the difference between having your first baby and your third baby... that you would NEVER be holding your first baby while she slept six full months after she was born and happen to notice something in her pretty little belly button that upon closer inspection turned out to be quite a significant amount of umbilical cord remnants. You would never sit around trying to remember the last time you gave her pretty little belly button a good washing, only to realize that you just hadn't bothered to do that yet.

There is a good chance this could, however, happen with your third.

hindsight is always 20/20, but lookin' back it's still a bit fuzzy

I got this in the email from my Grandmother. Keep in mind that I haven't seen this woman since I was 9 or 10 and have only had 3 correspondences with Her since then, all through email, and all stupid ass Fwd: Fwd:'s. Don't even bother to read the whole thing. The first two and last few lines will give you a good enough idea of what it says.

This is precious. I don't think our kids know what an apron is The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a holder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. From the chicken-coop the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled it carried out the hulls. In the fall the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes. Send this to those who would know, and love the story about Grandma's aprons. REMEMBER THIS! "Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughter set theirs on the window sill to thaw".

To that I say Sheesh.

Let me tell you why.

My grandmother was a baptist-turned-christian-scientist-turned-black-witch-turned-whatever-the-hell-cookoo-religious-Shirley-Maclaine-is-into-Ramtha-shit. She drove her youngest daughter to her drug dealer's house because hitchhiking was dangerous. When she wasn't busy putting hexes on the grandkids or looking after her brother who kept chickens (many, many chickens) and whose house had no roof, she was trying to get the dog to levitate and channeling George Washington. My strongest memory of her is the day when she screamed at her sister for throwing away a perfectly good, month old, covered in mold loaf of wheat bread, and then tried to make me a sandwich on said trash-picked, penicillin-ridden bread. Needless to say, we were not aloud to visit her. She's bat shit crazy. Nice, to be sure, but looney as the day is long. (Just like all my relatives, but that's beside the point.)

Why in the name of god and all that's holy she thought I would appreciate this email or somehow be moved to whimsical sentimentality by it, I'll never know. Clearly, she has a much sunnier picture of her life as a grandmother than I do.


My husband is probably somewhere over Kansas right now. He will land in Chicago in about an hour and a half and then go dowtown to have the interview that could change our lives.

I'll be over here breathing very deeply.

We need a wheelchair! The baby's coming! And a pen...the taxes are due tomorrow!

Eight years ago, a baby boy was born. He was almost 2 weeks late and had a big ol' hole in his leg from some monitor used during labor. After 40 minutes of good, hard pushing, he came into this world screaming and crying and perfect and at that moment my life was flipped inside out.

My firstborn son, my tiny little angel, is 8. He woke up yesterday morning while his brother and I sang him happy birthday and his sister clawed his face. He smiled a big awkward toothy 8-year-old mouthed grin at us before he even opened his eyes. He had cookies and petit-fours in class today because he doesn't eat cake (too much sugar, he says). He chose for his birthday dinner to be at Morton's, just like he has every year, because he's cool like that. Other kids go to Chuck E Cheese, but not my B. He likes wearing a tie and dress shoes. Because he rocks. A lot.

I cannot tell you how amazing this boy is on every level. His is quiet and timid, but self-confident and head-strong. His is humility personified. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and hold nothing back. He is honest and caring and has more love in his pinky than most people I know will ever feel in their whole lives. His is amazingly smart, and every day he strives to learn. He wants to be a scientist and a teacher when he grows up (and professionally skateboard in his spare time, of course!), and I believe he will be.

He rubbed my feet every week I was pregnant with his sister. When T tried to kill an ant a few years ago, B stopped him and explained that the ant's mother would be sad if it died. He asks his dad how work was every day, and actually listens to the response. He goes to the theater with his grandmother. He and I are taking a knitting class this summer. He plays his flute on the front porch at night so our neighbors can enjoy a little music before bed. He can tell you what good every bit of food on your plate will do your body at dinner time.

See? Is he great or what? I love him so much it literally hurts sometimes. No other event has changed me as much as his birth. Nothing has been more of a challenge, or given me greater reward, than being his mother. He is a blessing beyond all compare. I cannot screw this up. I must be the very best I can be for this little man. He deserves nothing less.

Happy birthday B, my little angel. Thank you. For all of it. Your mom loves you.