Monday, March 31, 2008

Officially a Teenager: Happy Birthday, Carter!

Here's the problem with having a baby on April Fool's Day: nobody believes you when you call to tell them you're in labor. (Particularly if you've been known to play April Fool's pranks before.) So it should surprise nobody that when my water broke to deliver Carter way back in 1995 and I tried frantically to reach everybody related to me, nobody would take the bait. Granted, he was a full two weeks early and my mom swore that first babies ALWAYS come late, but I'm still a little miffed that it was not until she heard the baby's cry through the phone that Mom actually believed I'd given birth. I had labored for 18 hours. Hard labor. Pushed for 3. He got stuck. He was born upside-down. He broke my tailbone. And yet nobody would believe me until it was all over!

Now here is the real April Fool's prank of 1995: in a previous ultrasound, the doctor told us that Carter was going to be a girl. (!) "Go buy yourselves some pink stuff," he declared. And my "maternal instincts" felt certain that he was right- we were having us a girl! So I truly thought this same doctor was joking when he finally arrived on scene, grabbed a pair of forceps, pulled with all his 6' 4" might, and yanked that stuck little baby right out of me, announcing, "It's a boy!" Yeah, right. And, in the end, I was just happy that his head was still attached to his body after all that tugging and pulling of the forceps.

But I only had to take one look at our little April Fool to be under his spell, and I'm afraid that I'm still well under it. He's just a very cool kid, our Carter. He gets along with everybody. He stops older bullies from picking on classmates. He does most everything he sets his mind to. He can play the piano like nobody's business. How could a mother not adore him?

I think his fifth grade teacher said it best: "Carter is a thirty-year-old trapped in a ten-year-old's body." He is as sharp as a whip, as fun to talk to as any grown-up I know, and chock full of interests and pursuits. He is rarely without a list of goals and has a perpetual propensity for checking out nonfiction books on a wide array of topics from martial arts to learning French in 30 Days to Real Estate Investing. He wants to know everything there is, it would seem. Places to go, things to do- I have no doubt.

So of course our trapped little "thirty-year-old" is thrilled to finally enter adolesence! (He's been claiming he's a teenager since he hit the double-digits, and before that insisted he was a "pre-teen" when he turned eight.) And today it's finally official.

And lest you think I'm some braggart of a mom, let me admit: I know he's not perfect. He desperately needs a haircut but thinks his long hair looks great. He forgets to put the milk away, can be a bit self-absorbed, and pulls terrible attitude when he's short on sleep. He doesn't walk on water, that's for sure, but he's as great a kid as any I know and it's simply the way he came down to us.

So happy birthday, April Fool, if you must grow up. I'm going to go find myself a tissue, but let me leave you with this: slow down! Be a teenager for a while (but lose the eye-rolls, please.) We want to spend as much time with you as we can before you fly the coop and wind up doing karate while speaking French and closing a billion-dollar real estate deal.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Words That Send Me Straight to Panic

“Mom, how do you un-do Krazy Glue? Um, like, from your fingers? That are, um, sticking to the table?” (my 9 year old)

“Mom, what exactly is an emancipated minor? And how do you become one?” (my 12 year old)

“Mom, I went number two but don’t worry cuz I wiped myself.” (my 3 year old)

“Mom, we don’t pick our noses, do we? And we don’t put the boogers on the couch. Right?” (one of my 2 year olds)

“Mom, I didn’t do it! I didn’t spill all the blue nail polish in Tanner’s room!” (another one of my 2 year olds)

“Mom, I founded your cella phone, but it was in da toilet! I have a great idea: let’s use your blowing dryer!” (yet another one of my 2 year olds)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What NOT to do on Easter morning if you hope to make it to church by 9am:

1. Do not hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off at 6:30 am

2. Do not line your children up at the top of the stairs and allow only one of them down at a time so as to video individual reactions to their Easter baskets

3. Do not engage in dispute with your twelve-year-old when he not-so-graciously points out that one of his gifts is designated "ages 5 and up"

4. Do not make each of your six children say "Thank you, Easter Bunny, bawk bawk!" to the video camera, particularly since this little "tradition" doesn't make sense to anybody born after 1975

5. Do not allow your children to eat any of their chocolate candy, lest you waste 10 minutes cleaning the smears off couches and another 15 cleaning smears off little faces.

6. Do not forget where you put the three little pairs of pink tights you bought the night before

7. Do not ask the bigger kids to help dress the little kids in their Easter outfits- the confusion over and resistance toward putting on the aforementioned tights makes the "help" not worth it.

8. Do not allow your toddlers to open the "Aqua Doodles" that the Easter Bunny brought them, or you will never pry them out of their little hands long enought to pull the Easter dresses over their heads

9. Do not waste 20 minutes parting and braiding and tying bows to three little heads of girl hair because it will be completely un-done in 10 minutes anyway

10. Do not insist on taking "just one" good picture of all your children once they are finally dressed in their Easter gear- you will all be crying before it's over