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Well, That Was Quick: trying to tell people one at a time about things doesn't always work - Chronarchy

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July 11th, 2013


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01:19 pm - Well, That Was Quick: trying to tell people one at a time about things doesn't always work
I guess I don't know what I really expected: to get to be the person who got to tell people the news that was mine to tell? To believe that maybe I'd get to tell people something cool one-on-one when it was quiet and intimate and joyful for me and for them? To maybe (just maybe) not have to pick and choose who got to know what at what time, but to let it flow organically from when I got to see people?

Well, whatever I thought, I know one thing for certain now: it is apparently not actually my news to tell, it seems.

So, without ceremony or care for whether you've heard or not (because if you haven't, I'll bet you're about to hear about it from someone other than me, so I won't get to see you be excited or terrified for me anyway): my wife is pregnant, and we're having twins.

Here's a useful summary of answers to the questions you're asking:

  • Yes, we know the sex: a boy and a girl.
  • No, twins don't run in the family.
  • Yes, magic was involved in conception (see below).
  • No, the magic wasn't designed to bring about twins, but she did eat a lot of cheese (that's also explained below).
  • Yes, we've made decisions on godparents. Sure, you can call yourself "uncle" or "aunt," but it might sound desperate if the kid doesn't call you that, too, so think before you try that.
  • No, I don't really want to show you the ultrasounds we have. I'm a little weirded out by the idea of showing people pictures of the inside of my wife (it may be because I phrase it that way, but it's really accurate).
  • Yes, we've made decisions on vaccines, breastfeeding, circumcision, schooling, and all that other stuff. No, you don't get to know what those decisions are, because they belong in our family (and people advertising their decisions about their kids' junk weirds me out quite a bit). I am also not interested in your opinion on these things, and am probably most likely to just walk away if you try and tell me how to raise my kids.
  • No, I won't be bringing my children to most festivals, most likely, so I'm sorry if you're disappointed in that.
  • Yes, we have a name picked out (if there's a girl involved); no, we don't have any names picked out for boys. No, you may not suggest names. I assure you all the cool names have been vetoed already (though "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All" may yet prove possible).
  • Yes, all screenings and tests have been just fine.
  • Yes, I know you're happy for us, but I don't need congratulatory comments or e-mails or hugs or productions myself. This is just life perpetuating itself, and while I am happy about it, the congratulatory notes or statements of others do little for me personally. They are also a bit premature.
  • The due date is Oct. 28, but we'll probably have them before then (because they're twins). Sure, this might put a dent in my late summer/fall festival schedule, or it might not. We just don't know.
  • I get 3 weeks of paternity leave (paid) from work, plus I have a month of vacation and about 6 months of sick time built up should I need it. I am not concerned about how it will impact any work.
  • The recent spate of Magical Druid Baby StuffTM has very little to do with this, and way more to do with having several pregnant friends ahead of us.
  • I'm not concerned about whether it's going to "change my life" (it is, and you telling me that it will doesn't make it any more or less so, and it's certainly not news to me), whether I will have time to do projects (I will, despite your assurances that I won't. . . as billions of people have proven before by having children and still having a life, it's just a matter of making time), or what this means for your little pet project or organization (really, I have more important things to worry about than that).


And (once again, for good measure) I'd really like to tell people in my own time, but it makes as much sense to write this in a blog post as it does to say it to specific people, it seems. Having people come up to me at Wellspring and indicate surprise that I hadn't told them that was somewhat disconcerting. . . because I really wasn't ready for it to go anywhere beyond my own Grove (and that, with just people who cared to show up at a rite Maggie was at and saw it first hand). I don't understand the need for people to offer congratulations before I mention it to them.

I understand excitement, on some level: it's new, babies are cute, and they have an impact on the lives people lead. There's a lot to buy and a lot to change and all sorts of new time commitments. But on the other hand, I don't really get the excitement: it really, really doesn't affect anyone outside my family to any significant degree.

In my mind, I was trying to tell close friends first: ones I've known a long time, ones with whom Maggie and I have commiserated over not being pregnant, and friends that I feel I've got a deeper than usual relationship with. I had not actually managed to do that yet on a level I was comfortable with.

I mentioned it to my team at work because I'd need time off, and would need help with some work-related stuff while I'm off on paternity leave.

From there, it was less clear where we'd go. I have mentioned to people/strangers who have kids and who are apologetic about things like their kids getting underfoot or picking up stuff in the store that "It's fine, my wife is pregnant with twins," if I thought no one was listening. I honestly figured I'd have a couple of months (at least until we found out the babies' sexes) to tell more people, but apparently it's way too difficult for people to keep from talking to everyone in the entire world even when it's not their news to share.

