Friday, March 22, 2013

What About Bobby?

Yesterday was World Down Syndrome Day. And fittingly, it was also the day Bobby turned three months old.

You see, our baby boy was named after someone very special.  He's Brian's uncle, his mom's youngest brother. He's also Brian's godfather. And he also happens to have Down Syndrome.
His name is Bob. Robert Francis, to be exact. Just like our Bobby. Only their last names differ.

Brian had been plugging the name Bobby for quite some time. After we had William (who was named William for a multitude of reasons, one being that it's Brian's mom's maiden name: Williams) we had two girls in a row so the boy's name took a back seat. Which ended up being a good thing because I was able to mull the name Bobby over a little bit longer and learn to love it.

My problems with the name Bobby were this: I didn't love the name Robert. And Bob seemed like an old man's name. I liked the name Bobby well enough but wondered if he could carry that with him into adulthood.

Brian threw names at me like Bobby Darin and Bobby Knight and, my secret crush, Bobby Flay as examples of highly successful men who were known only as Bobby and not Bob. Over and over again he repeated the name Bobby Nash like he was the next rising football star. (It does kind of sound like it, doesn't it?)

And then, when Brian was away on a business trip, I watched a movie about the Kennedys. I fell in love with Bobby Kennedy and all his moral ways that were in the shadow of his more famous brother's personal missteps. As JFK was having affair after affair, Bobby and Ethel were deeply and happily in love. Together they had 11 children, the eleventh being born after his assassination. He also had much deeper Catholic roots, no doubt something he inherited from his devout mother.

OK, I later told Brian on the phone, I'm in. Bobby it is if we ever have another boy.

We kept the name top secret. Especially from his mom who we knew would be very emotional about it. It needed to be real. We couldn't tell her the name when it was just a hypothetical.

Recently Uncle Bob's health has been declining as is often the case when aging and Downs Syndrome intersect. People with Downs Syndrome have a much shorter life expectancy than those without. And while no one wants to admit it, we all know that at age 56, we don't have a whole lot of time left with Uncle Bob.
Bob is the youngest in a family of seven children.  The amount of offspring that have sprung from that family is crazy.  What's crazier is how close they all are.  One might mistake a cousin gathering as some sort of high school reunion.  And through it all Uncle Bob has held his position as the family mascot of sorts.  Everybody loves Bob and all his quirks.

Brian's Bob stories have become famous among our friends who don't know Bob.  At first it seems like Brian is teasing.  Or that he is insensitive to Bob's disabilities.  But after seeing Brian interact with Bob in the 13 years that I've known him it is now clear to me that Brian has nothing but unconditional love for this man.  What may seem like insensitive is actually just Brian treating Bob like he's another one of his best friends, disabilities unimportant.
Bob loves Coke Classics.  And McDonald's.  He loves all the Rocky movies and has Brian's knack for memorizing random movie lines.  He hates Tom Hanks and wearing his dentures.  And he's a crazy good poker player.  He's also the best baby-holder in the whole wide world.
Bob & Lucy
When our Bobby was born and we found out that he was definitely a he and that he would be named Bobby, Brian was ecstatic.  And he couldn't wait to get on the phone with his mom.  Her reaction was even more emotional than I could have imagined.
I'm going to say what a lot of people probably thought and never said.  It takes a lot of guts to name your son after a man who has Downs Syndrome.  I'm so glad Brian had the courage to do it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Sorrows [And Laughs, Too]

I'm in a rut.  A bad-mood, hate-this-weather, I'm-sick-of-winter rut.  The kids are getting bored.  And annoying.  But it's not their fault.  Old Man Winter's got a hold of them too.

Bobby would only sleep while attached to me last night so there's probably some sleep deprivation factors at work too.  Of course now, when the rest of the kids are awake, he's fast asleep in his bed upstairs.  Because that's just how it works.

