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Quinn turned five on Tuesday and I didn’t write a word.  The night he turned three, I wrote one of my favorite essays that I have ever written.  I published it at Mamalode today rather than face this new reality. This fiveness.

Five.  Quinn is five.  He wanted a vanilla Spiderman cake, but I didn’t know the vanilla part – or possibly I ignored it – I don’t believe in cakes that aren’t chocolate.  WOC, I say, waste of calories.  He cried when I produced my usual delicious Costco chocolate cake the size of a five year old boy.  If you haven’t had a Costco chocolate cake, well, here’s the deal, you’re wasting your time making your own cakes.  Costco’s cakes are better.  Eventually, I lured him into helping me decorate the cake with the Spiderman and Dr. Octopus figurines I purchased and a lot of plastic lizards made in China, which undoubtedly leaked toxic chemicals all over my pristine Costco chocolate cake. (Never fear, I ate it anyway.)

After much discussion and a few tears, I think Quinn came to understand this great life truth:  Vanilla cakes are yucky and I won’t buy them.  There should be a picture of my beautiful Quinn with his awesome chocolate cake here, but I forgot my camera and we didn’t take any pictures at his party.

MY GOD.  What kind of shoddy operation is this? And I have the nerve to call this a mommy blog?

I do have a picture of Saige’s new hair.  She really, really, really wanted purple in it.  I really, really, really don’t have as strong an opinion about hair as I have about cake.  If Quinn wants purple hair, I swear as you are my witness, he can have purple hair. Vanilla cake? NEVER.

I know, I know, you would never deny your precious cupcake the cake of his wildest desirings for your own selfish cake happiness, nor ignore birthday requests for vanilla cakes because, you want what now?  I’m sorry, I don’t understand.

I know. I’m mean. He got a cake and presents and a swimming party, leave me alone.  Actually, as long as we’re all judging my parenting, how do we feel about this?  I had an OB appointment this week and the kids wanted to know why and so, because I usually answer direct questions with direct answers, I told them it was to check on the new baby in my tummy and see if it was okay.  Post long discussion about whether we will have a brother or a sister, Saige, who is beside herself with excitement about a live baby doll in the house, asked when the new toy – or rather baby sister – would arrive?  To which, I replied, “sometimes babies grow and sometimes they don’t, so we’ll see how this one grows and then we’ll know.”

Quinn took that literally.  He asked me yesterday if I remembered to water the baby “so it grows.”  Garrett, it is possible, is routing harder for his tomato plants.  Nate cries every time Saige says it’s a girl – named Abigail – because then, he wails, he is still the littlest boy.

What say you?  Hit me.  (KINDLY.)  TMI for kids?  Too blunt?  Just right?  The reactions are mixed IRL.  How did you talk to older kids about the possibility of loss?  Or did you wait to tell until later in the pregnancy to avoid the issue?

54 Responses to Fiveness
  1. Amelia
    August 4, 2012 | 7:00 am

    Phenomenal, perfect, and I’m saying just that should I get pregnant and G discovers something is up before I bring a baby home.
    I love her hair, the name Abigail and maybe you should get genetic tests for Quinn? What is this vanilla nonsense?

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:30 pm

      Genetic testing made me laugh out loud. He must be some kind of throwback. Or he gets that from his father’s side.

  2. Amelia
    August 4, 2012 | 7:05 am

    Also, as horrible as it sounds, waiting until later does not guarentee a baby will come home.

  3. Gayle
    August 4, 2012 | 7:33 am

    I didn’t talk about the possibility of loss because in my mind that possibility did not exist (even though I lost my first child…with five to follow). I’m a denial kind of person. Beside I don’t believe a small child is going to react to or feel that loss as the mother would. If it happens they’ll quickly move on…it’s not tangible like it is to the mother.

    I am as you a bad mom, but your mirror image. There is no such thing as a chocolate birthday cake. They are vanilla. I do not like chocolate so why would I buy it? Or bake it? Vanilla it is!! :) (Although…I think after 19 years I may have broke down and let someone have one or a half-n-half, but I’m too old to remember!! LOL).

