Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rosie in Our Hearts

posted from Diane's blog...

The Princess wants to call her baby sister in heaven, Rosie. We decided then that Rosie is short for Rose Marie, since all our girls have Marie as their second name. Why it's a girl is just their gut feel. I don't mind at all. I'll even venture that the first one we lost in 1999 was also a girl. If we get creative, she'll also have a name by the end of the day.

The little one took it as well as her mind can understand what happened. After I explained that Mama is not pregnant anymore, she replied, Mama, I want to go to the Holy Land!

It was a great journey, this past 7 weeks. To be able to conceive after two years was a miracle! Secondary infertility is something we have to live with but even as we expected to eventually conceive, it still came as a surprise. Then having two children who can talk and understand the magnitude of this event was a big plus. We borrowed tons of books, read about how babies grow inside the mommies, had fun comparing the baby's size to ordinary objects like coffee beans and grains of rice. It could have been a 9-month lesson plan there!

It's easy to move on. The week of waiting between the first and second sonograms allowed me to prepare, pray and accept. If I was anxious at all, it was the night before the second sonogram, when I began to wish and hope for good news to share. Otherwise, there was no surprise at all with the results because my body gave me the appropriate signs. Seven weeks of an easy pregnancy is still seven weeks of carrying a life, and that's a gift, no matter how I look at it.

Third child lost

I regret to write that we have just lost our child. This is the third child we have lost by miscarriage; all three in the first trimester. This loss unites us with many couples we know and many couples we don't know who have lost a child, lost children, through miscarriage. So, a sad loss, but a loss that in which we may reflect with joy in the gifts we do have: each other, my wife, Diane, and I, and our living children: Elena Marie and Isabel.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What Papa Can Do!

(HT: Douglas Wood)

There are lots of things that regular people can do but dads can't.
Dads can't cross the street without holding hands.
They can push, but they can't swing.
When dads play hide-and-seek they always get found, but they have a hard time finding you.
Dads really need to be kissed good night at bedtime.
It's a wonder they make it through life at all!

This book written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Doug Cushman apparently missed the mark according to the daughters of our Doug the Pirate-Papa.

Papa can cross the street without holding our hands!

He can push AND ride the swing.

Papa can find me when we play hide-and-seek, even when I hide in the bathtub.

We're all good wrestlers.

He's very good at sleeping late. He can shave by himself too!

And he can drive very fast. He goes ZOOM-ZOOM!

He can eat just one piece of cake and one scoop of ice cream.

Papa can read a book by himself.

Does Papa really need a good night kiss?

I give him good night kisses!

He doesn't check for monsters. But we play monsters! And I get scared.

It's what this Papa CAN do that makes these girls wait patiently, sometimes anxiously, for the weekends, when Papa comes home from a long week away from them.

Happy Father's Day, Papa! You Rock!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I'm currently working in Mt. Laurel, NJ,1 and one of the many joys of working in Mt. Laurel, NJ2 is my reacquaintance with red-wing blackbirds!

This recollects to me Wallace Steven's poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", which I shamelessly reproduce here verbatim:4

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

A couple of notes about this poem: first, as I understand it, it was actually about red-wing blackbirds as they are common in Connecticut, and, tying into the first note is, second, my high-school compilation text where I first read this poem provided a footnote that "Haddam" in the exhortation to the thin men is, indeed, Haddam, Connecticut.

Take a moment from your busy schedule today and reread this poem. Hold fast to the center.

1No, I do know why, but, yes, I can't believe it, either.
2It is my duty as pater familias, priest and king of this family, to "count it all joy"3
3Trust another blogger to snag that quote (James 1:2-3) for their blog-stead:
4As the poem is too precious simply to provide a link with the Quixotic hope that my readership will "follow the link"; but here the link is, for completeness' sake:


My littlest (so far), Isabel, and I have this little game we play, called "toesies". How this game works is that she is resting in bed or on her chair eating, and she flashes me her toes. This compels me to stalk these self-same objects ("stalking" meaning "looking in that direction and uttering: 'toes'" or "taking a step in her direction" or, even, "thinking about looking or stepping"). When I begin my hunt, she cries out "NOOOOOOO!" in abject fear (you really need to see this). This halts my advance right away. I back off, simultaneously offering sincere reassurances.

My retreats are more than a balm; in fact, they embolden her to demand my reengagement: "Toesies!" she demands as she wiggles the objects in question. This requires we repeat the game.

If I happen to be sitting next to her (which, I'm happy to report, happens quite often), the game has evolved into a new species. At first it was:

Isabel: "Toesies!"
Me: "I'm gonna get'm!"
Isabel: "NOOOO!" followed by a scrunching of toes into her feet.

But, nowadays,

We interrupt this blog post for a Muppet News Flash!

Dateline: Mt. Laurel, NJ --

A hot-air balloon just lazily passed the office where I'm working; vertically striped orange and indigo, it couldn't have been more than 1,000 ft above ground.

... I wonder if they pick up hitchhikers?


But, nowadays, to minimize the risk of foot cramping, I've explained to the little one that I wouldn't actually take her toes away from her, as they're stuck onto her feet.

Me: "See?" as I gently pull on a toe, demonstrating that it doesn't come off.
Isabel: "It's stuck!", said with wonder.
Isabel: "... try to pull off the other ones!"

So we repeat the game for each toe, as I very gently "try" to obtain a toe for myself, and at each attempt, she explains that I cannot take her toe:

Isabel: "It's stuck! *smirks*"

However, she's a delicate one! We'd be playing "monsters" or "giants" or "toesies" or "catch-me-papa", and if there's a bit too much excitement the pretend emotions become real, uncontrollable, ones. We, Elena Marie, Isabel and myself, were playing "catch-me-papa", which is a game where we run up and down the hallway, sliding into home-base (the fireplace -- hardwood floors with gym socks make for some good, long, slides) or leaping onto the big-bed ... don't ask how Diane tolerates this game, because I just don't know. Well, I uttered my battle-cry/warning to start the game off: "I'm comin' for youooouuoooouuuoouoouu!" Elena Marie screamed with excitement and ran off, but the scream frightened Isabel so much that she slumped to the floor, crying.

Oops! Game over, and new rule: "No screaming". Recovery time consisted of consolation hugs, calming, soothing reassurances, and, it now being late, time for their favorite, favorite, activity: Papa reading bedtime stories.