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Friday, October 12, 2012  

Eight

Trash and I used to be terrified of our future child. What if we couldn't relate to or understand him? What if he had no sense of humor and hated books and music and was a sports hooligan and mistrusted smart people and refused to respect, listen to, or acknowledge the existence of his parents? Or what if he was like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes, an amoral vice figure three feet tall with a towering appetite and talent for mayhem? And the worst-case scenario, what if he didn't do anything at all?

We stopped having these fears quite some time ago, needless to say. In fact, we experienced most of them more than eight years ago, before he was even born. It's a big part of the reason we were a childless married couple for more than thirteen years, longer than a fair number of marriages with kids.

In fact, it's amazing how ignorant we were, and of how many things, eight years ago yesterday, when M. Edium was first born. But the main thing we didn't know was how great he was actually going to turn out.

The reading, for instance. Both Trash and I grew up wondering why our parents would sometimes get irritated at how we were constantly reading. Shouldn't they be happy? we thought, miles apart and independently of each other. Other kids don't even like to read.

But that was before we had a kid who can't go from one room to another without a stack of books in hand, with one always open and his face buried in it. In the car, at the table, while I'm reading to him at night, while he's getting ready for school, while he's supposed to be leaving for school, while crossing a busy parking lot. We used to be all, "We're glad you love to read, but we need to you to focus on this instead for a minute, okay?" Now it's just, "Gimme the book." We clearly succeeded in instilling him with a love of reading, so now all we need to do is instill him with a fear of being caught reading.

I think the reading is the source of one of his other more entertaining characteristics, that being his tendency to talk like a four-foot-tall septuagenarian. He learned a lot of slang from Beverly Cleary books, some of which were written almost seventy years ago, so in addition to his speech being peppered with five- to six-syllable adverbs, it's sometimes a little weird to hear him register his approval of something by calling it "keen" or referring to a large amount of something as "a fair few."

Like I said, today was his eighth birthday, and it was a little disappointing for him from the very first hour. He woke up a little past midnight with pain in his ear from water trapped in at after his swimming lessons (all better now, thanks). At school, one of the other kids played a mean trick on him, saying he was going to give him a small gift when he never had any intention of doing so (the kid is still a lot more gullible than any child of mine has any right to be, alas). He lost a sheet of stickers that was part of his classroom birthday swag. And this evening, at the biggest karate tournament in the country, he didn't do as well as he'd hoped, and he was shooting for second place. We've all had disappointing birthdays, sure, but not usually until we're adults or sitcom characters.

Even so, he went to bed happy tonight, satisfied with the gifts he's received thus far and a couple of chapters of Harry Potter read to him by yours truly. I kissed him and hugged him goodnight and made some paltry attempt to convey to him how happy the last eight years with him have made us, which he may or may not have absorbed. Then I left his room. He called me back a minute later, which he usually does to have his water refilled or some other minor comfort attended to, but this time all he wanted was another kiss and a hug and to say he loved me.

I can't believe I was ever scared of this. What scares me now is the thought that I could have missed it.

posted by M. Giant 10:45 PM 3 comments

3 Comments:

Lovely! Now I'm sorry I forgot to have children :-)

By Blogger stripeymeow, at October 15, 2012 at 8:21 AM  

so beautiful, and sorry for the sappiness, but you did bring a tear to my eye. I'm really happy that I read your blog.

By Blogger Small Efficiencies, at October 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM  

This just brings up the point that I have been reading your blog for a long, LONG time.

Happy (much) belated birthday, M.Edium!!

By Blogger dancing_lemur, at October 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM  

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