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:46 pm

      Oh my. I think we can still be friends, but we’re going to have to order different desserts when we go out to dinner ;-)

  4. Nadine
    August 4, 2012 | 9:05 am

    You always try to keep it real with your kids, I admire that. This is real and it is no exception. There is no right or wrong, because either way whatever happens will require explanation. Live in the happiness of the moment, and try hard not to worry. Luckily, blessings 1 through 4 will help the time speed by.

  5. Jeanne
    August 4, 2012 | 11:45 am

    I’ve been away way too long–didn’t even know you were expecting. Hopes and prayers that all will be fine.

    LOVE Sage’s hair.

    The BEST birthday cake is vanilla with deep, dark-as-vampire-love chocolate frosting.

    If you get a minute, please come visit my thoughts on Chick-Fil-A appreciation day. It’s been a tough week for moms of gays and I feel the need for validation.

    • Della Williams
      August 4, 2012 | 1:06 pm

      Dear Jeanne:

      I validate you as a daughter, possible sister, grand-daughter, niece, friend, mother, aunt, maybe even grand-mother. I validate you as a person. Nothing or no one should make you feel less than what God created you to be. I won’t speak on Chick-Fil-A position because of religious and political views, but I can write without question you and your loved one are special to the Trinity. Have a great day!

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:53 pm

      Showering you in validation. It’s a tough battle that you are fighting against bigotry and religious hatred, but there are so many of us with you. Reason has to prevail eventually and the first step is for reasonable people to speak out.

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:53 pm

      Also, “dark-as-vampire-love” chocolate is my new favorite adjective.

    • Alyssa
      August 4, 2012 | 8:43 pm

      We will have to agree to disagree on cakes, but I will be heading over to read you Chik-fil-a post and support it. :)

  6. Kira
    August 4, 2012 | 11:59 am

    I think you handled it perfectly. We have experienced the heartbreak of discussing loss with our children. The 3 year old didn’t really understand, but I wish – for the sake of my 6 year old- I had thought to make a simple comment like yours from the beginning. When we had to tell him that the new baby was not going to be, he broke down & sobbed that it was his fault, because he had tackle/hugged me too hard that week. I’m not sure who my heart was breaking for more at that point.
    So, yes. Be real. Be honest. You are so good about that with your children (except where chocolate cake is involved).

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:54 pm

      Oh, sweet baby, it’s amazing what they can come up with when left to their own thoughts. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost a baby.

  7. Della Williams
    August 4, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    Happy birthday to Quinn. And once again you found someone to do an excellent job on your daughter’s hair! Loving the purple! Have a great family fun filled weekend.

  8. K
    August 4, 2012 | 1:40 pm

    Handled beautifully … you’ve shared your excitement along with an age appropriate touch of reality that protects your unconvinced self of this blessing.
    As for the cake, hate to comment on this in case I’m forever banished from commenting, but, I don’t like cake … vanilla, chocolate, marble, cherry, they are all the same! To borrow from you? WOC! But, give me a homemade, warm, chocolate chip cookie with a glass of cold, cold 2% milk … I’m in!

    Happy birthday to Quinn! Was the arm tat in exchange for settling for chocolate cake?

    Saige’s hair looks amazing!

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:55 pm

      That is a glitter dragon tattoo and it did make up for a lot ;-) I can live with a cookie preference, now if you didn’t like chocolate at all, I might banish.

  9. Louise
    August 4, 2012 | 1:42 pm

    When I was early in my pregnancy with #4 I took a bad spill at the community pool, which resulted in an unexpected trip to the ER and an U/S with all three kids in tow. I had no one to leave them with, and besides no one else knew I was pregnant. So yeah, we had the talk right there and then with nothing but a flimsy curtain around us. Thank goodness, the babe was okay. But in the end, it was nice having them “in the know” from the very beginning. They’ve been bonded with their sister from the very start – it’s lovely the protectiveness they feel for her. Congratulations to you!! I am thrilled to watch/read your newest adventure unfold. Happy birthday to your boy!

