Something strange happened after nine efficient years of marriage. We invited an old man to come share our marriage bed with us.
Ok, not really. But she certainly looks like an old man. As did the previous three.
On November 8, 2015 at 2:12pm, Danae sneezed, and our fourth child and second daughter was born at 7lb 14.3oz and 21 inches. It was just that easy. (So long as you never ask anybody who was actually present. Or within earshot of Danae. Which would have been about a quarter mile at that volume. She would have made a lousy Scientologist.)
Our life is pretty hectic, so I’ve started planning right away. Failing to plan is planning to fail is what a picture of an eagle soaring hung in an office once taught me. It was inspirational.
So freshest daughter of mine, here is what’s planned for the next stretch…
January 10, we will fly to Dallas, Texas. Hmm… Better buy some tickets. Oh, and a hotel. And probably a rental car too.
January 12, your Mommy will take her oral boards to become a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist. I’ll watch you while she does that. Hmm… I’m still not lactating. We better buy some bottles and a pump.
January 18 or 19, we need to fly back to Tchad and introduce you to your home. Oh, I still haven’t bought those airline tickets. We need six of them now! Ouch.
May 8, you can start eating solid foods! I guess I’ll need to buy you some Gerber’s to take back with us. How much can a six-month-old eat of that stuff?
Um… This is getting less fun…
August 2022, it will be your first day of school! Mommy and Daddy will wake up early and make you a breakfast of pancakes with natural peanut butter and blueberry syrup. Then we will pack your lunch and laugh at how ridiculously large your backpack looks. Mommy will insist you wear the special first-day-of-school outfit she couldn’t resist buying for $40, but you will throw a massive tantrum, so we will just let you go to school with the mismatched socks and orange sweater with red pants like you wanted to wear in the first place, and have worn for the last 16 days straight without washing them.
August 2030, you will be almost fifteen. You and your sister will be in academy. Your two brothers will be in college. I want the best education for you guys, no matter what. I promise I will pay for the best college you can get a free ride to. I’m going to buy you the SAT study guide now and reserve you a spot in the SAT summer camp. Maybe I should register you for a Montessori school now. Never too soon. If you guys can’t get scholarships, and there are four of you… that’s… that times that… carry the two… add those together… but minus that… divided by pi… That’s a lot of money. Mommy better pass her oral boards so she can get a real job.
March 2034, we will go to your Senior Prom. You will ask me to go as your date. Not necessarily by choice, but because you felt sorry for me after I spent $600 taking dance lessons specifically for this event… And after I told your principal I would castrate any boy who asked you out. It will be special for both of us. I will get you a really cool corsage. I haven’t decided yet if it will be the kind I pin on your dress or the kind you wear around your wrist. It’s still early. We don’t need to choose yet. We can make a final decision next month.
November 8, 2045 is another important date. It’s the day you’ll turn 30. And you remember what day we celebrate then, don’t you? That’s right! It’s the day you’ll be allowed to go on your first date!
July 12, 2048. Daddy will turn 69. Mommy is MUCH older than Daddy, which we will remind her of every day, so she will already be 69. This is the day we will move in with you!!!! Hooray! And we will go senile. Just so you’re aware, I’m actually keeping count of every diaper you poop. Payback is a bummer.
Precious baby girl, we’re really excited and happy to have you in our lives. A little less excited you’re pooping and vomiting and grunting and squeaking in the bed… But you’re worth it. Despite the face and sounds of a disgruntled old man trying to poop for the first time in a month, you’re quite easily one of the two cutest things in bed every morning.
Introducing to the world, Polly Smackface Netteburg (pronounced PAH-lee SMAHK-fah-chay).
(above picture by Becky Jarnes)
We mostly didn’t talk to the other three kids much about this baby during the pregnancy. Around six months pregnant, I asked the boys what they wanted to name the baby. Lyol was quite set on Love Bere Fruit Gummy Netteburg and Zane was quite consistent with Polly Smackface Netteburg. Addison was consistent in not wanting a baby. We heard it was always good to get the children involved in the pregnancy to better accept the new baby, and that the naming process was important for them. So although it might not be conventional, we decided Polly Smackface really has a ring to it.
Just kidding, her name is Juniper Belle Netteburg.
PS. Danae has now been pregnant over ⅓ of our marriage, so we’ve decided to wait three years before we have number five.