Our Christmas Eve Package

Over forty-one weeks in the making, arriving twelve days late, with an overall weight of nine pounds and four ounces, our package finally made it home. #9 joined our clan. With his contribution, for the first time ever, the boys out number the girls. And after four girls in a row, that’s something I thought I would never say.

#9’s entrance into the world was without complications; however that is not to say it was without anxiety and a good deal of pain. He was due mid December, and Wife had all the symptoms of early labor. We were ready for his appearance at the end of November, but our boy had other ideas. Either he was very comfortable where he was, or he really didn’t want to face the world, in which case I can’t blame him. After several weeks of false labor, it continued to be false labor.

STILL pregnant...

STILL pregnant…

I’ve already written about how Wife had prepared for Christmas, so that when the baby came she would be able to recover without any worries about any of the Christmas details. About a week and a half before Christmas, she ran out of things to organize for the big day. Then she started to pace.

Have you ever seen a woman pace when she is over-due? She holds her belly with all the tender love and affection that makes a mother’s love incomparable. She strolls around with the comical waddle of a penguin. Her eyes dart back and forth seeking any mischief or mess-makers with the directness of a tiger. And the whole package has enough force to rival a typhoon.

At long last, after a full day of doubtful contractions, Wife’s mother made the call, she was definitely in labor. I met them at the hospital after work and thought that the twenty-third of December was a good night to have a baby. It was not quite as good as the twelfth, but it was better than the twenty-fourth. And so Wife labored into the night, until the twenty-fourth rolled around.Who You calling ELF?

Yes you read right, a Christmas Eve baby. He was a great gift, but his timing was about the last thing I expected. I’ve often heard of Christmas babies, and always thought it was a bad date for a birthday. I would never do that to one of my children. I mean, what are the odds? But then my sister pointed out, “Well, the odds for your family are about one in nine.”First Christmas

The End of the Line

At some point every young child has to learn that their parents are the absolute authority. A contest of wills, so to speak. I believe that it sets the tone for the majority of their relationship. In my household, that contest usually happens when the child is between one and three years. With some children it seems to last an entire year. When the child grows to that point (known to some as the terrible twos) Wife and I must be firm, but even I was unaware of just how firm we could be.Leashed

#6 is just conceding to our authority, while #7 has just started to resist. And so, he foundEnd of the line himself in the middle of a forest tied to a tree. Now it sounds worse that it was. If you have read my last post, then you know we had just been camping. It just so happens that was the time #7 chose to be… uppity.

I have heard someone say that a one year old shouldn’t be expected to respect boundaries. Well, I say that if there is a newborn in the picture and a slue of siblings that



need tending, then he’s going to respect boundaries real quick. And those boundaries include, keeping within sight of his parents (meaning keeping out of the road or out of the forest), and keeping out of the fire (meaning keeping all limbs out of the campfire no matter what.) And that combination led to the leashing of #7 to a tree.

He screamed at his mother. He screamed at me. He screamed at

And Fro

And Fro

the leash and the tree. He stretched the tether as far as it went and screamed. He swung to and fro like a pendulum and screamed. He wrapped the leash around the tree and attempted to pull it over, and when that did not work he screamed. When the other children came over to play around the tree with him, he

ran to the end of his line and

And the tree did not move.

And the tree did not move.


No matter how hard anyone tried to distract or comfort the little boy, he would not be soothed. “Liberty before security” apparently is his motto. While I might encourage that attitude later in his life, right now father and mother know best. He’ll see it my way eventually.End of the line


*No children were harmed in the writing of this post. #7 was released upon the return to his natural habitat.*

The Mother-Block-Out Gene

Have you ever been convinced that your children’s ears were completely stopped up with wax, but when you checked you found that they were wide open? So you resort to yell at the child, “Why can’t you hear me?”

The child looked up at you dumbfounded and responded, “What?”not listening

Now if you multiply that by seven, you have my house. But, if you multiply by eight instead of seven, you have my Wife’s house. Apparently this unwanted attribute comes entirely from me.

