We are celebrating Reese's 4th birthday today. That means that the last Leap Year was the year he was born--and he was just one day shy of being a Leap Year baby. My actual due date was February 29th, and I giggled to myself all during my pregnancy whenever I told someone I was due on Leap Day and their response was, "When is that?"
When Cole was nearing his second birthday, Justin and I decided that maybe it was time to have another baby. Cole himself had been such a surprise, born just 9 months and 11 days after our wedding, and it had taken quite a bit of finesse to scramble around and reorganize our life as newlyweds to prepare for a new little life. Now, nearly two years later, we were settling into our routines and thought it was time for Cole to have a sibling.
That first month, I didn't get pregnant, and I remember feeling devestated. Certainly babies were not things that could really be "planned"! The timing was obviously out of our hands, and we wondered if this time, we would be forced to wait.
But no--the second month came along, and we discovered--elatedly--that a baby was on its way. Now, when I think back and remember my disappointment that first month, I feel almost panicked, realizing that if we had conceived right away, we wouldn't have gotten REESE!
Here's some fun Reese-filled trivia for you.
*Reese is the only one of my boys that is a Pisces, like me. If it hadn't have been a Leap Year, my due date would have been March 1st--which is the same due date my mother had when she was expecting me. That's a little weird.
*Reese was my shortest labor and my largest baby--nearly ten pounds--a fun combination that enticed me to try an epidural the third time around.
*Reese has the fairest skin of the boys (white like his mama) and looks the most like the Baer side. Cole told me once (when he was 3 and Reese was a baby) that only he and Daddy could go in the restaurant, because they were dark, and Reese and I needed to stay in the car because we were white. I was speechless!
*Reese began speaking actual words at the astonishing age of 7 1/2 months, but he didn't walk until after his first birthday. I think he figured that there was no where worth going, since Mom was usually where the food was. At just over a year, he could put away an entire Costco hot dog and would ask for more. By eighteen months, his confessed favorite food was "meat". He could eat steak with the best of them! I would take him to playdates and all of the other kids would play so hard that we couldn't get them to eat....and Reese would eat so much that we couldn't get him to play. Ah yes, a boy after his Mama's own heart....
*Before the age of two, Reese had discovered two of his favorite things were drawing and building Legos. Not the big, bulky, toddler Legos--the real deal, folks. He would sit before a pile of pieces and create the most wonderful machines, spaceships, monsters. And the thing is: they would actually LOOK like what they were, and have functional parts. I still can't build anything worth beans out of Legos, unless I have a pattern I'm following. And as for the drawings--he would scribble something on his paper, study it for a few minutes, then suddenly gasp, and yell, "IT'S A.....(fill in the blank)!" He would proceed to fill in the details to finish out the whale, or carrot, or whatever. His creativity unlocked something inside of Cole, who up until that time would never try something unless he knew he could do it perfectly. Cole had always refused to pick up a crayon or marker because he recognized that he didn't know how to draw a car, or a hat, or a dog. So he wouldn't try. Watching Reese create out of nothing, and find such joy in it, finally gave Cole a desire to try without worry of failure. To this day, two of their favorite things to do together are draw and play with Legos.
*As a toddler, Reese also had a habit for creating more-succinct names for things (in my opinion) than their actual names. My two favorites to this day are "Hawkyboarding" for skateboarding (in honor of the revered Tony Hawk), and "Suicycles" for motorcycles.
Reese's birth was unique. He came quickly when no one even knew we were in the hospital. My grandfather had just died a few days prior, and his memorial service was planned for the 28th--the day Reese was born. When I suspected I was in labor, I didn't bother calling our families, because I knew they would be unable to make the trip to the hospital due to their obligations at the service. By the time we arrived at the Childbirth Center, in the wee hours of the morning, we discovered that delivery was imminent. I still remember phoning my parents, waking them with my call, trying to explain to them that Baby was HERE! I finally had to hold the phone up to my crying newborn before they would believe me.
Reese's birthday is sacred to me because I can't celebrate the birth of my son without remembering my grandfather. I think of them both whenever I hear Jack Johnson's song "If I Could", about the baby that was born just as his friend lay dying. The lyrics say, "one goes out, one comes in"....
So Happy Birthday, Reese: We are richer for having you in our lives. And Papa, we are thinking of you too, and someday we will introduce you to this wonderful boy!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY REESE!