We’re home! The baby is doing very well, my health is great, and the kids are thrilled to have a baby in the house again.
It’s been a little crazy though (by “a little” I mean “A LOT”). I’ve spent the past few days pondering whether it’s having six kids under nine or just having two under two that’s making everything feel so overwhelming. I’m thinking it’s the latter. I’d developed a dangerous overconfidence since we had a newborn as recently as summer 2011. “This’ll be no sweat. I have this baby thing down!” I declared to myself repeatedly, wondering why the big neon sign that said HUBRIS ALERT!!!! would suddenly start blinking over my head.
As it turns out, though I have had a baby somewhat recently, it has been four long years since I’ve had two under two — more than enough time for my self-preservation instincts to dull my memories of the special kind of craziness that brings. Combine that with the fact that said almost-two-year-old has been nicknamed “Decibel” by her pediatrician, “The Pistol, ” by her grandmothers, and “The Texas Tornado” by a visiting friend, and let’s just say that the next time a stranger in the grocery store smiles and makes a “you have your hands full” comment, I am probably going to grab her by the collar, get in her face and scream, “WOMAN, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.”
Somewhere in this mess is MY SIGNED BOOK CONTRACT. That’s right: the deal is final, I am thrilled and honored to be working with this publisher, whom I have always admired…and the contract, which is the culmination of five years of toil, is lost in the most cluttered four square feet in the universe, a.k.a. my center island. I’d been planning to sign it with a glass of champagne in one hand, special commemorative pen in the other, smiling for the multiple pictures I was going to force Joe to take of the momentous event, but instead I dashed out a scribble roughly resembling my signature while I was on my way out the door to the NICU; I don’t even remember which night it was last week. I’m going to announce all the details soon, so maybe I can break out some bubbly for that.
Speaking of books:
As I bounce along this rocky road of health recovery and adjusting to having 50 or six or however many kids there are in this house now, I continue to find books to be a huge stress reliever. In particular, I love true stories of people who have gone on wild adventures and lived to tell about it. Maybe it’s because I am the least outdoorsy person in the world, but any time I read of people staying strong while being tested to their physical limits, it always fills me with amazement at the indomitability of the human spirit…and makes me really, really, really glad to be sitting in my house, no matter what kind of craziness happens to be playing out in my own life at the time. For those of you who could use a little escapism right now, here are a few books I recommend for this purpose:
Five gripping true adventures that will make you feel super happy that you’re sitting on your couch
BOOK: Shadow Divers
WILL MAKE YOU SAY: “At least my scuba gear did not just get tangled on exploded electrical wires while I’m deep inside a shipwreck 220 feet under water with one minute of air left!”
SUMMARY: This was my most recent read, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s the story of two deep sea wreck divers who discover a mystery U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, and learn about life and themselves as they devote their lives to discovering the identity of the ship and its crew.
BOOK: Endurance (the one by Alfred Lansing)
WILL MAKE YOU SAY: “At least I’m not using ice shards for toilet paper!”
SUMMARY: This is in the top five books I’ve ever read, and is probably the most inspiring of all the titles on the list. You’ll find yourself staying up way too late reading this incredible story of how Ernest Shackleton and his crew survived an Antarctic shipwreck.
WILL MAKE YOU SAY: “At least I’m not lying on a small inflatable boat in the middle of the Atlantic with the awareness that a shark could come up out of the abyss and devour me at any moment!”
SUMMARY: This is the book that made me realize that my will to live is not very strong. I would have rolled over and died after about the third of the endless setbacks that Steven Callahan faced in his 76 days at sea after his boat sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.
BOOK: In the Heart of the Sea
WILL MAKE YOU SAY: “At least I’m not in the dead center of the Pacific Ocean with an an extremely angry and vengeful 50-ton whale charging my boat!”
SUMMARY: A page-turning look at the early 19th-century whaling industry and the personalities of the ill-fated whaleship, Essex. The story has darker undertones than something like Endurance, but it’s a fascinating examination of themes like being a hunter vs. becoming the hunted, and the tragic extremes people will go to to survive. Will make you loath to mess with whales, too.
BOOK: Skeletons in the Zahara
WILL MAKE YOU SAY: “At least I’m not drinking camel urine!”
SUMMARY: The harrowing story of shipwrecked Americans who were enslaved by nomadic tribes in the Sahara desert. Like In the Heart of the Sea, the experiences of these sailors touch on the darker side of humanity at times, but the book remains a jaw-dropping tale of survival. You’ll never feel so thankful for a glass of water.
* * *
This post would not be complete without noting that the way I got time to write it was to allow the kids to raid the mega-jumbo box of individually packaged Cheetos, Doritos, and other junk chips that I presciently picked up before the baby’s birth. I told them that they each could have two bags: one as an entree, one as a side dish. At one point my 20-month-old accidentally dumped hers on the floor and kept eating (I will say that the floor had been swept recently. I think.) Anyway, as I was polishing up the post, I looked back to see my children eating Doritos with a side of Sun Chips for lunch…off the floor. New lows at the Fulwiler house!
Thanks again for all your prayers and support. I should be back to regular blogging, as long as I keep buying those bags of chips.