I’m lucky to be alive, if you listen to the family tales. My parents were young and stupid, and sometimes I think they should have read a few books before they decided to have a baby. As the oldest, I knew I was the one they wanted, and if you listen to the jokes my dad used to tell us in our difficult teenage years, I was the only one they BOTH wanted, and I still gave them problems. But as those first traumatic years are quite hilarious, I thought I would share and act as a warning.
Like I said, my parents wanted me. They tried for me. If my dad wanted to get my brothers out of the family room to have the TV, he’d tell them how my mom would start without waking him. Yes, they ran for the hills; while, I stubbornly did not picture it. But for a woman who wanted a baby that bad, she really tried hard to lose it. My parents were young and broke and inherited not only an old oven but an old dresser. My PREGNANT mother decided both pieces of furniture needed to be sparkling new for the baby. She proceeded to use oven cleaner to clean the oven and paint stripper and paint on the dresser. Obviously my mom didn’t read the very large warnings on the back. Good job, Mom. She even tried to go skiing, with the excuse that the doctor first said yes. God must have been looking out for me that day. It snowed, and my dad has still never skied.
My mom was determined to have a girl. When I was born, no one knew what they were having. After much arguing, they settled on my name that my mom found in a romance novel, which is probably why I avoid them. But my mom refused to pick out a boy’s name, even though boys ran two to one in my family or that there had not been an eldest girl child born in living memory. (I’m from a long line of oldest children.) When my dad called his family to know it was time, my grandma demanded a boy’s name, and my dad gave her one. Ebenezer. Sometimes I really think he would have named me that out of some sick sense of humor.
My mom had a hard labor where they sent her home because she didn’t dilate. She never did, and my heart rate dropped dramatically. I was C-sectioned. Not to much cause for an alarm. Of course, I looked so much like my dad that my grandpa asked my mom if she had anything to do with me. My mom admitted she was out when she delivered and I could be my father’s mistress’s. Yes, they tell that story too.
It’s worth mentioning that I am a summer baby, born a few weeks before my parents planned to take a vacation. No, I wasn’t early; they just assumed they could take a small infant on vacation. Since they were forbidden to go any where, they used the vacation money to buy a nice microwave. From that moment on, my poor mom had nightmares that some one was going to break in the house and put me in the microwave. It was perfectly logical fear for her, until she was out of the hormonal crazed mind and back to her usually sane self.
In those days they insisted that mother’s set the breastfeeding schedule, every four hours. (My boys ate every two.) My mom happily stuck to the plan. Except there was a glitch, I slept through the night from the first night home. What luck, what bliss, but their daughter was missing the night feeding, and I became woefully underweight. So much so, that my dad’s father would cry after every time he saw me, wondering if it would be the last time. I nearly succumbed to SIDs twice, yet my parents caught me struggling to breathe and picked me up, so I could get air. I was a fighter.
On my first overnight trip, my parents bonked my head with the hotel door. Neither will confess on who held me and who held the door, though they both accuse the other of not holding the door. The door slammed on my head, and I turned a bright shade of red. As a parent, I would have rushed to the nearest hospital. My parents decided to wait and see. The family always assumes that’s what’s wrong with me.
I had several weird firsts. My first roll was off the coach and into the corner of the coffee table, when my dad went to answer the phone. My first picnic was out to the shooting range as the picture of a little infant with ear phones, sleeping next to a police bag could attest to. I was also hospitalized for the croup, which really isn’t my parents fault, but it should be thrown in here.
My parents played Vatican roulette (the rhythm method) to conceive my little brother. I was only six months. My mom was in denial and had a cold, so she took Nyquil. When she knew she was pregnant, she rode the Matterhorn; while, my dad held me. My parents must have become wiser because there are no stories of my baby brother. Just toddler stories of how I wandered away in Vegas and the state fair or how my little brother had the rotten luck of burning his hand pointing to something under the grill.
Now doesn’t that make you fill better? You either didn’t make that many mistakes, or you did, but if you did, you can rest assure my brothers and I turned out rather intelligent and normal. And, Mom, if you read this, did I miss anything?