I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever met her that Molly didn’t come into this world quietly.
She was a perfect baby in the making. I loved being pregnant. I didn’t gain a lot of weight. I never felt the least bit queasy. And I got an acceptable amount of attention. She was due at the end of February and being that it was Leap Year, I hoped for a Leap Day birth. But, Molly started clawing her way out a week early and I as I got out of bed on Saturday morning, my water broke.
I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon and nothing happened. I stayed overnight and still nothing happened. So, Sunday morning they induced labor with Pitocin. And then something happened.
I had joked my way through Lamaze class, certain that I would be tougher than any woman who had ever given birth in all of history. I already imagined saying to the nurse, “Oh, is this all there is to it?”
Instead I said, “Give me drugs. Now!”
To which she responded, “Oh, honey. You don’t know what pain is yet. It’s going to get a whole lot worse.”
Luckily, it didn’t.
Instead, the doctor called for a c-section.
In my post-birth euphoria, I made dozens of calls, retelling the of-no-interest-to-anyone-besides-my-spouse birth story over and over again. I laughed with my sister who had delivered my niece by c-section the year before.
“Why doesn’t everyone do it this way?” I asked, still completely numb, thanks to a stiff spinal injection.
“Oh, just wait till tomorrow,” she said. “Then get back to me on that.”
I guess there’s just no avoiding it. Giving birth is a painful experience.
I kept meticulous baby book records on Molly. I know where we were when her umbilical cord fell off, what day of the week it was when she got her first haircut and have a map of her mouth with each tooth marked as it emerged from the gum.
And being a writer, I knew jotting down some of the cute things she said as a child would make for interesting reading down the road.
April 12, 1999 (Age 7)
“I get this feeling that when I grow up, I’m going to be really, really rich, or famous. Or something.”
January 1998 (Age 6)
Molly: What’s all this business with the president?
Mom: Well, some people are saying that the President has a girlfriend.
Molly: So, what’s wrong with that?
Mom: He’s married and shouldn’t have a girlfriend.
Molly: Well, why in the world did he tell anyone?
Mom: Actually, he didn’t. She did.
Molly: Well then she’s dumber than he is!
July 24, 1997 (Age 5 1/2)
Today we were driving along and Leo kept squealing for more and more crackers.
“Leo!” I say. “You’ve GOT to be full by now!”
“Maybe he’s just doing it because he likes to see you doing things for him,” says little Miss Molly.
“Do you ever do that, Molly?” I ask.
“Yes. Like today when Max had a hot dog and I said I wanted one so you had to make one for me. And you know I only took one bite.”
November 1996 (Age 4)
We were in the toy aisle at the store and Max was throwing a tantrum wanting every truck in sight. Molly shrugged and said, “Well, Mommy. YOU made him.”
May 1995 (Age 3)
(Molly has had an imaginary boyfriend named Jason for a long time.)
Molly: Jason’s not my boyfriend anymore.
Mom: Oh that’s too bad, what happened?
Molly: He left me for another girl.
Mom: Why did he do that?
Molly: I don’t know. I guess he just realized he never really loved me.
And that was the end of Jason.
October 10, 1994 (Age 2 1/2)
Yesterday we went to Kids R Us. Molly saw the little car outside that you put a quarter in and get a ride. I had told her we were going to McDonald’s afterwards for dinner.
Molly: Mommy, can I have money for the ride.
Mom: No, Molly. I don’t have any money.
Molly: I bet you’ll find some money when we go to McDonald’s.
Then after some reflection:
Mommy, if you don’t have money, do you have a credit card?
April 1997 (Age 5)
Molly: Mommy, do you ever wish you had more time with Daddy?
Molly: Well, I know how you could have had more time with him. You could have stopped after me. Just had one child and then you’d have more time.
If I didn’t have it in writing, I wouldn’t believe it.
But then, again, maybe I would. She hasn’t changed a bit.