Last week we celebrated Jesse's tenth birthday. The Birthday boy was extremely excited; while the parents were slightly dazed and amazed that what, a decade had passed since he was born?
Here is a link to a piece I had published in the Sydney Morning Herald early on in my pregnancy, when the mysteries of having babies and all that it entailed was only just becoming apparent to me:
I still remember waddling (actually, I wasn't that big, really! Careful, don't make me rant about this..) into a bookshop at about the four-month pregnant mark determined to address my woeful lack of knowledge on all things maternal. I had had a certain pregnancy and birth handbook recommended to me and was appalled to discover when I perused the contents page that there were THIRTEEN chapters on pain management.
I know, THIRTEEN!!
That definitely fell in to the category of too much information for me. I'm not one of those people who believes knowledge is power. When it came to having a baby, I just wanted to know that a) my obstetrician knew what he was doing (because I certainly didn't), and b) that my husband would definitely be getting the time off work to drive me to the hospital (because I didn't have my licence then..).
The second book I picked up looked far more user-friendly. It had these great boxes with frequently asked questions and their answers. I was enjoying the format until I came to a particular box with the following question: During labour will I defecate on the delivery table?
Aghhhhh!!!! I gasped so loudly people in my immediate vicinity feared labour was imminent. No, I smiled wanly, it's just a pregnant woman trying to find a book about labour that's not going to cause unnecessary cringing, panic and hysteria. No siree, we'll save that for the actual labour. Can't we? Needless to say, I left the book shop empty handed.
The book I did end up holding on to (when fear, panic and hysteria did occasionally take hold) was Kaz Cooke's Up The Duff - a really fabulous mixture of facts and humour. I'll be forever grateful to the two friends who gave me this book. I heartily recommend it to anyone who's pregnant and needs to know that less is more when faced with the alternative of graphic and humiliating bodily functions and thirteen chapters on pain management...yes, THIRTEEN!!!
Fast-forward ten years, and I now look back at my initial ignorance with happy nostalgia. And what a fun ride it has been since (don't worry, I'm not going to rehash the entire ten years, well not in one post anyway). Jesse was one of those babies who never woke up unhappy (really!), hardly got sick, did everything he was supposed to do (notably, walked backwards at exactly 18 months to the day, in exact keeping with the Milestones poster at the baby clinic which, I had publicly scoffed at the week before); and did something naughty, unintentionally, when he was about four years old.
Don't worry, we had other (babies), and realised then that nature and not nurture had much to do with our supposed success as parents. Now we just give credit where credit's due: Jo Frost, Super Nanny.
Anyway, as someone who had never related to babies prior to having her own, (and who knew next to nothing about what to do with one once they were born - sorry to keep LABOURING that point) Jesse was a true blessing and has continued to be. He is a wonderful big brother (most of the time, relentless teasing being a genetic fault), a great and caring friend and son, and a boy with a genuine faith and love for God.
Happy Birthday Jesse!