  10. Mel
    August 4, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    First and foremost, send Quinn my way. I think The Nugget is starting to root for chocolate cake and in my reality nothing exists other than vanilla!

    Second, did you do those braids? Cause wow. AND ouch.

    Third, I think you handled the baby discussion beautifully.

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:56 pm

      No, I WISH I could do braids like that. We have found a lovely lady originally from Jamaica and she does it. We all love her.

  11. Sandi
    August 4, 2012 | 2:57 pm

    I think you did a good job telling your kids about the baby and what could happen.

    I have to say that I bet the “vanilla cake story” will be one that the kids remember and tell over and over again when they are older. They will laugh and you will say, well, I didn’t want Vanilla!

  12. Linda Wells
    August 4, 2012 | 3:24 pm

    I think your baby growing comment is great. Mine were so close together that I don’t remember ever addressing it with them. Plus, that was a looong time ago!

    Cakes, now- that I remember. I had one unnatural child who didn’t like any kind of chocolate baked goods-can you imagine? So, when her brothers chose chocolate for their cakes, she sadly had nothing to eat except the ice cream. (Now that she is all grown up, her tastes have matured and she will eat chocolate in just about any form- but now eats no meat)

    • Anymommy
      August 4, 2012 | 3:58 pm

      Whew! Thank god she grew out of that. My first four were like that, so close together that we never even really talked to them about it, just brought home a new baby and that was that.

  13. Kirsten
    August 4, 2012 | 4:18 pm

    My daughter was almost 2.5 when I got pregnant with my son. I said the same as you. There was about a week after my OB thought he saw an empty sac where we were hedging our bets all over the place. “Mmmhmm, maybe there will be a baby. We just have to wait and see.” And happily, for us, there was. What also helped later on was reiterating how long this was going to take. “He’ll stay inside me until after you turn 3, but you can tall to him anytime you want.” Sounds like a family with only one kid and a lot of time on their hands, right? :) She named him Puzzle Fireplace after we nixed her other in utero nickname suggestion: Bush. Just…no…on so many levels.

    • Kirsten
      August 4, 2012 | 4:20 pm

      *talk, that is

  14. K-Line
    August 4, 2012 | 5:03 pm

    You know, why shouldn’t you be able to share your joy in your own way with your kids? If something were to happen (and I’m confident your new baby is healthy and happy), wouldn’t you be willing to share your sadness with them too? They’re your family and they love you.

  15. Korinthia Klein
    August 4, 2012 | 5:21 pm

    I think every situation is different and you have to play a lot of things by ear. If you felt it was right to share that information with your kids, then it was probably right.

    My first two pregnancies went by without a hitch, so it never occurred to me with the third that anything would go differently. When I miscarried I cried uncontrollably and had to tell my oldest (who was three) that the baby was gone. She brought me a doll from her room and placed it in my lap saying, “Here mommy, this baby won’t die.” When I was doing better she finally let herself mourn. The next pregnancy also ended in miscarriage, and was that was just as awful. I told my daughter I wasn’t sure if we should try again, and she was against it because it was too sad when the babies died. But we did try again and I’m grateful every time I look at my son (my own little Quinn!) that I did. I’m also glad that my daughter, young as she was, became a part of that whole process. For another child that might have been too much, or the wrong thing, but my daughter wanted to be able to comfort me, and she seemed to appreciate being included in the truth.

    As for cake, I love it all.

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  17. Erin
    August 4, 2012 | 6:59 pm

    I know I should be commenting on cake and babies, but SAIGE. Your hair rocks, girlfriend.

  18. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    August 4, 2012 | 8:42 pm

    How did I not know this news ?
    I feel awful that I missed this and that I was not right up there with the first people hugging and kissing you…
    I understand the reluctance to make it real, in case it suddenly is not real, but I also understand the need to share the glorious news and everybody hold their breath together til things are totally secure and for sure.
    Consider yourself hugged, kissed and patted ..
    much love.
    Please tell Saige that a lady in South America really reeeally wishes her hair were like that so she could have purple ribbons too.