Yesterday I had a moment when the house was quiet.  Katherine was napping.  Lucy was reading books in her room.  And Bobby and I were resting on the couch. He closed his eyes and I had some peace.  And then I heard a BOOM from upstairs in Lucy's room.  Bobby's eyes shot open and it was over.

I marched into Lucy's room and scolded her for not respecting the sleeping.  And then she started to cry.  Not because I was too hard on her but because she's just that sensitive.  But the crying then lulled her to sleep.  Who else secretly loves this phenomenon?

But the joke was on me because as she was soundly sleeping and Bobby was all nestled up against my chest in the Ergo I started the process of soothingly adding chicken stock to my pot of arborio rice.  Making risotto is so calming, isn't it?

But the thing about risotto is that it needs your attention.  Your attention cannot be swayed by, say, a little girl who soaked her bed during her nap.  Through the sheets, through the waterproof pad, through the mattress cover.  And it cannot be swayed when this little girl has a meltdown because she's all wet and now she can no longer wear her favorite dress she put on that morning.

The risotto, it wasn't great.  It wasn't ruined.  But it wasn't the same amazing recipe I followed just two weeks prior on a Saturday when Brian was home and one of us could tend to the stove at all times.

My foul mood continued when said little girl emphatically declared she "hates this dinner" and refused to even try just one tiny bite.


Dinner over.  Time for baths.

And then a peace offering.

There wasn't a grudge on the day big enough to make me blow this off.  And luckily I still had my wits about me to know to go grab the camera.

What's annoying to parents is full of hilarity to a newborn.

Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes: [3.15.13]

1. Hey! I just started the process of getting a new blog design. I'm pretty excited. This place has been feeling a little blah and pretty outdated lately. It isn't cheap to have someone make a custom blog design for you so I discussed it with Brian first and he wanted to know would it be more for me or more for my readers. I thought about it and while I do so love you, dear reader, the design is more for me. I told him it was kind of like going to work in the same old clothes day after day. Then one day you decide to invest in a new outfit or two and suddenly going to work is fun again. But maybe that's a girl thing and he couldn't relate? I don't know. But I'm getting a new design so watch out for changes coming soon!

2. Habemus papam! Oh you guys, Wednesday was just so cool! I decided to pull up the live shot of the Sistine Chapel chimney while we were eating lunch.
And wouldn't you know it we saw the white smoke start billowing live! I was able to text Brian and my mom even before the media started reporting it. I let Lucy skip her nap that day as we were both glued to the TV. It so felt like we were creating a "where were you when" moment. Lucy explained to me that we needed a new pope to help get Jesus unstuck from the cross. She also told me Jesus came back to life on Easter when the fairies sprinkled sparkles on him. Maybe it's wrong of me but it's too cute to correct right now.

And when he chose the name Francis, the first Pope Francis ever, well, I just melted. Francis, of course, being what we chose as Bobby's middle name. I still remember being at the dining room table reading about the lives of Saints Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier with Brian when we agreed he would be Robert Francis if we indeed had a boy.

3. My birthday was last week and the day turned out pretty well. It was busy though. I read at Lucy's school in the morning, had teacher conferences for William in the afternoon and went out to dinner with Brian that evening. Brian gave me the most beautiful birthstone pendant necklace and that was certainly a lovely surprise. He pretended my gift hadn't arrived yet and then pulled it out of his pocket at dinner. Jewelry is probably my favorite kind of gift to receive because I almost never think to buy it for myself.

4. I started my couch to 5k running program this week. Remember when I did that last year and had to quit halfway through when I was interrupted by a little thing called pregnancy? I'm not going to lie. My first outing was tough. But I'm convinced it was only tough because of the cold, wind and ice. I would have waited until it got warmer but Brian and I want to run a 5K over Memorial Day weekend and if I don't start now I won't finish the program in time. Besides, weather is such a lame excuse for not exercising. It's always going to be either too hot or too cold.

