This rollercoaster we call life

As I sit here in front of my computer, coffee at hand, windows open, birds chirping, I think back to what I was doing exactly 24 hours ago.

If I recall correctly, I was either screaming or crying...most likely doing both simultaneously, whilst trying to get my 10th grader out of bed. This has become a sickening ritual, something that started when he began 7th grade and has continued ever since.

Charlie was, ironically enough, the baby who didn't sleep for a year. And when I eventually did get him on a semi-regular sleep schedule, he was always the one who woke up at the ass-crack of dawn, regardless of what time I finally got him to sleep the night before. We are in a school district with staggered start times, the kids from kindergarten up to 6th grade don't start until 9:33 a.m. The rest (7 through 12) start at 7:43 or so. Which means a bus pick up at around 7:00 a.m. In a perfect world, the younger kids would start early, since we have known since about 400 B.C. that teens don't tend to be morning people. But hey, can't fight the power all the time, right? So that leads me to my daily struggle with the Man Child.

Charlie is a complicated, scary/smart, funny, frustrating and wonderful person. I knew pretty much from the start that he would be all of the above, from the first second they opened up my belly and that big melon-head was pulled out he was wide awake and very obviously pissed about it. He was the child who made me a mom. A wedding planner, too. Big Daddy and I were co-habitating at the time my pregnancy was discovered...we were planning on getting hitched but "Nugget", as we called early Charlie, pushed the plans up a bit. Shotgun wedding followed, I was about 5 months pregnant and all I could find to wear on such short notice was a huge, tent-like black velvet dress from Banana Republic. Big Daddy and I were so poor at the time that I kept the tags on the dress (this was before retailers got smart and tagged OUTSIDE, not in) and returned it after our nuptials. Don't judge, that was a long time ago. Yes, the knocked up bride wore black. You'd think someone would have pointed out this somewhat stereotypical omen, eh? Oh hindsight, why are you so clear?

Anyhoo. Charlie was due on St. Patty's day in 1994 but that day came and went. I remember not answering the phone after that, and to this day I know better than to ask an overdue preggo, "When is that baby coming out?" We waited, and waited some more, until my OB finally decided to induce on April 1st, 1994. Yes, April Fool's Day. Ha ha.

After lying in a hospital bed for 6 hours, pitocin dripping into my system but having no effect at all on my body, my doc decided to do an ultrasound to find out if maybe my cervix had been superglued shut, or if maybe I was just really, really fat and there wasn't a kid in there. She peered at the screen, back at my belly, and then back at the screen. "Ummm...this kid is bigger than I thought" she finally said. Turns out that the extra time in the oven was kind of like adding Miracle Grow to my uterus. She announced that I could drink pitocin cocktails for the next 2 weeks and there was still no way a head that size was going to fit through my pelvis. So much for my years of "birthing hips" jokes. A c-section was ordered immediately and a couple hours later a giant screaming Charlie was born.

Our first night home with him will forever be ingrained into my memory. That was when I learned firsthand why you sometimes need to wake a sleeping baby. Charlie slept on the way home, and for the entire day, and then for a good part of the evening. Big Daddy and I ate dinner, watched t.v. and discussed how easy it was to have a new baby. This was just like having a big goldfish, actually. Until those tiny black eyes opened up, and we were ushered into what is known as Colic Hell.

At one point, I was wearing nothing but a big t-shirt, the massive mesh underwear that the hospital gives you and a maxi pad the size of a twin mattress. I remember clutching this wailing, red bundle of joy to my chest and frantically calling the Nurse Line. When some poor RN answered, all I could get out was a garbled "IS THIS THE NUMBER I CALL ABOUT THE BABIES????". I still wonder if the Nurse Line ladies had a good laugh that night.

Obviously we made it through that night, and many more afterward. Charlie of course became a Big Brother roughly 18 months after that infamous Nurse Line night, proving that a: my memory has never been one of my strengths, and b: Big Daddy finally convinced me to have sex again. Molly was conceived during a commercial break while we were watching E.R. I remember this only because I had entered the phase of my life where sex had become a bargaining tool in our marriage, it was no longer something that I looked forward to with starry eyes. Having a child latched onto a nipple for a good part of the day gave me just about all of the "touchy feelies" that I could handle. Thankfully the act with Big Daddy was short-lived, thankfully for Molly it was also all that my eager eggs needed. Baby number two was made.

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