My baby turned eleven years old yesterday. He is such a third kid. He has always been easy going, a go-with-the-flow, happy and good natured kid. I felt like he was wired that way being born into a pretty high energy family that was on the go constantly from the day he was born. His sister brought home chicken pox to the family three days before he was born. He got two pox. He's always been that kind of child. Some call it "low maintenance." I call it a blessing.
Anyway, we sang him the birthday song and in the second verse, every time we sang "how old are you?", he would extend his arms overhead like a number 11, shouting "Eleven!" After the song concluded and the hard to extinguish sparkler candles blown out, he added "I'm a Palindrome!" His teachers will be delighted to know that he's listening to them. I know I was thrilled by his working knowledge of this word. Thank you Mrs. Ojeda.
He is only 2 inches shorter than me now. Not that I break any height records or anything, but looking him in the eye and working really hard to put my arm up, over, THEN around his shoulder is a humbling experience. By next year, he'll be looking down on me as if from Mount Olympus in his favorite Percy Jackson Series. I'm sure he'd tell me he's Zeus. I am holding onto these sweet moments as he enters manhood but still has boyish dreams and ways. I am so very blessed to have him and his sisters lead me through the maze that is motherhood. They are great kids and fill me with pride every day. They have their challenges, but don't we all? The secret is to maximize the "awesomesauceness" (currently my son's favorite word via our neighbor Mindy) and minimize the challenges. Soon, they will learn to automatically do this themselves. Then we should get to be grandparents if everything goes according to plan. And begin all over again, only we get to be in the "permanently spoiling" mode.
My oldest brought her little New Year's Eve babysitting charges over to have dinner and watch a movie with us. Apparently I thought I was going to be feeding an army of teenagers instead of two little boys age 5 and 6. There was enough soda to float a battleship. The boys indulged copiously. My daughter said, "Oh God mom, I just had this premonition of my kids visiting you, being hyped up on sugar by Gramma Hammann and sent home to me in this state with an evil laugh emanating from you. I'm seeing my future here." I told her that the secret was to just keep ahead of them and there would be no worries. She laughed but kept her eye on the boys just the same...
Hug your baby today and read him or her a book for old times sake, even if that child is 40 years old. Gather up a few generations and go for it. I recommend anything by Dr. Seuss. My personal favorite is "Oh the Places You'll Go!" but any Seuss with that unique cadence of his will do. It makes it so much fun to read aloud.