Honestly, it tempts me to just stop saying anything at all about it until the kids are born. . . and from then on to make it purely a listing of statistics: "X is now 30" tall. Y is 29" tall. There's your yearly update, folks."

So, I mentioned some magic, which is what I really want to talk about in this post:

I didn't want to tell too many people at all, though. Not really. People started coming up to me before we even knew the sex, and there's a lot that can go wrong with pregnancies. A whole lot. For all my Chaos Magic work, I'm really an old school magician, and so these liminal states are things to be treated with care, not to be flung out into the cosmos where malocchio and envy or dislike can start to come into play. In my mind, these are real concerns. I understand these phenomena way too well to dismiss them out of hand. . . especially when magic is involved in making it happen in the first place.

So, the magic portion of this whole thing. . . because that's really the interesting bit to the story, I think.

It's true that we were having difficulties with the conception thing. Well, not with the process: that was all good. And everything (generally) seemed to be working just fine ("perfect," as one doc put it, "fabulous" as another said). So, things were ostensibly going well, but nothing was happening. So, I started digging, and I found some magic in an old grimoire that was simple and easy to do without much ceremony. I sum it up this way:

A simple conception spell describing cutting a sign into a piece of cheese and giving it to a woman to make her pregnant.

So, we started doing this on our last attempt before trying to turn to a more sophisticated version of modern science to make things happen. Every morning, I carved that symbol into a block of cheese, and every morning Maggie ate it.

Aside:There's an amusing notion that I picked up in my early studies of these old magical texts, when someone asked the question, "Why do they sometimes not talk about the mundane things you have to do to get a spell to work, like purification or casting a circle or things like that? Why are these things implied and not stated sometimes?" Dr. Sarah Iles Johnston, in a class I took here at OSU with her, once described those mundane steps as "like buttering the pan in a cake recipe: everyone already knows how to do it." So, since sex isn't explicitly mentioned here (yet is clearly required), I'd like to propose the new euphemism of "buttering the pan" to any who want to use it.


Anyway, after months of trying everything we could, it only took about 12 bricks of cheese to make everything work. The spell doesn't say that "just one will do it," or anything like that, so we erred on the side of caution and she ate a lot. I'm guessing that the additional cheeses might have had a small effect on the multiple outcomes. But if I were doing Magic 2 all over again, this would totally be one of the "list three successful magical workings" things I wrote about for Question 8.

Now, of course, I'm looking for similar magic to resolve complications in pregnancies. Not for us (everything is going fine now), but for friends who have that issue. Watch this space, as I learn more about this whole "pregnancy spell-work" thing. . . more will be posted, I'm sure.

So, there you have it.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: "Bama Breeze", -JB

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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
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I had you on a list to potentially tell at Trillium, but it was too early, really, to tell most anyone. Thanks for the link ;)
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 11th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
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Damn. That's a lot of cheese. And actually really fucking cool. I wonder if one cheese is more potent magically than another cheese.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
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I know. We used. . . Um. . . Fontina.
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From:autumnfey
Date:July 11th, 2013 06:09 pm (UTC)
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So on Sunday as I was thinking about cleaning out my car I spotted the gift I have been meaning to send you for quite some time now and thought, damn I really need to get that in the mail to Mike, but what if they have been trying all along and they aren't able to get pregnant - I don't want to make them feel bad. . . Now, I have thought this on and off for the past year so it isn't to say on some level I had any idea, but still kind of funny. I'm on such a roll now, I think I will wait until they are born as it is only a one and I want to find something else so they won't fight over it (baby fights are not pretty). And please pass on to Maggie my warm wishes as well!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 08:40 pm (UTC)
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Will pass then along. :) If you'd sent it earlier, I probably would have just put it somewhere until she was pregnant. I had no doubts in the long run.
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From:hearthstone
Date:July 11th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations and good luck! May the pregnancy and birth be easy, may your family be happy!

I think people get excited about babies for two reasons: one, they wish you well, and two, it is such a universal human experience. :) I am not a "baby person" per se (I think people improve with age) but I am always happy when friends are happy.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. It's a bit weird to me, I admit, the whole thing :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 11th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)

A thing I did when I became pregnant...

