My six year old son, who has a penchant for blatant honesty and who often makes people uncomfortable (Read: Me) with his embarrassing remarks, has begun to develop some manners. Recently, he started apologizing in advance before hurling insults or doing something wrong.
“Mom I’m sorry to do this, but I’m going to step on the dog’s tail.”
“Mom I’m sorry to say this, but you have really big feet.”
The good news, is that he is finally understanding right from wrong. The bad news, is that he still doesn’t mind being wrong.
Last week, we were watching A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) with the kids when Ralphie’s father blurted out, “Smartass.”
I said, “Whoops. I forgot that there was a bad word in this movie.”
My son asked, “What? What bad word?”
I replied, “I’m not going to say it. It was bad.”
Completely dissatisfied with my answer, my boy questioned me further. “Did he say stupid?”
I shook my head.
He asked, “Was it dumb?”
I said, “No.”
Then came the pre-apology.
“Mom I’m sorry to ask this, but did that guy say balls?”
Just like last year, U.S. News and World Report has released their list of ways to improve your life in the new year. Here are a few of their suggestions and what I think of them.
1. Drink screw-topped wines.
Already taken care of. I recently cut my hand when I tried to open a screw-top with a corkscrew. Really. You just have to unscrew them. It’s amazing.
2. Try that home before buying.
It’s possible the current owners won’t appreciate it, but they’ll do anything to sell their house that is worth $20,000 less than the price for which it was purchased. Make yourself at home.
3. Get a new toothbrush.
If you only do this yearly, you better make it a good one. Pick up some floss while you’re at it.
4. Get paid for good health.
With my asthma, insomnia and migraines, I can probably get a whole quarter.
5. Study philosophy.
Will do. Right after I see the forest for the trees.
6. Start using Twitter.
Now we’re talking.
7. Finish a crossword puzzle.
Thank goodness this isn’t plural and thank goodness they give you a whole year to get it done.
8. Plant a square-foot garden.
You won’t net much fruit, but you can still call yourself a gardener.
9. Add obstacles to your jog.
Just run down the middle of the street. Or, if you prefer a trail you can jump over other joggers.
10. Play a fake musical instrument.
I’m even going to spring for fake piano lessons for my kids. I’m generous like that.
At this moment, ten years ago today, I was lying in a hospital room with a monitor around my belly watching pitocin slowly drip into my vein. I had less than five contractions before the doctor made them stop. He then proceeded to tell me that I would be having my baby very soon. Literally. Ten weeks too soon, to be exact.
My firstborn was delivered weighing 2 lbs. 9 oz. and she lost two of those ounces in the first day of her life. Her legs were the diameter of a highlighter, her ears the size of a thumbnail. If you’ve seen a preemie as small as mine, you know that her skin was so thin you could see her veins, and some parts of her body hadn’t even developed yet.
The first time I saw my baby, she had a breathing tube down her throat, an IV in her belly button, and wires covering her tiny frame. She was so, so small and I was absolutely terrified.
But today, on her 10th birthday, she is happy and healthy. She overcame a whole lot of obstacles to get here, but you would never know that her father once held her entire body in one hand. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Now I’m faced with the knowledge that in three years I’ll have a teenager, and I find myself absolutely terrified all over again.
Yesterday morning, with family gathered around, my daughter presented my husband with a homemade present…101 Reasons Why I Love My Dad.
The list included, “You fuss about how old I am and tell me I am too big for being tucked in, but you still tuck me in anyway.” And, “You help me with math homework. DON’T TELL MOM I AM WRITING THIS!!!!! You are the only one I can ask for help, because Mom can’t do the math.” Sad, but oh so true.
As my husband read each line, I held my six year old son on my lap and we listened. It was wonderful and sweet, and the kids’ Grandma and I both began to cry.
He read the last item on the list, “You work and try as hard as you can. And you do it just for us.”
Grandma, who was clearly touched by the outpouring of love said, “That was really beautiful.”
And without missing a beat, my son said, “That was really boring.”