touch of the just-turned-41 angst going on. A burgeoning crisis of the middle life. So if moving the entire family to some random location is how he wants to express this trauma rather than the slightly more traditional and infinitely more irritating affair with a co-ed well, hell. I'll get the boxes.
Whether or not anything comes of it we are having fun thinking about places where we could live. So far we have ruled out Florida (no offense.) I think we would like to have four seasons, the schools need to be, you know, whatever, and I had a really bad experience in Kansas once that would take a lot of surmounting. Beyond that who knows? I think I asked this question once a couple of years ago but then it was just idle curiousity and now it's active curiosity: do you like where you live and/or where would you move if you could?