At First I Thought Labor Was The Hard Part

School is over. We’re driving to Bible Camp. Still in that age when the shiny newness of being a student has not yet dulled, my two older children are in an animated conversation about the prospect of going to the same elementary school next year. The Princess will be entering kindergarten and her older brother, second grade.

“I’ll watch you on the bus and make sure you go down the right hallway, snail,” Big Brother promises. I wonder if he’ll still be calling his sister “snail” when he goes to visit her at college. The idea of it makes me smirk.

The Princess is growing up rapidly. This week she finally lets me cut her “mermaid” hair. I give her a stylish bob. Big Brother takes one look at her and frowns.

“She’s not looking very much like a snail anymore!” He complains. “Now she looks (gasp) like a Dora Explorer!”

The idea that my middle child resembles a snail can, like most thoughts in the Christie household, inevitably be traced back to the show SpongeBob SquarePants.

“Are you going to school soon, just like The Princess and Big Brother?” I ask my youngest, as we walk back to the car after dropping off his brother and sister.

Aidan-stein shakes his head in happy agreement. He does not realize that I’m luring him into a potty training conversation.

“Well, then, you’ll have to start using the potty.” I continue. “All the kids who go to school use the potty and never wear diapers.”

My youngest scowls.

“Then maybe, no school. Maybe I go back in dere.” His little pudgy finger presses on my stomach.

“Back in dere!” I repeat, laughing. “Dude, I’m sorry. You’re ticket was not round-trip.”

The funny comment causes me to flash back to last weekend. I had the honor of being a birth coach for the first time for a cousin of mine. She said she wanted me present because “you’ve had three and you know.”

At her bedside I can’t help shrugging. “Um, I hope I can help, but if I get annoying, just tell me.”

“Okay, start by telling me how to breathe,” she says.

My eyes widen. “Oh crap. I can’t.”

“What?!” she whimpers, in the grip of a contraction.

“I don’t know the breathing techniques. After the teacher pushed the plastic doll through the rubber pelvis demonstrating birth, I dropped out of Lamaze Class.”

“You dropped out of Lamaze?! You’re supposed to be my coach!” she shouts.

“Well, I’m probably not a good coach then.” I announce. “Anyway, I think Lamaze is a bunch of bull. You just deliver the baby whether you breathe a certain way or not and then it’s over.” I say.

My cousin sighs. “The nurse told me to picture myself on the beach, but I just can’t get there mentally,” she explains.

“Forget that.” I snort. “Just picture yourself pushing out this baby. Then you can both go to the beach.” I tell her.

Despite having me as her labor coach, my cousin has a birth experience that I would deem “athletic.” She delivers with so much poise and control that she makes it look rather easy.

Witnessing, (but not actually feeling), this awesome miracle of life allows my imagination to wander. As I am holding her new baby, swaddled and beautiful, I wonder who coined the term in regard to women being “the weaker sex?” That dude obviously had never witnessed labor and birth.

Later, in my own mommy adventure, we’re back in the car, heading home from camp. The Princess and Big Brother are telling little Aidan-stein what he’ll do at nursery school next year.

That familiar devilish smile spreads from one end of his mouth to the other. This expression is usually cued by some little mischievous idea of his.

“Maybe I learn FIRE tricks!” Aidan-stein exclaims. “Yes. Yes! I’ll go to school.”

God. Help. Me.

At first I thought labor was the hard part.

By Loren Christie for MaMaZina
Visit Loren at

5 Responses to “At First I Thought Labor Was The Hard Part”
  1. joyrose says:

    Love this post…

  2. This is great! Labour is just the prelude!

  3. Loren says:

    Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth!

  4. Too funny! i like the part where he wanted to go back in your tummy. And yep, mommying is hard. 🙂 Thanks for sharing some of its lighter moments.

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