Beginning at age 7, my kids get their bedtimes bumped back 15 minutes every other year. It’s a very big deal in this household, particularly because we’re pretty strict about bedtime. They start talking about those extra fifteen minutes months ahead of their odd-numbered birthdays. Kinda makes me giggle.
We have a milestone among the Herd today. Little Man turns 11! There is much to celebrate, but, you guessed it, he’s most excited about those 15 minutes he gets tonight. Going up to be half an hour before BOTH of his siblings for the past five months has been a thorn in his side. Now there will only be a fifteen-minute difference. Makes me realize my babies aren’t babies anymore. Sigh….Also, I’m wondering how much longer until I go to bed before they head up? There are nights I’m hauling myself up those stairs mere minutes after Big Man and the Princess have gone up at 8:30. Pathetic, right? l
I’ve written this before, but I have a very vivid memory of standing outside the hospital, watching the sun rise over the mountains behind it, knowing when I walked out of that place, our lives would have changed again, and our family would be complete. Little Man took his own sweet time arriving that day. And it wasn’t completely without drama. We nearly went in for a C-section as I stopped dilating for quite some time. But then we shifted me, and got him to move his head to a better position, and it was game on. Then he had the cord wrapped around his neck a couple times. He had pretty junky breathing that entire night, and they kept him in the nursery for a few hours to keep an eye on him. They nearly sent him to the NICU, which froze my heart, but then they were able to suction a bunch of gunk out and he was good from then on.
The night we brought him home, he wouldn’t sleep. Ditto the next night. I wondered, oh so briefly, “What have we done?” I’m embarrassed to admit that, but what parent hasn’t thought that at one point or another with any one of their children? But then he settled. He was an amazing baby – so good, so easy, on target with everything, even ahead with rolling over (2 months), crawling (5 months) and walking (9 1/2 months). When I read back through his baby journal, I feel myself looking for any early signs I may have missed of his autism. He talked early, and his vocabulary was amazing. He was kinda tough on his preschool teachers, with a mind all his own, but so many toddlers are. Nothing seemed abnormal to us until he hit elementary school. There are days I wish I could go back and tell myself to be more diligent, be more aware, do more research. That wouldn’t change anything, however, so we plow on with where we are today, which happens to be a very good place.
I’m trying very hard to wrap my brain around the fact he’s 11 years old. He still seems so young, so little, compared to when his brother was this age. I think that is just normal though. The oldest seems so old at any age. The baby seems so young at that same age. My precious baby boy gives me so much joy. He challenges me constantly. He makes me a better mother, a better person in general. He’s taught me so much. and I am so very grateful for the gift of his life.