Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog for G

Today, I celebrated the ninth anniversary since the wee hours of the morning after the long hours of a night in labor with my son.  Five days after G's Pearl Harbor Day due date, when my brother Bill came down from his nearby condo and knocked on the door.  He told me that, if I was willing to try castor oil (to induce labor) he'd try it with me.  What a guy.  The oldest sibling anywhere nearby (his half sister/ my stepsister lives farrrrrr away) I was the first to be pregnant, and G would be the first nephew anywhere within visiting distance.  Bill was pretty excited-- and he's a little OCD, so when he gets going on an idea, you can either fight it and pay the price, or go with it.  And really, we had just attended (or, I had barely managed to sit in a chair long enough for) Rich's grandfather's funeral that day.  All our major obligations were finished.  I was finishing making a lampshade for the nursery when Bill knocked.  Rich was visiting his family or maybe playing racquetball.  And I was physically uncomfortable and ready to be done being pregnant.  (That probably sounds callous, the funeral being a social obligation, and I did feel grief that day, but let's face it.  Very pregnant women process these things much differently than normal people-- all the energy is focused inward.)

We made a trip to the drug store.   We filled shot glasses with the thick oil and took a photo.  I chased my shot of castor oil with grapefruit juice as my mother had suggested over the phone.  It was a gloppy mess and I would have gagged without the bite of the citrus to follow it.  Shudder.

I will spare the readers of my blog the details of the next several hours, but I called Bill at about 11:30 to find out how his evening had gone (Rich was home and passed out asleep by this point, of course.)  He said his gut was pretty much emptied.  I was still cramping... turned out to have worked.  Rich was a very effective coach.  I can still hear him at my side, in my ear, "Go! Go! Go!"  My mother's method was a bit more nurturing, rubbing my feet, giving me stiff backrubs along the back of my pelvis, providing counterpressure until I had to turn onto my back, putting up with my comments about her coffee breath. I think G was born by 4 a.m., maybe even earlier.  Time was irrelevant by that point; I was experiencing an altered state of consciousness which was not induced by drugs but by complete physical transformations of all sorts. The date was Friday, the 13th. 

My first impression of my son was that, somehow, I recognized him-- it was a feeling of seeing something I had imagined in a dream brought to life, as though he looked exactly as he was meant to, and I experienced the joy of fulfilled expectations. Beyond that, he was a wrinkly, shriveled little thing, like any newborn.  I was struck by how much he looked like an old man, actually.  Our first couple of days were a series of negotiations-- mostly he won.  He still negotiates each an every situation, behavior and consequence with me, though he is much more helpful around the house.  He is a meticulous and focused artist, a willful and belligerent non-homework-doer, a gifted thinker and designer, a hiker of endurance and fortitude, and an avid reader of imaginative literature and nonfiction (and Calvin and Hobbes.) He cleans his room better and more efficiently than I have ever managed to do.  He creates endless versions of his "mini-man," a roughly cut-out paper man about two inches tall who goes on adventures and inevitably ends up limbless and decapitated.

Though G has been the greatest challenge of my life, he is also one of the greatest treasures.  As he grows older one of my greatest hopes is to disentangle him from media and video games for enough time that he continues to use his imagination and keep a sense of his own mind.  And that he can learn to control the idiosyncratic behavioral things that make it so difficult for him in school.  He is strong-willed, so if he chooses to do these things, he will.

Happy Birthday!  I apologize that until you are grown, this will always be finals week for me. 

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