Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby Quote and Life with Four Daughters

"Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come and stay with you."

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

I love this quote because it always makes me laugh - though it wasn't necessarily true of my babies - the four daughters.

I have four really wonderful daughters - the youngest is 25 now so I can really say that they are all the real blessing in my life.

The first one, that was Kik, and she was born in that Fifth Avenue hospital that has just fed her "tastes" ever since. She was born on a very snowy day and I remember briefly standing at the window in the labor room looking out at Central Park with the snow falling thinking to myself that this would not go on forever and there would be a baby at the end of all this and there was!!

Heather was our second and she was born on Long Island as a C-Section (as were the rest) weighing in at 11 lbs. 14 ounces and 23 inches long (she was 16 days overdue). Lauren was born in Pennsylvania and was our smallest at 8 lbs. 6 ounces - we treated her like she was a preemie! And then April - she was born in Houston, Texas - exactly 10 lbs. - but because she started crying before they got her all the way out she literally was drowning herself and ended up turning Ralph Lauren navy blue and was in the ICU for 3 days.

When we had our third daughter, Lauren, the Dr. - who was a friend of ours - came out of the operating room and said to my husband that he was sorry it was another girl - the nurses later told me the story of how my husband grabbed him by the front of his scrubs and told him to never say he was sorry it was another girl again. The nurses were so proud of him and so was I!

His favorite song to sing was from the movie "Gigi" - "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"!

When April was in ICU for 3 days we were reinforced in the belief that it didn't matter what sex the baby was - all that really mattered was if she was healthy.

I have been thinking about what some of the important things I tried to instill in my children - I really believe in teaching good manners as early as possible - "please and thank you" - manners are really the cornerstone of being civilized - they are a way of enabling a child to walk into a room and being welcomed - as opposed to having people roll their eyes heavenward and reach for the breakables - children know when they are welcomed and when they are not and I really believe it was up to us to give them this ability to go places and meet people. Alex always said that what saved our daughters lives was that they knew how to behave it public.

Respect was one thing that I always went for - I always said that I wanted respect first and then hopefully love for us would come after that - because I knew that you don't ever really love anyone that you don't respect. They were never allowed to talk to us with their hands on their hips or to slam their bedroom doors or of course talk back or hit us - I was always the mom that my friends would threaten their kids with "sending them to Miss Claire" if they didn't obey them - and you know what? My house was always filled with kids - they all knew what the rules were and they felt safe there because they knew I cared enough about them to expect the best from them and I tried to have plenty of food available too.

The most important thing I can say is that I tried - and stayed close to Jesus - I tried to do the best job I could and tried never to give up - there were many nights when they were out past curfew - times when I got in the car to go looking for them - going up to the schools to meet with teachers - one of them tried to stab another child in the stomach with scissors (though she insisted she held her finger over the point) - times when they were sick - times when they had the wrong friends - and boyfriends - times when I thought our hearts would break - times when all four had the chicken pox -

and yet here we are - four wonderful daughters that bring such joy to my life - and I can look you right in the eye and tell you that they make it worth every moment of every day that we went through.

My favorite "Mom Verse":

He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11


Rock Chef said...

Utterly fantastic - you are what every mother should aspire to! No wonder Kiki is so great. We really hate the modern idea that parents can be "best friends" with their kids. Rubbish!

I love the bit about your husband grabbing the doctor! From the occasional things that Kiki has said about him he sounds like a really great guy.

A wonderful post!

Kiki said...

Momma....such lovely thoughts, I am so glad that even though there were tough times and we gave you a run for your money that through it all you loved us...that love was what got us through.

Rock Chef is right, I'm always glad that you are my mom first and the fact that we ended up as friends too was a lucky by product! I love you and am proud of you and your blog!!!

LPeterson said...

mom, of course I love the post, but I'm partial because it's all about us! You are the best! And I like Rock Chef using the word rubbish too!

Terri said...

Well now I see where Kiki gets her kind, loving, sweet and optomistic nature! I know for a fact what a gem she is, and it's obvious all of your other daughters are as well!

kenady said...

What a fantastic post! I love to read about the stories that make up your life, especially ones about Kiki since she is one of my dearest friends. I knew you were awesome and now I know why! love to you, k

Claire said...

Thanks to you all -

Rock Chef - being friends is a reward that you get when they are grown - and "rubbish" is the word - so many children are really ruined from parents putting them on that level at such an early age -
Alex would never let the girls say "she" they always had to say "Mom" when talking about me - it's those little things that add up to respect -

Kiki and Lauren - I remember when Kik showed me that children's book "I'll Always Love You" up in Vermont at Laura's graduation and I started crying in the store - That's what it is always about -

Terri and Kenady - Always like to "see" you stop by - and I do have stories!!!!

Kuckie said...

Claire - what an absolutely lovely post! You are the mother I aspire to be...and Kiki and the girls are so lucky to have you! So happy you started this blog...it's always a bright spot in the day!

April Joy said...

i'm still the baby of this family....and lauren might have been the smallest but i had to outdo her by being in ICU!!! hee hee hee...i love the post mom...it was great!

Deb said...

Oh, that is so lovely. As the mom of a 20-month-old, I don't have the perspective you do, but I know I will when he's grown. Because I already agree with so much of what you said.

Out of Hand said...

Oh momma...I tell all three kids that I am here for healthy and whole they are responsible for happy. I think that was from you...I'll do doctors and sports and I will absolutly do church and get those kids Jesus but they are to find what makes them happy within in that. Love you.

Rachael Rae Diaries said...

You are an amazing women of God! Wow I am so glad I have the privilege of reading your blog! What a great mother! I am taking lessons! thank you so much for sharing!