Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a baker's dozen

I’ll have my first teenager in… 24 days. He’s not there yet, but I see the changes in his friends. The babyish curves on the boys' faces are gone, replaced by angles. I hear voices of men in my house when they come over and I still startle. It scares me because it means the end of the tunnel exists. As tough as it is doing this parenting thing, I don’t want it to end either.

I’ve got to say, I adore the stage my about-to-be-a-teenager is in. I even like his brother at ten. Each stage is so fun to greet and get to know. Each might be better than the last. But also, each day for work I go to a childcare center which includes babies. And I can borrow a baby anytime I need! Right now I’m in a toddler infatuation stage and I’ve got a cluster of barely-twos who I adore. I can give them back when they stink or fuss but when they want to climb on me and ask for tickles? I’m there.

Last week was spring break for us and we went to Florida to see family and spend time at the beach. After a great visit to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, we went out to eat at a Spanish tapas restaurant for "Tapas Tuesday!" (If you ever find yourself there, it was called Ceviche.) While I had little doubt that an evening of cocktails and appetizers would disappoint my boys, I had a great time watching them. There was nothing on the tapas menu that they wouldn't try. (Never had mussels? Well, have a mussel.) We sat for two hours eating and talking. And the conversation was good. It was truly a relaxing and fun evening out.

Pook spent some time on his electronic, pocket-sized distraction with either games or texts to friends back home, but he put it away for family times. He cooperated on sand castles, tested the still-cold waters of the Gulf, screamed on roller coasters at Busch Gardens, and harassed Bug just enough to remind his brother that he was still around.

One night he woke me, sometime after midnight, to tell me that he couldn't sleep. Had he not been a good sleeper as an infant, I'd probably have thrown a shoe at him. But this insomnia just started this past fall and doesn't happen often, so I sat with him, rubbed his back, kissed his soft cheek goodnight once again, turned the thermostat down a notch, and went back to bed. (To lay awake for hours thinking it was a mistake to have not thrown the shoe.)  The next morning I gave him a hug and realized I couldn't get my chin on the top of his head any more.  He'd grown overnight.

So he's still sweet, he's still sane, he's getting taller by the minute, and I guess I'm as prepared for a teen as I can be.  Happy Not Yet Birthday Pook.


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