5. The weather though. I'm just so over winter. Last year we were in the 70s. And I know that was an anomaly of record-breaking temps but still. Couldn't we find a medium? This below-average temps, two-snow-storms-a-week stuff is getting really old. I finally had to break down and buy William all new winter gear. I really thought I could just make it through seeing as we are halfway through March. But nope, we've got another couple of storms on the way and his snowpants with the holes in the knees and coat with the broken zipper just can't cut it at recess.

6. The sun was shining brilliantly on our front porch yesterday so I took some new pictures of the kids even though none of them looked especially dressed up. When you have four kids you just have to seize the moment and forget about the details.
I used to think William and Bobby had the same eyes but I'm now realizing that Bobby's eyes are CRAZY beautiful blue.  It's like I put little baby contacts in him or something.  Ha! What if they made those?!

7.  It's been a tough morning.  It's taken me until 2:00 p.m. to finish writing this even though I started at 9:00 this morning.  Someone is always crying or whining or making a mess or needing to be fed or pooping their pants.  I can't keep up.  Such is the season of my life.  I think I'll go shower.  Or eat some lunch.  I can't decide.  I probably won't have time for both.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Coffee, Water or Just Beer?

William has a half day today and tomorrow. And no school on Friday. So there's that.

This morning I woke up with one of those headaches where you're not sure if you're dehydrated or just going through caffeine withdrawal. And then I had the internal or water? Coffee would provide the immediate relief I needed but water would be better for me.

In the end I gulped down a cup of coffee with a couple ibuprofen and chugged some water later. It worked.

I feel totally behind the 8 ball today with our weekend trip coming up.

I have mounds of laundry to do. And then someone, I won't name names, had the audacity to wet the bed last night. So now I have sheets to launder and a bed to make as well.

The snow plow just came by and instead of just leaving a wake of snow it knocked down the huge pile of snow boulders we had piled up on the boulevard. (You know you're a Minnesotan when you know what a snow boulder is.) Which means a simple shoveling won't do. I thought about standing out there for five minutes with all the babies and a sad look on my face hoping one of those men with the plow on the front of his truck would drive by and take pity and just take care of it for me. I would totally pay in beer. That really happened one year!

Katherine is in to EVERYTHING right now. Her favorites include but are not limited to: the plastic silverware, all the sippy cup parts, the wash clothes under the sink, the toilet water, the bathroom garbage, the full length mirror in my bedroom, my red high heels, her dresser drawers and all the clothes within, the books in the bookcase and climbing on the couch and giving me a hug but only when I'm holding a hot cup of coffee because I'm having caffeine withdrawals.

Lucy is not napping at all for me anymore. And right now I can hear her banging around in her room. I'm sure she has every bow in her hair and every string of beads strung around her neck. She emerges from her "rest" time every day looking like a bag lady.

At 3:00 I'm going to let William and Lucy out of their rest spots. But what they don't know is that I'm going to usher them to the basement to clean up the bomb that's been residing there for the past five days. They're going to be so mad. Why must toy clean-up equate to pulling teeth without pain medication? The whining. The limp bodies. The cries for help. It's too much! She/He's not helping! I didn't do that! Why can't everyone have the love and appreciation of a clean and organized play space as much as I do?

In the end I'll probably bribe them with some sort of snack. Or threaten to throw all their toys away. And then I'll have guilt. But not really.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm oddly a little stressed about it. My last two birthdays have been total busts. Two years ago I was in the depths of morning sickness having just found out I was pregnant with Katherine. And last year, of course, was dubbed the Worst Birthday Ever having woken up to two puking kids.

So now when my birthday comes around I kind of get this little pit in my stomach. I really want it to be a fun little day with my family but I'm just so nervous I'm going to end up hugely disappointed and feeling hugely disappointed will make me feel guilty about being so selfish about wanting to have a special birthday and around and around we go.

