Today marks the Boy Child’s first double digit birthday, the second child that almost didn’t happen. Reason number one: the Geek is an only child and wasn’t convinced the Girl Child needed a sibling. He was wrong. Reason number two: at eight months pregnant, I somehow came down with meningitis. You want to scare some people, walk into an ER eight months pregnant with a fever of 105. They don’t like that. I was whisked post-haste upstairs to OB, where even they didn’t know what to do with me. They wore haz-mat suits to bring my food in, since they weren’t EXACTLY sure what was wrong with me. A couple of spinal taps and some serious antibiotics (and a week) later, they sent me home on Thanksgiving. For two days, til my water broke and back into the hospital I went to try to keep the still-preemie boy child inside. Apparently he’d had enough of being cooked at such a high temp and opted to make his entrance a month early. Luckily, though small, he could manage his lungs and body heat and ate well, so off we packed him. (Of course, I was a bit out of it, so I may be missing some key details, but you get the gist.)
And I mean SMALL – 5 and a half pounds. None of the clothes or diapers we had fit him. I could carry him around in one arm and he fit nicely in the little basket he slept in. Considering his rather dramatic birth, the going-home part was a piece of cake! The cat avoided him, and his sister was on the fence about the whole thing.
He is a quirky little dude. For one thing, he only eats beige or white food, unless it’s fruit. Or candy. He does enjoy colorful condiments, but only on neutral food – soy sauce on rice, for example. He will eat the occaisional orange food, but it must come from a box or can. No homemade spaghetti will cross his lips without a bribe, but bring on the Spaghettios. We think he might be a “supertaster”. Or just weird. Ironically, he likes to hang out and help me cook – just won’t EAT it.
He enjoys taking photos of unusual things. It is a bit unsettling to see some poo swirling in the toilet when downloading the last camping photos. Or his tonsils. Or hiney.
He says the funniest things. A couple years ago, while waiting for Gifted to open in Ballard (home of the much-coveted Ugly Dolls), he said “Time. It’s a diabolical menace!” Not too long ago, apropos of nothing, he told me that when he grows up he wants to “be single, and live in a condo in San Diego. With a chimp.” Not sure if that counts as being single. Also, we’ve never even been to San Diego.
He is the most generous person I know. He will offer you his last piece of candy, his most favorite Halo figure or anything else that you might indicate an interest in, and expect nothing in return. (He’s also always on the lookout for a way to make a buck and has 15 ways to spend it the minute he gets it. We’re working on that whole delayed-gratification thing. All of us.)
He’s shy and reserved til he gets to know you (and your level of interest in Halo and/or Legos). He still sleeps with his much-loved-and-patched “night-night”, actually made for the Girl Child by our friend Ka..ren over 12 years ago. He usurped it as a baby and never looked back. He’s got the music in him, though he doesn’t think so. He’s got a fierce vocabulary and is working on the confidence to use it. Science might be his thing, but he’s keeping his options open.
His kindness shines at school, where he’s won awards for respect and helping the challenged kids. He has a gift for empathy that some people will never have. His shoulder rubs on a bad day are the best, his smiles the warmest, most heart-melting. He is the light in our family.
Even though he’s my baby, signs abound that the teen-age years are around the bend. His friend comes over and they play Halo, saying “dude!” an average of 30 times a minute. Literally. Somehow, he nearly reaches my shoulder and I almost can’t rest my chin on his head when I hug him. He’s starting to get just a touch of that smelly teen-age boy aroma and his favorite pants are his skinny Levis.
Someday, hopefully he’ll rest his chin on my head. Even then, he’ll always be my baby. The one I’m forever glad I fought for, a brother for a sister. Happy birthday, baby boy.