  19. Alyssa
    August 4, 2012 | 8:52 pm

    A belated congratulations to you on your wonderful and hopeful news. I am behind simply because my husband and I also received news about a pregnancy we had been told a few years back just wasn’t going to be. Much like you I was starting to wonder if I had some sort of terrible illness as I grew ever more exhausted and pale while planning my eldest’s graduation party. It just turns out that early pregnancy can really take it out of you when you are 37 in a way that it just doesn’t when you are 28. I think you did a beautiful job explaining to your kids. As usual your printed words have captured the feelings in my own heart. I will be reading and traveling a parallel path these next months and looking hopefully towards a positive outcome for both of our families. :)

  20. suburbancorrespondent
    August 4, 2012 | 9:19 pm

    We always try to keep it a secret for at least a trimester, but then the kids cry because “Mommy ate all our PopTarts, Daddy, and didn’t give us any” and I can’t explain why.

  21. steph
    August 5, 2012 | 3:06 am

    As their mama, you know how much to tell them. When I was pregnant with our second child, I had planned on waiting to tell 5 yr old big sister until after 12 weeks. But we were so excited we told her anyway. She had been begging for a baby sister for years. Her reaction: “I’m never gonna get any peace around here!” (delivered with an eye roll). Congratulations and I know Saige will be the bestest big sis!

  22. Varda (SquashedMom)
    August 5, 2012 | 8:19 am

    First off… How did I not know that you were pregnant… congratulations, I hope (awaiting further news).

    I think you handled talking about it with the kids brilliantly: honesty but simplicity and not TMI – perfect.

    Also, my son Ethan completely agrees with you about cake, gets disgusted at birthday parties when they serve him vanilla cake – he feels that anything other than chocolate cake – just… why?

    Also? I missed you so much at BlogHer this year! xoxoxo

  23. the mama bird diaries
    August 5, 2012 | 6:37 pm

    I had no idea you were pregnant. I will be praying that it grows. Missed you at Blogher!

  24. Alexicographer
    August 6, 2012 | 3:30 am

    I’m with you on the cake, and have no words of wisdom on the more serious issues (not that there are any more serious issues than cake) that haven’t already been shared above.

    I am a little disappointed in you, though: my oldest is the same age as your Quinn (a tad older, actually), and I’m pretty sure he does not know that vanilla cake exists (he did once at the age of perhaps 3 burst into tears when we were offered ice cream at a friends house, to great excitement, and then it was … vanilla. The dismay.). Couldn’t you have sheltered them a little better and a little longer, Stacey? They are still so young.

  25. Issa
    August 6, 2012 | 3:29 pm

    I go with truth. Or a watered down version of the truth. It helps them understand why you are sick or sad or tired as heck or whatever. Kids know when something is off. I figure it’s better for them to know why.

    On the cake…eh whatever. You are buying it. Mine have learned to be less picky. Heh. I tend to go for chocolate cake as well. Then they can have it decorated with whatever they want. (I do not make cakes.)

    Randomly I am putting in a very very early vote for a girl. ;)

  26. Jaunna
    August 6, 2012 | 5:14 pm

    My little brain cannot get past the birthday cake travesty. You do know that Costco Vanilla cake has CHEESECAKE MOUSSE filling right? One can never go wrong with cheesecake mousse, and they claim to put 2 lbs of it in the center of that $17.99 rectangle of goodness.

  27. Jaunna
    August 6, 2012 | 5:14 pm

    My little brain cannot get past the birthday cake travesty. You do know that Costco Vanilla cake has CHEESECAKE MOUSSE filling right? One can never go wrong with cheesecake mousse, and they claim to put 2 lbs of it in the center of that $17.99 rectangle of goodness.

    • anymommy
      August 8, 2012 | 8:25 pm

      Okay, I did not know that. I have eased my stance just a little.