I'm nursing Bobby as I type this with one hand. He just cashed out. I'm really starting to love this little boy. Not that I didn't before, of course. But you know what I mean. It starts out so hard and you're just not sure. And then, like a fine wine, it just gets better as they age. Until they turn two-and-a-half when things get questionable again. Oh I kid!
A neighbor friend of mine (who also has four children) sent me this video the other day and Brian and I had tears we were laughing so hard.  I'm not sure what it means that we could relate to almost every joke he made.  We've definitely entered some sort of club by having these four kids.
I'll think I'll just end this little post on that note!

Friday, March 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes [3.1.13]

1. It has been exactly eight and a half days since anyone has thrown up in our house. Yay, us! And somehow I've been suck here all week. I started to feel the doldrums yesterday afternoon and couldn't really figure out why. Everything had been running smoothly all week at Casa del Nash. And then I remembered that aside from running to the end of the block to pick Lucy up from preschool, I haven't left the house since going to church on Sunday. I've been getting dressed, putting on makeup and doing my hair for no one except the five people in the world who care the least about it. Well, Brian probably appreciates it. And maybe the UPS guy? OK, I know. That was a stretch.

It's a good reminder to me that I need to schedule at least one outing each and every week. Schedule, being the key word here. Because last minute jaunts always seem half-hearted and I'm usually too disgruntle by the time I make the effort for it to even make a difference.

2. I want to write about the pope's resignation but I'm not exactly sure what to say. I think I feel like most catholics. I'm feel a saddness about him stepping down. He is such a good and holy man. Yet I also feel excitement about electing a new pope. Who will it be? What will he be like? I'm not a very good catholic writer but I found this via Andrea and I think it sums it up perfectly.
Non-Catholics can’t possibly understand the connection truly faithful Catholics have to their pope. He’s not magic, he’s not a god, and oddly enough he doesn’t even need to be holy or even particularly inspirational. (Fortunately, this last part is rare in the history of Christ’s Church.) What he is, is this: a promise. He is a promise, made by the Incarnate Lord, of a visible leadership that will last for all time, beginning with the flawed, hot-headed, cowardly fisherman who sat at His right hand, and stretching down through the millennia to us today. -Thomas L. McDonald
3. Moving right along to Bobby boy who is a beast. A beast in size and not 'tude, thankfully. I have never had an above average sized baby. This kid is a tank. Brian finally got his linebacker. The other day I noticed I was having to stretch his 3-month onesies to get them to snap. I didn't know what to do. Could I really put 6-month onesies on a newborn? I dug some of William's old ones out of the cedar closet and lo and behold he filled them out completely. In fact, I need the 9-month size close at hand. I wasn't kidding when I said that pretty soon he and Katherine will be able to share clothes. Now I think he might pass her up.
Kate & Bobby
4. The other day my friend, Carla, was perusing my cell phone pictures with Lucy when she spied this little gem.
Was Brian Batman for Halloween, she wanted to know. Um, no. This was just a few Saturdays ago. She asked why I hadn't blogged about it and I think the fact that it never occurred to me shows just how normal crazy has become around here.

5. More crazy...
This was last Sunday.  We caught him sitting like this in the tree watching the TV through the porch windows.  He was here for quite a while.  At least he was outside???

6.  Next weekend Brian and I are taking a mini trip to Chicago for our nephew's baptism.  We're spreading the kids (minus Bobby) out amongst relatives so I just need to take a moment say how wonderful it is to leave town for a couple nights and know that our kids are in the care of someone who loves them as much as we do.

Every once in a while Brian and I play around with the idea of moving out of state.  There are often far bigger and better professional opportunities for Brian elsewhere.  But we always come back to family as the reason we could never leave.  How we would manage to raise these four kids without the help of grandparents, aunts and uncles is beyond me.  If you're one of those people and you're reading this, know that we are grateful.  And we love you dearly.

7.  Finally, tonight is the first of two lenten fish frys at our church.  This is always a big hit for our school and neighborhood.  With beer and a band, a sacrifice it is not.  But it's such a great community builder I can't help but think God is smiling down in spite of it all.
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