My sweet little Animal… You were supposed to be my baby girl, trailing after her two big brothers with mommy and daddy wrapped around your little finger. But instead you came out 8lbs, 15oz of impatient rompin’ stompin’ little boy.
********************************** Yeah, that’s you, babe. **************************************
You arrived with the most beautifully perfect little head capped with a jaunty faux-hawk, and a natural ability to breast-feed that (after so many difficulties with the first two boys) left me, to be perfectly honest, downright euphoric.
You were an angel of a baby.. Daddy-007 and I need only swap the sling back and forth and you were instantly mollified during your rare fussy periods. (Snuggles remain your favorite medicine, in fact.) As you grew, I prayed that you’d be a late walker, happy to sit and watch your brothers from a nice safe spot on the carpet, but alas, you had to be in the thick of things as soon as you possibly could, racing to beat your eldest brother’s record of walking at 10 months. From that point on, things started to get… well…
You see, darling, before you came along and rocked our world, I was just starting to really get everything together. I was finally happy being a stay at home mom; I loved my friends, my husband, my life… I actually felt like I had things under control. I had lost 35 pounds of extra weight I had been hauling around for years and felt like I had the world on a string. I made it through the pregnancy fine. I knew I could lose the weight again. My reproductive organs kind of started falling apart after you came through, but a couple surgeries in the following year fixed everything right up. It was nothing compared to the delight that you brought me and your daddy.
I soaked in every bit of your babyhood with relish, knowing you were going to be my last one. And you, in turn, shone your baby light and love on everyone in your presence, charming and delighting anyone who was lucky enough to get to hold you in their arms.
And then, my dear, you turned two. TWO. (I really can’t express in type how much frustration, disgust, and despair drips from that word. I can only say that it is slightly less than how much frustration, disgust, and despair streams out of the word THREE.)
And my life started to crumble. I had started the application process for graduate school to become a librarian while you were still a babe-in-arms, knowing that my husband was going to be working part-time from home (as we had sold our family business while I was pregnant) and with your being such a little angel, it really seemed like it would be OK. I thought it would be tough, of course, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
It turned out I was pretty wrong about that. In fact, I found out pretty quickly that I couldn’t handle it all, at all. Whatever makeshift organizational system I had been getting by with came apart at the seams. Suddenly everyone was unhappy. The two older kids struggled in school and we were advised to get ADHD testing done. My husband and I fought constantly about the testing, about money, about childcare, about the temperature on the thermostat, about, really, anything. I just couldn’t give enough attention to everyone. And as you edged nearer to TWO, you became more and more determined to be in the absolute middle of every situation. A natural born pot-stirrer, I’m none to pleased to report. Everything seemed to be deteriorating around me, so I felt compelled to quit school and stewed and grumbled and wondered, “Well, what the heck am I going to do with myself now??”
And THAT, my darling Animal, is where I have to stop and THANK YOU. Thank you for being so entertaining, so mind-bogglingly toddler terrifying, that I knew I had to start recording some of the madness of our home life. For posterity? Not so much... It was more for my sanity. And so the Bitchin’ Wives Club blog was born in the fall of 2008.
One of my favorite first stories was about the infamous Buttermilk Incident. Egads! It still lives on as the single most awful mess I have ever had to clean. It was followed by many other moments of busy boy behavior, bizarre illnesses, and general family chaos brought on by too much testosterone and a genetic predisposition for mischievousness (in all five family members!).
You have a lust for life that shows through in your every endeavor. Whether it is participating 100% on the soccer pitch, fighting for complete control over what you will and won’t do, delivering one of your famous “juicy hugs” or cheerfully and handily unloading the dishwasher all by yourself. You dominate the house by adhering closely to the scientific principle of “That which is in motion, tends to stay in motion.” An overwhelming tendency that has made your moments of repose some of our most special memories. As soon as your lights go out (wherever that may be), it is only a matter of seconds before someone in the house coos, “Awww,he’s such a little crumb-cake!” and all our hearts burn brighter with love for our “baby”.
So, Animal, on your fifth birthday… one that finds me stuck in a hospital and not able to shower you with kisses and hugs all day long… I just want to let you know that no matter how cliché it might sound, no matter how much you’re going to hate hearing it when you’re 16… You will always be my baby.