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″>

1059

This is the one

1058 1058_ () 1058 1058 Saw the GH mag on shelves this morning at my local grocers. 1058″

1058

Clearly, it’s time to start cooking again

1057 1057_ () 1057 1057 This afternoon, I told the boys we’d be having our parish priest over for dinner Monday night.

“What do you think we should serve when Father is here,” I asked.

“How about Zaxby’s,” said Elliott, referring to his favorite chicken-finger restaurant down the road.

“When you have guests,” I told him, “it’s nice to cook some good homemade food. Especially when it’s a priest coming for dinner.”

“Well,” he suggested, “then how about eggs.” 1057″> ?

1057

Baby Love

1056 1056_ () 1056 1056 “Is Henry really here,” Elliott asked this morning, “or am I dreaming?”

“He’s really here,” I said, and we all agreed he is wonderful.

And on that note, I’d like to introduce my very clever and subtle method of covering up those tell-tale eye bags that go along with the joy and beauty of having a newborn. I’ll be using these until my eye cream arrives.

1056″

1056