  28. tracey
    August 6, 2012 | 8:29 pm

    Ahhhhh!!!!! VERY CLEVER GIRL. Way to just drop that little baby bomb there at the end of a post. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! I am sending so many millions of lovely, happy, healthy thoughts for you as I know you are probably cautiously optimistic. And now I REALLY wish I had been at BlogHer so that I could hug you!

    Also? You really ARE mean. Give the poor kid a vanilla cupcake, at least.

  29. Kendra
    August 6, 2012 | 9:47 pm

    I had no idea you were expecting and am so excited! Congratulations and hopefully all will be continue to be well.

    I only like vanilla cake. So he can come and eat cake with me! :)

    And Saige’s hair is amazing. I’m loving the purple!

  30. Marna
    August 7, 2012 | 2:03 am

    You just do what you did Stacey, you just tell them like you did with love and honesty. Your children are going to grow up and look back and say my mother was fair, just, genuine, and oh my G*d did she ever love me.

    Then they will remember all the weird dorky stuff you did and laugh.

  31. YellowLadybird
    August 8, 2012 | 3:04 am

    “sometimes babies grow and sometimes they don’t, so we’ll see how this one grows and then we’ll know.”

    So simple, so true. A perfect explanation for children… and adults.

    I’m with you on the chocolate. There is no other way.

  32. Tami
    August 8, 2012 | 5:51 am

    OK, so I know I’ve been a little bit away from reading my usual list of must visit blogs but I did not realize that I missed out on some absolutely awesome news (at this very moment in time this news could not make me happier). Congratulations, I hope with all my hopes that this child grows and keeps growing.

    I am unfortunately not as strong minded about cake as you are. I at the least would have tracked down a single lone vanilla cupcake for the Peanut and bean if that is what they wanted. Of course there is a plus to that solution; mote chocolate cake for me.

    Happy Birthday to Quinn, I wish him all the best this year. 5 is one of the best years ever.

  33. tracey
    August 8, 2012 | 2:40 pm

    Just seeing if I can comment yet… Hmmmm

  34. Sandra
    August 8, 2012 | 3:41 pm

    I think that’s the perfect reply for the answer to the baby in your tummy. I think there is no such thing as TMI where children are concerned. Always an opportunity for learning. As for the Costco cake, I’m totally doing that next time. Plus those things are gigantic. I could eat cake for days! And I love Saige’s hair and her name!

  35. Texan Mama
    August 10, 2012 | 2:54 am

    I’m so sorry, I must be so behind… when did you tell us you are pregnant? That’s so exciting!

    We’ve had the loss discussion. It wasn’t so fun. I had a miscarriage before the little one you met when you visited me. My kids still ask, was that baby a boy or a girl? Why did it die? How did it die? Will I see it when I go to heaven? All these questions are just answered with “I don’t know. Sometimes God doesn’t want us to know the answer, so he keeps it a secret until he meets us. Then we’ll have something to talk about.” I don’t really have any better answer, so that’s what I say to them.

  36. MommyNamedApril
    August 10, 2012 | 6:38 pm

    aw, happy birthday quinn.

    that’s pretty much exactly what we say to our kids. hey it’s life. or possibly not. sometimes things don’t work out. but i’m desperately hoping for you that they do :-)

  37. Lady Jennie
    August 10, 2012 | 6:46 pm

    I love chocolate cake.

    I love purple hair.

    I might not have talked about possible loss, but I don’t think it is in ANY way wrong that you did.

    Love you. Don’t forget to water.

  38. Gigi
    August 11, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Quinn. May there be many delicious vanilla cakes in your future.

  39. jen
    August 18, 2012 | 5:01 am

    seriously … when did he do all that growing up?

  40. Galit Breen
    August 22, 2012 | 4:10 am

    Just right.

    Direct and honest is always just right.

    Also? Chocolate for the win, obviously.

    {Happy 5th, Quinn!}

  41. AmazingGreis
    August 27, 2012 | 10:19 pm

    Per usual, love this. I think you explained it perfectly. Also, CHOCOLATE CAKE FOREVER!!!

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