Before you get ahead of yourselves, I would like to ensure everyone (my mom reads this) that Brandey is not pregnant again.
As the title implies, hearing someone say those two words “I’m pregnant,” can often lead to confusion and astonishment (hence the question mark followed by the exclamation point).
When Brandey told me she was pregnant the first time, I was so freaking excited. She, however, was not. In fact, she called me to inform me that she hated me, and she couldn’t believe I would do this to her, etc. Granted, it was four years ago, and she was only 20 years-old at the time. She was in school, had a new job, we were staying in a two-bedroom apartment (in which both rooms were occupied), and in her eyes, having a kid was going to mess all of that up.
We told Ash and Tara pretty soon after we found out. Then we lost the baby. Well, I’m not a medical doctor, but if you want to google the medical term for what happened, it’s called a blighted ovum. Brandey had to have a D & C (short abbreviation—once again, google it if you want to know about it, because I really don’t want to dwell on it anymore than I have to). It was one of the most trying things a couple can go through. In fact, the only thing harder to go through is probably losing a child after you’ve seen their face, held their hand, changed their diapers, and taught them everything you know. Losing a child before you are gone yourself is something that happened to a close friend of mine recently, and I cannot imagine the pain their family went through. However, knowing a baby is inside of you (or your partner), and then knowing he/she is no longer there is still pretty tough.
I remember vaguely telling Ash and Tara that they weren’t going to be new big sisters, and it was emotionally draining on both Brandey and I. In fact, Brandey and I hit a very rough patch in our relationship, and I wasn’t sure if we were going to fix it or not. Hopefully by now you’ve realized which path we chose to take.
She got pregnant about six months later. We had learned from our first pregnancy together to take it slow with telling people. I’m not sure who lasted longer in telling our parents, but we both agreed to wait at least 12 weeks before telling the girls. By then, there is an extremely high percentage that the baby will survive to full-term, and we were super excited to tell them. As expected, they were extremely happy along with us. Looking back at over the last two and a half years, I cannot imagine what it would be like if it was not for Ella. She brings a smile to my face every single day. She was by far the easiest baby I had ever had the privilege of being around, and she seems to be very advanced in almost every milestone so far (except maybe potty-training).
When Ella came into my life, she joined two older sisters (Ashleigh and Taralynn). I wouldn’t say one was easier to raise than the other simply because I had help with Ashleigh—I was still married to my ex-wife. Their mom and I split up two months after Tara was born, and if it wasn’t for my mom and dad, I don’t know what I would have done.
I am constantly amazed at just how far apart all the kid’s personalities are. Ashleigh is by far the one I relate to the most (probably because I’ve known her the longest). She seems to mimic my personality a lot. She’s compassionate when she needs to be, and sometimes combative when she wants to be. She usually realizes when she makes a mistake, and is starting to be more apologetic. She told me recently that she blames me for three things she dislikes about herself: her red hair, her freckles, and her hair on her legs (which, by the way, “mom” said she can’t shave off until she’s twelve!) Oh, the horror!
Taralynn has by far confused me the most. I try every angle I can to get a good read on who she is, who she’s growing into, and I fail 50% of the time. She seems to spend half of her time glaring at me, and thinking of excuses on why she is mad at me, and the other half clinging to me, in my face talking about anything and everything. I love her 100% of the time, and it’s really hard for me to believe that she understands that. She cracks jokes like me, her freckles are in the same exact spot on her upper cheeks as Ash’s, and she will stand her ground against any and everyone. On the other hand, she loves to draw, she really does like school, and already is having crushes. When we have a good day together, it seriously makes my insides glow inside.
Bringing Ella into the melting pot of two sets of parents, with two older sisters (who happen to NOT be biracial), was a whole other story. I feel like I had so much help with Ella, I didn’t know what to do. Brandey is an amazing mommy! Ash and Tara are amazing big sisters! My parents, as usual, are amazing with helping out. I see Ella every day of the week. Her big sisters are over here three days out of the week. As to be expected, there was (is) a little jealousy by the older siblings. Vice versa, she now hates when they go back to their mom’s house. Ella’s face lights up every time I open her bedroom door. She tells me “good morning daddy!” and scoots out of her bed to give me a hug. Every morning, that’s what she does. It’s an amazing feeling. Brandey, Ash, Tara, my parents and I have all contributed to her intelligence, but let me tell you—this kid is smarter than most 2 1/2 year-olds. I’m not trying to brag, just stating facts. At the same time, she’s two. She knows how to throw a tantrum, she knows how to push, hit, bite, make messes, yell, take her diaper off, and climb on everything. Her hair is awesome! I hope she loves it as much as I do. It’s unique, it’s different, it’s fun, and hard as hell for a daddy to do.
When Ella was here, everything was cool. Life was going beautifully, everyone seemed to be happy, and especially Brandey and I seemed to be doing exceptionally well. Our love life never skipped a beat, and because of that…Here came those words: “I’m pregnant.”
“You’re pregnant?! Again?!”
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a dad. I love having kids. I love having daughters. But c’mon, we just had a kid! Besides, what if this one was going to be a boy? I wouldn’t know what to do. True, I myself, used to be a young boy—but that was decades ago! Then again, I could buy those all those cool boy clothes, sit with him at the bar and sit and watch sports, teach him how to talk to the ladies, etc.
As usual, though…I was so happy inside I wanted to burst. Audrey showed up just fourteen months after Ella. That’s not that far apart. She was difficult right from the start. When I cut her umbilical cord (like I did all the other’s), it squirted blood all over me, my clothes, and my shoes. She had a muconeum plug (I think I spelled that right), and had to spend a couple of days in the N.I.C.U. None of my other kids had to do that, and it was extremely tough. I felt that maybe my luck had run out, and something was going to be wrong. I couldn’t have been further from the truth though.
Audrey is the funniest baby I know. She sees all these people running around her all the time, and she just tries to blend in with them. She is extremely bow-legged, so seeing her run after her sisters almost always makes me smile. She loves to bring me books and crawl on my lap. She loves informing me where my nose is at. She adores the word “Elmo.” Her favorite television show is called “Bubble Guppies.” If you don’t know what that is, you are not alone. I had no idea what it was either, until she started singing the theme song to it. She has a couple of nicknames (Rocky and Monster). After having taught her almost every animal sound we could think of, she chose to remember how to growl like a monster the most. She annoys the living daylights out of Ella with it, but at the same time she grabs her hand and pulls her down the hallway with her to their room so they can play together. They love playing blocks together, and Audrey is quick to take Ella’s away.
It is definitely a challenge trying to teach two kids under the age of 3 to share toys, all the while, trying to keep an 11 and 8 year-old girls hormones in check. Having babies is only part of the battle. Listening to a baby cry at night is nowhere near as painful to hear as two older kids having a discussion in the other room about why they hate each other so much. My oldest are still “tweens,” so I know I’m going to be for one heck of a ride.
When I was younger, I always thought tattoos looked cool, but that they’d probably look dumb on me. Besides, I would never have anything put on me, because it’s on there forever. However, these four children of mine have been a light in my tunnel. They are nothing short of everything to me, and I am extremely proud to be their “daddy.” I realize that one day they will probably change it to “dad,” but I’ll enjoy either one the same. I love them more than life itself, which is why these were a no-brainer.
I love you kids! Hopefully, I won’t be hearing “I’m pregnant again” anytime soon. I’m running out of space on my arms!