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:
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.