Christian tells me I’m incapable of keeping a secret. There’s some truth to that, I fear. As I have said before, I, like everyone in my family, am an emotional exhibitionist.
So it must have given Christian some satisfaction last night about 9:30 to be the first one to make the announcement (however obliquely) on Facebook:
“Kate just brought me home a picture of a blob. Not sure what to make of it.”
It took about five minutes for somebody to catch on:
“a blob??????? like a #4 blob????”
I suppose that this statement requires a bit of explanation; it must seem shocking to the uninitiated. My husband is not a baby person (and that’s okay!) He cannot comprehend that babies are cute—not yours, not ours, not anybody’s. “Every baby looks exactly the same,” he said when Alex was tiny. “They’re all blobs.”
Our new-parent friends thought this was so hilarious that over the years, “blob” has become a catch phrase in conversations. It was fun to see that a friend who’s been away for a number of years still “got” it.
Poor Baby #4. It seems so unfair. The delirium of announcing pregnancies 1 and 2 had faded by #3, but we still got lots of enthusiasm from friends and family members. The announcement of #4 warrants only, “Oh, again? Okay. How bout them Cards, anyway?”
My favorite reaction so far was my 95-year-old grandmother, who thinks both my mother and I try to do too much. I called her on Mother’s Day. “Hi, Grandma, it’s Kate.”
“I know who I’m talking to, I just never see you anymore!” she said.
Oh, dear. “I’m so sorry, Grandma, I know I haven’t been to see you in a while…”
“No, no, no, you got too much on your plate as it is! Don’t you worry about me!”
I turned to Christian and shook my head. “I’m gonna get yelled at,” I whispered, and turned back to the phone. “Grandma, I have some news. We’re having another baby.”
A beat of silence. A sigh. “Oh, dear.”
I have approached the fourth child with a certain trepidation. Seeking a fourth pregnancy was an act of will, of faith. There have been many times when I just wanted to be done already: out of diapers (those prefolds are getting so worn now, after three kids!), out of tantrums, out of the preschool years. It made me realize that I am not a toddler mom.
But at the same time, I know the beauty of large families—I grew up around them. I know that focusing long-term is a much better policy than saying no to more kids just because I’m sick and tired of toilet training in the present. (And let me tell you, I am sick and tired of toilet training!)
But despite my ambivalence, I am still excited about this child. And knowing it to be very likely my last pregnancy, I am determined to be present in it. To pay attention, to notice the changes as they arrive, not to skitter through it only half paying attention, and then not remember what it felt like to be so connected to another human being.