From the column, a couple weeks ago.
Thirteen years and eight children ago, as we were preparing to adopt for the second time, Brian stood out in the yard and told a Sacramento news reporter that our goal was to have 12 children. It was the first I’d heard of it.
Last week, I delivered on Brian’s promise. I have now given birth to “the last one” five times.
Babies — unlike columnists — cannot be held to a strict deadline. They come pre-programmed with a timetable of their own, which makes no allowances for the routines of the mother or the household into which they are born.
Our son arrived nine days early. I’m not complaining; I just wasn’t ready, having gone to my due dates with all the others. I had to cancel a hair appointment when I went into labor, and that was rough. Reason won out and I decided to head to the hospital instead of having my hairdresser deliver my son. I think my stylist appreciates that.
This is the seventh time a baby has come along to disrupt our daily homeschool schedule. The first baby who came along is now the oldest child still at home. Since we started our family by adopting older children, I have always had the luxury of an older child around to help out when the babies came along, and the babies have always interrupted our routines in their own special ways.
They arrive helpless, their little minds waiting to be filled up. In a sense, homeschooling begins at birth. Sure, they aren’t quite ready for algebra, but they are learning. Soon this child will realize that a cry brings help. It won’t always be the help he is looking for, and I am certain he will regularly castigate me for my incompetence in guessing his needs. Slowly, though, he will learn about the security and predictability of family life as all of us learn to understand what each action or cry means to him.
As he grows, he will learn compassion and responsibility right along with how to push his siblings’ buttons and when to turn on the charm to get his own way.
With each child, we have put a considerable amount of consideration into selecting a name. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been entertaining. Jeremiah has made the short list several times, but we couldn’t shake the bullfrog connection. We decided that it isn’t practical for one of us to break into song every time we hear his name. Funny rhymes, silly nicknames and awkward initials have ruled out other contenders.
The children have made many suggestions to supplement our search. Sicily, now 3, offered “Hello Kitty Heart” as her favorite, but we decided that might be little unwieldy for a little boy. One evening, Brian and I regaled the kids with stories of people we’ve known over the years that, while interesting and memorable, took their names out of contention.
I went into the delivery room with a short list of eight names. At the top of the list we had the name I liked and the name Brian liked. The other six were compromises waiting to happen. Plus, we wanted to get a good look at him before we decided.
Since this child, like the 11 who have preceded him, is a rare gift, we sought a name that reflected that. You may know that when expressing a date, A.D. stands for “anno domini” or “in the year of our Lord.” Dominic is from that Latin root word and means “of the Lord.” Our precious gift, delivered right on time.
The last one is here. Again.