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I have a lot of problems involving my pregnancy too, but when I discovered that I was pregnant (with a possible abortion alert), I simply carved a Berkano rune on a piece of birch and dyed it with my own blood and I carried everywhere with me, I didn't leave it even when I was sleeping. It worked pretty well, so well that one day it broke and I have my daughter the next day, one month before time but very healthy.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)

Re: A thing I did when I became pregnant...

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Very nice: thank you for sharing!
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From:kargach
Date:July 11th, 2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
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The question of whether you were going to have children in the near future flitted through my mind at some point in the last week - and flitted right out because I'm not close enough to you to actually ask such things. >8)

Congratulations!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 11th, 2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. There have been a few oddities where people have had premonition-type-things. I admit, I don't know how to react to the phrase, "I had a dream she was pregnant!" But I do appreciate the congrats :)
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From:tawneypup
Date:July 11th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
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Congrats! This is news to me, and I am happy for you both!

My old roommate in college used to have a poster that said "BEHOLD! THE POWER OF CHEESE!" It make me smile every time I walked past it, and now it would make me smile even more after hearing your story.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Yay for news :) you make cheese, no? Now you have a way to make magical cheeses :)
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From:unnamed525
Date:July 11th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:uberrod
Date:July 11th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
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I'm a twin and we were a couple weeks early. Glad you are prepared for that.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Yep. Maggie is more than prepared, as I am sure you could imagine.
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From:geedeck
Date:July 11th, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
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It's news to me! Congrats!

As for the news sharing issue, that's a tough thing. I'm baby agnostic, but I congratulate people because a notable number of folks have a lot of their self-being wrapped up in reproduction, for any variety of reasons, so if it's important to them, well hey, err on side of safety + congrats. And like I said, some people are so wrapped up with it that they're happy to blab anyone's news on the subject, without fully considering if that's not news to be blabbed.

People.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I know, right? Thanks :)
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From:spottedtoad
Date:July 11th, 2013 11:32 pm (UTC)
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I won't congratulate you since you asked we don't. Blessings on all of you. What do you call little Danglers? Danglets? Danglies?
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I am title agnostic, generally speaking.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 11th, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
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(Not logged in, but it's Romandruid)
Cheese? A symbol carved in cheese??? Wow. Why do I think that only you would find this solution? (Lucky Maggie, though!) I will never consume cheese again without thinking of you guys. Or puns related to cheese and conception. I want a copy of your source to see what other useful (and bizarre!) solutions I can find in it!

As for the excitement, it's hard to explain. I don't have / can't have children, though I'm around them every day and my world revolves around them and I love them all so very much. I have so very few younger friends who have the potential to bring new life into this world and I encounter so many who I wish would not. I love you and Maggie, knew you wanted children, and can't help feeling empathy for those I love. I was just as tickled when you announced your wedding as when you told me about the buns in the oven. :) I wish I could be there and experience it with you... well, um, not as a participant, y'know, but a supporter. I want to help you shop for baby stuff, watch Maggie's belly grow bigger, be there to visit when they are first born, participate in welcoming them among the Kindreds... I guess all vicariously because I never will myself. And because, as I said, I love you both so much. Maybe that's crowding into your personal life a bit too much, but I hope you can accept the sentiment for the love that's behind it. Besides, I can't actually do any of those things with a couple thousand miles between us anyway, so relax. Many hugs!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Certainly, I can accept the sentiment.

Wish you were here, too. As for a source, I will send it to you :)
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From:zylch
Date:July 12th, 2013 02:52 am (UTC)
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I won't congratulate you, but I *will* say that I'm very happy for as well as things have gone, and that I hope they continue to go well for you and yours. And also, eesh, that sucks that you weren't able to tell people in your own way and at your own pace :-( Some folks just have no sense about what's appropriate news to share without asking permission, I guess.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
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Well, it is difficult for people to get: I am a very private person with most people: I don't like to talk about the intimate details of my life, and do not see them as anyone's business but my own. And if a person knows, they often assume that they are the last to know, it seems. Plus, it is very hard to walk the line between my public ADF persona (very open) and my private life (very closed); even I have difficulty with it sometimes. The thing that bugged me most on this was how some close friends thought I was not telling them intentionally because they heard it from a different source. . . When really I am just awful at navigating social waters like that and wasn't there yet.
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From:sweet_thyme
Date:July 12th, 2013 02:57 am (UTC)
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You're going to be an amazing Dad :]
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. Seems to be everyones consensus but mine :)
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From:fionnabhar
Date:July 12th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
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What an adventure!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 12th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
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I know: an awfully big one.

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