About a year ago, I blogged about the NICU reunion. And that is the thing about blogs--holidays, anniversaries, events: they all show up again. And sometimes you are in a different space--mentally or emotionally--and sometimes you are not.
It had been a full year since the kids were last at the hospital and it was interesting to see that their memory of the place was not the apnea clinic or their neonatologist, but instead, the last NICU reunion. When we pulled into the hospital, my daughter announced, "this is the garage where you park before you go up to the place with the bouncey castle!" I too was thinking in terms of the last reunion rather than our actual time in the NICU. It is strange how that shift takes place, as if the last event at the hospital bumps even the most important threads down the forum list inside our brains.
We only found one of our nurses at the actual carnival, so we brought the kids upstairs to the NICU to see our favourite nurse, N. My daughter always retells stories that we have told her as if she actually remembers the events--even the ones that she was not around to witness ("let me tell you about your wedding, Mommy!") or too young to recall. When she saw N, she told her shyly, "I was so proud when I took out my ng tube" and N told her, "you didn't want a tube down your nose; you wanted a bottle." It was a conversation that I could have never imagined happening when we were actually in the NICU under N's care.
As we were leaving, I showed my daughter the bathroom I locked myself in twice during their stay--once on the night that I had to leave the hospital for the first time and once prior to my son's bris. I opened the door to peer into the single-stall bathroom and my daughter said, "it's empty. Why are you looking in the bathroom?"
I pointed at the floor near the wall and I said, "I sat there on the floor the night I had to leave you in the hospital. I really liked N and I knew she would take good care of you, but I'm your mommy and I didn't want to go."
The whole car ride home, my daughter chirped, "you stayed in the bathroom, Mommy. You were crying. You didn't want to go. You didn't want to leave me." Until we got to a red light and Josh looked at me carefully for a moment. "Do you think your hesitancy to leave them is tied to that night? Before they were born, you always said that you wanted to be like our friend, P, trusting everyone and allowing the hypothetical village to raise her children. And since that night when you had to leave them, you've been uncomfortable leaving them with anyone other than family."
It's possible. It really doesn't matter which threads gets pushed down and off the page on the forum. The important questions and comments still come back to shape your experience.
I leave you with a photo of the newest member of our family, Rog (which rhymes with "log" and not the "raj" sound that shortens the longer name "Roger"). He was given to us at the NICU reunion and he sneaked his way into our hearts immediately. My daughter has already made up a song about Rog and his diapers (potty training on the mind) while we drove home and he is firmly tucked under my son's arm tonight.
But what is Rog? It is a question we have been pondering for the last seven hours. Is he a rabbit? A dog? My mother admonished us when we brought him over to her house for dinner and showed her the latest addition to the family, a cross-bred rabbit-dog. "Rog is clearly a rabbit!" she said indignantly, as if we were parents who had just stated our kids are this side of ugly. "Look at the place where whiskers would be if he had whiskers!" And yet, we all marveled at the elements of pug that mark his face as well. He is as if a pug mated with a rex rabbit.
Which is why I turn it over to you and your brilliant minds. What is Rog? Besides pure love in non-washable plush form?
This is the last post where I refer to them as my daughter and son. It sounds too bulky and it sounds too 1950's-housewife-at-the-PTA ("my daughter tells me that your son wants to take her to the sock hop!"). Therefore, I will use a nickname that marks a certain month in their life--a month when these nicknames fit them perfectly. Those stories are forthcoming in due time. But for now on, I will call my daughter "ChickieNob" which is short for her longer name of "ChickieNobs Bucket O'Nubbins" and my son will simply be known as "The Wolvog." 10 points if you can name the source.