Next Up: Chinese Water Torture

1062 1062_ () 1062 1062 I’m taking the boys shopping today — shopping for clothes. I’m going to be optimistic, which is code for “I am going to lie to myself and say we will all have a good time.” But deep down, I don’t really think we will.

The truth is clothes shopping with the boys is not that much fun, due in large part to the fact that they hate shopping. Sure they’ll tolerate grocery shopping, because it involves the buying of food, which they like. And if we have to go to Target they’ll hang for a while since they can look at toys and weapons if they behave. But only if that doesn’t involve the looking at and trying on of clothes.

It’s not that they aren’t well behaved on these outings. They mostly are. It’s just hard for me to understand and be around people who don’t enjoy shopping for clothes. And then having to endure the moans and groans and all that negativity — well that basically ruins the experience for me.

Of course, this begs the question: why are you taking them?

I tried yesterday to avoid this situation by buying all their uniforms while they spent time with their Papa. I did this only to find, when I got home, that I’m not quite sure who needs what. I can’t decide between an 8R or a 10Slim and I’m now being forced to just load them up and suffer through the fittings.

You know that scene in Steel Magnolias when Sally Field, at daughter Julia Roberts’ funeral, she just loses it and starts to wail, over and over again: Why? whhhhhyyyy? Whhhhhyyyyy?

Listen for that sound today. That will be me. 1062″>


Science Center!

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Life is so hard when you’re seven

Henry is laying on my lap, staring up at the ceiling in a post-breakfast haze of content.

Charlie, looking at him: Enjoy it while you can, little dude.

Boys, boys everywhere

1059 1059_ () 1059 1059 Weekly column

We recently gave birth to our fifth child, a precious boy named Henry Ephrem. He is named after two of his great-great grandfathers.

Five Balducci boys is indeed a sight to behold. At one point, when the four older brothers came to meet their new sibling, Paul and I looked at each other in disbelief.

“When did we produce all these children,” I marveled. Five boys? Didn’t we just get married last year? (For the record: no, we did not.) As with the birth of any baby, we are amazed at the wonder of new life, blessed by God’s love for us, and also very tired.

One recent morning, I awoke after a long night of feeding the baby to discover the boys gathering their winter coats and hats, along with whatever umbrellas they could find.

“We’re making parachutes,” one told me.

“Where are you jumping from,” I asked, not really wanting the answer but knowing I needed it.

I followed the boy out to the deck, where the others were standing in line to jump. The “parachutes” were plastic grocery bags and umbrellas. The landing pad below was some old bedding from the garage. They were taking turns aiming for the pad, jumping as high as they could to get the best wind for a smooth landing.

None of this surprised me – and that is one of the things that I love about my life with all these boys.

Since Henry’s birth, we have been receiving a lot of love and care from family members and friends. I’ve been so inspired during these acts of kindness – help with the boys, gifts, and caring for us. Cooking for another person or family is an especially beautiful way to take care of them.

And then there are other offerings as well, moments that remind me that the little things (like a bar of Dark Chocolate with Toffee) mean so much.

A friend dropping off dinner one night asked if I had any dishes from other meals that she could return for me. Friends cooking for us have called to see what we wanted to eat. And several people have gone out of their way to make this special for the big boys as well.

One friend, when dropping off dinner recently, had a little bag with a trinket for each of the four big brothers. She chose the gifts beautifully – cars for one boy, Snakes! for another, a magnifying glass (“for burning ants!” said the boy) and some Silly Putty. The boys were so excited.

After a while, Augie, who had gotten the cars, took a liking to the putty. He spent the rest of the evening, up until bedtime, having a grand time turning it into various amazing shapes.

Early the next morning, however, he came into our room very upset.

“Something’s stuck to my head,” he whimpered. There, smothered into his hair just above his front right temple, was a light pink disc. Silly Putty.

I woke up Paul and asked him to deal with it. And deal with it he did – Augie came back a few minutes later shorn to the nub – a silver dollar-sized nearly-bald spot on his head.

“Now we have to shave his whole head,” I cried, thinking of how his little pin head would look for First Day of Kindergarten pictures.

“He’ll be fine,” Paul said calmly.

And he is. When I was more awake a bit later, I discovered the spot is in exactly the right place where it looks totally normal – a slightly bald spot that somehow works perfectly with his hairdo.

Welcome to the world, Henry! The part of the world you got dropped in? I think you’re going to fit in just fine. 1059″>