Earlier, Wife shouted at #5 to come to her and put away the toy that she had picked up and was holding in her hand. On the second summons, the little boy tottered over and began his frustrated search for the said toy looking for it on the carpet. After circling twice, all the while whining, “I can’t see it. I can’t see it,” he finally heard his mother shouting that it was still in her hand. At that moment he was my son only, and Wife had nothing to do with his origins.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t argue very well that this hearing deficiency isn’t my fault. As a younger version of myself, I frequently was unable to hear my mother. It got so bad that at one point I was taken to get my hearing tested. It turned out I hear most every thing fine, except my mother. Now, to Wife’s chagrin, I have passed on this mother-block-out gene to at least six children. The baby is still too young to tell and we will see about the eighth.

But there is a good side to this coin; this gene does not affect every child equally. #1 seems to have had a lighter case, for she has been able to hear her mother more regularly. #2 on the other hand may have two of these genes, for she can’t hear her father either. You understand? There is a chance that some of my children might be normal.calls unheared

I’ve told Wife that it’s ok, just by having the children we’ll get revenge. The mother-block-out gene will pass from them to their children and you will be able to ‘I told you so’ with all with all the authority of a grandmother.

Wife said something to me after that, but I didn’t hear it.

A Wife’s Story

Arriving home I found myself exhausted after a long day of work. A work, by the way, that no one seems to want to hear about, not even my beloved Wife. For when I stepped in the door, Wife met me with her day’s troubles. I sat down to listen to her dismaying story.

First, we set the scene: Costco, shortly after the store opened.

Second, we introduce the players: Wife, children #1 through #7, and the little old cranky lady (guess who’s the villain).

Third, we remind the audience that my children are well-behaved.Boys in carseats

Now, Wife sets to work with her story.

While shopping in the big box store, Wife and her charges had no unexpected events to speak of, that was until the little old cranky lady. They met each other in the check out line; that cruel place in which people have no escape, second only to the elevator. The little old cranky lady surveyed our litter of children and wrinkled her already wrinkled nose. “Are all these children yours?!” she squawked.

Wife looked over her troop while her mind rambled of its own accord… No, of course they’re not all mine. While some people pick up stray cats and dogs, I drive down the unsuspecting streets picking up stray children. The hard part is finding ones that look alike, for I must have a matching set. I’m sure you have your own hobbies, perhaps a collection of glass figurines, or a flower garden, or, judging by the vodka in your cart, maybe you don’t have a hobby worth speaking of. So don’t say snide comments about something you obviously know nothing about…

            But Wife has more class than to let her imagination run off of her mouth. Instead, feeling like a deer caught in the headlights, she simply stated, “Of course they are,” and refused to look at the little old cranky lady while purchasing her groceries.

Thinking that the story was finished, I offered my sympathy along with some good old-fashioned, unwanted advice. “She was probably raised with the mindset that children are a needed burden and not the gift we know that they are. Try not to hold her unkindness against her.”

Wife huffed. “I don’t. She just irritated me. Oh, and then as we’re leaving, your son,” she glared at #5 from across the room, “noticed that I only bought diapers and wipes, so he shouts at the top of his lungs, ‘Mom! We forgot the food!’ I was so embarrassed.”

One more thing I must add to this post. After going over it with Wife, I now feel the need to announce that she is interested with my work deeply. Thank you for your interest.

She is like a tree

She is like a tree, whose leaves are shade and comfort; whose greens have natural beauty.

She is like a tree, whose branches hold every sort; who makes a home for those she loves.

She is like a tree, whose roots provide endless support; with faith and strength eternally.

She is like a tree, whose stiff trunk will not contort; who stands against the world’s ways.

She is like a tree, whose fruit is sweet without effort; who nurtures all who are hungry.

She is like a tree, whose presence does not assert; yet whose love is always there.

She is our mother, don’t be covert; express your love most kindly.


To the mother who raised me.

To the mother who raised Wife.

To the mother who is raising my children.