Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This 'n that with the Darwins

For those of you keeping score at home, today is one month from Baby Boy Darwin's due date. I've been going through a spurt of nesting energy (powered, no doubt, by Friday's impending 36-week deadline for having homebirth supplies in order). After five years here, we've replaced the disintegrating blinds in our bedroom. I've changed the a/c filters and vacuumed the fan blades, scrubbed the shower, and am eyeing the weekend sales for new towels. I have a washed stack of baby boy clothes that have nowhere to go. My baby shower is next weekend.

Oh, and after three fruitless attempts with the parish secretary, I finally went straight to Father, who had no problem in assuring me that we could count on our baptismal date. Lesson learned: following the rules is for schnooks; the only way to get things done is to pull strings. And for those who are feeling impeded, here are the relevant excerpts from canon law and the Catechism (my emphasis):

Can. 867 §1. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it. (To the pastor, note; not to the secretary.)

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.51


The floor is also finished, and I'd love to post pictures except that in all the chaos we lost the cord to the digital camera. There are still some fiddly bits of trim to be nailed up, caulked, and painted (which means that there's still a stack of molding sitting on the living room floor), but overall, the house is getting back to usable condition. There's still some assorted furniture in random places. However, the important thing is that we have the couch back. One of the unexpectedly difficult parts of the flooring process was having nowhere to sit. And our books are slowly being reshelved, which means the bookcases look settled again and we can reclaim the bedroom floor space that the boxes occupied.

We've had a lot of people tell us, "Oh, we're thinking about putting down hardwood floor one day too!" Overall, we're quite glad we did it ourselves as we must have saved at least $4000 in labor costs, but here are some considerations for those thinking about undertaking the process.

1) How great a tolerance do you have for chaos? I don't mean clutter or even mess; I mean the house torn up for weeks on end, nothing accessible or where it should be, the dust and debris tracked all over, the bones of the house exposed. If you're one of those people who don't like their routine disrupted, this is not a job for you.

2) How well do you and your spouse work together? Darwin and I make a good team and find that we prefer to work on a huge job like this with each other rather than with outside help. We also don't carp and snipe at each other. However, if you and your spouse have even a mild tendency to pettiness, snapping, making biting remarks at each other's expense, or get moody, then don't jeopardize your marriage by throwing yourselves into a huge home renovation project from which you can't escape.

3) What about the children? Although our marriage didn't suffer, we did feel like our parenting slipped several notches. Although we tried to let the girls help with little tasks at their level, we were nervous and short-tempered with them underfoot. Although we had several generous friends take the girls for stretches, this kind of job goes much faster without the small fry getting into things. (Let's not even talk about my fears over the nail gun.) As neither of us have family living within a thousand miles, this was a more difficult and time-consuming job than it would have been with dedicated baby-sitting. Fortunately, the children are resilient and will probably remember this as a fun time when they got to play with scraps of wood and tear up the carpets with impunity.

4) Are you pregnant? Hey, I did my fair share, but moving around grew increasingly difficult -- not to mention the contraction scare at 30 weeks... The difficulty is not necessarily in getting down and doing the work, it's in getting up again. Some of my finishing work that involves dragging myself along the floor (caulking, painting) is looking rather onerous to me right now.

But! Although the floor ate our summer, we have a floor! And it looks pretty darn good. And I'd post pictures, but I can't find the cord to the camera...


Amber said...

Yay, one more month!

I'm glad your flooring project went so well. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures. Matt and I are gearing up for doing some tiling together which should be fun. We work well together and we enjoy working together, so I'm being serious, not sarcastic here.

I am beginning to feel seriously guilty about the baptism thing. *sigh* I need godparents!!! Being a recent covert in a new area is such a pain. I really hope my children will be spared this when it comes time to baptize their kids! I so wish I had family I could ask, it just seems so much better that way.

mrsdarwin said...

We found that tiling was a lot faster and neater than gluing down the wood, as long as you keep the mortar off the walls. It took me a while to get around to sealing the grout (at least I did; some of the tile that was laid three and four years ago has never been sealed, she says guiltily) but I used one of those spray-on products and it went quickly.

I believe that you're only required to have one godparent. Perhaps your sponsor would be willing? Also, one godparent (or set) can do for several children.

We're blessed with an abundance of familial godparents, but we live across country from all of them. I have a pair of siblings who are in line for the next baby, and then if we need we can start over again with the sibling lineup and this time include the (future) spouses.

Note to my brothers and sisters: I believe I am first in line for any godparenting considerations, when that time comes.

Jay Anderson said...

I'm glad you got the Baptism date squared away. For a while there, I thought you were going to have to call in Fr. Przywara.


Anonymous said...

Re baptism: good for you!

Re flooring project: 1. Married 22 years and we finally have learned to leave each other alone on our projects! :) 2. I've seen several pictures of your floor on this blog..., when will Mr. & Mrs. Darwin give us the pleasure of posting a pic of themselves?

Melanie B said...

Congratulations on the flooring project being finished. I can't imagine working on something like that when pregnant. I'm much too much of a wimp.

Praying for a safe delivery for baby Darwin.

Amber said...

My sponsor was given to me by the RCIA director (you have the right to a sponsor, if you do not have a sponsor, one will be appointed for you *grin*) and I only saw her on the various rites as I came into the Church. I can't even remember her name at the moment! I've thought about having the godmother of my other two do for this one too, but she's a very busy person and I have no idea when I could get her up here.

I think I need to let go any hopes of having a great godparent for this one, and just find someone who'll do it. I hate reading stuff like this though "It is the hope of the Church and the Catholic community that your child's godparents will be lifelong companions who will nurture your child's faith and help him or her become a true disciple of Christ." (from the baptism prep booklet we were given) But really, how many people actually have that sort of relationship with their godparent(s)?

mrsdarwin said...


For the record, my godfather was a college friend of my dad's, who was very faithful about sending me a gift and card every baptismal anniversary. I admire that dedication and memory, since I hardly ever saw him. I lost his address after I turned 21 (the last year I heard from him) and when I asked my dad if he had it, since I wanted to invite him to my wedding, dad told me that actually, he'd not kept in touch as my godfather was living a gay lifestyle on the East Coast. Big shock to me! But even though I haven't seen him since I was small, I'll always remember how faithful he was to my baptismal anniversary.

My family has completely lost touch with my godmother, who was also another friend of my parents at the time. This is why I really want to go with family for the godparents!

On the other hand, I'm baptized, which is the important thing. My dad once said that the difference between a baptized soul and an unbaptized soul is so great that he'd rather his children married outside the Church than that they married someone who wasn't baptized. (Fortunately, it looks like he won't have to worry about that. :)