Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Middle Child

Katie had a friend over this morning, and Tommy spent the better part of half an hour creating a 'No Girls Allowed' sign for his bedroom door after finding them in his Legos one too many times. I can't say whether or not it worked, because it was time to go just as he was finishing it.

Time alone with him is hard to come by, what with all the girls that hang around him all day, poor thing, so I decided to drop Katie off at the neighbor's house and take my little man out to lunch. He's been begging me to go to McDonald's ever since he won the grand prize at the neighborhood carnival last weekend: a free Happy Meal every week for a year.

That's 52 Happy Meals, for those of you counting at home.

Also 52 Happy Meal toys covering the floor of his room, in case you were wondering.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that he won that prize. In fact, as they were announcing it at the carnival, my comment to my friend Julie was "WHO would want to win THAT?", just in time to hear my son's name announced and watch him pump his arms up in the air, shouting, "I WON!"

No, we're all losers in this situation, son.

Anyway, we took the high-quality copy of a certificate up to Mickey D's to claim 1/52 of his prize. And the two of us sat there alone, talking, visiting, and all of a sudden my heart just wanted to burst.

He is so sweet, this kid, so articulate, so affectionate, so thoughtful. I couldn't believe how grown-up he was acting. He has almost completely lost his baby-talk mispronunciations, and the tantrums that used to punctuate my day (dare I say this) have disappeared completely. He holds doors open for me and takes out the trash. He cleans up his dishes and brushes his teeth without being asked, then tries to hide his smile when I ask him to go do it. Then he busts out laughing, "I already did, Mama!"

For a long time, Tommy and I didn't get along. Don't mistake me, I've always loved him just as much as the other two, but the kid knows how to be difficult. We have gone toe-to-toe over every subject in his little world. There were weeks that went by where I was just hoping to get through one morning without having to deal with one of his tantrums. We have had a hard time understanding each other over the last few years, let's put it that way.

But today, I sat next to that kid and I just admired him. He insisted on getting the Big Kids' Meal, but declined the toy that was offered with it. (Dear McDonald's: Your American Idol toys are feeble. Thank you so very much. Sincerely, Chrissy) Halfway through the third nugget, he was already sweet talking me into getting some apple pies. (Of course it worked.)

We had as enjoyable a lunch as one can possibly have at McDonald's, and we headed to Kroger. Every Kroger employee recognizes me, perhaps it's because I shop there every three days, or maybe it's due to the squirmy, noisy brood of children by which I am usually surrounded. Everyone stopped to comment to Tommy about being the only one with Mom today. He just ate up the attention, and the banana that the produce guy gave him. We even chatted with the firefighters who always shop there, and they were enthused about Tommy's firefighter boots.

Tonight I went up to the school and registered him for Kindergarten. My baby boy. Sniff. I held it together, only tearing up slightly while gazing lovingly at his birth certificate. This is the first time I've been sad about the thought of Tommy starting school. Maybe it didn't hit me until today. I've had an extra year with him, after deciding not to send him to start school a week before his 5th birthday. I wasn't sure of the decision at the time, but now I am certain it was the right one. I've really enjoyed this extra time with him, and it occurs to me that once these preschool years are gone, they will not be back. Ever.

On second thought, maybe having lunch out together once a week will be a good thing.


  1. what a priceless post! i'm thinking you need to print this one out and put it in his baby book! beautifully written *sigh*, just makes me wanna scoop up my 2 little guys and smooch 'em! thanks for such a wonderful read.

  2. What a sweet post. I love enjoying each one of my children alone, it really gives time to "know" them! Amazing and precious!

  3. Oh Chrissy. This might be my favorite post of yours ever. Have I said that before? Probably. Anyway, it was perfect. You should be proud of it. And your boy.

  4. This was a really sweet post. I wish we lived closer so I could be "Aunt" Becky and get to know your kids better. But posts like this help a lot.

  5. ohhh Chrissy, how sweet! are you trying to make me cry!

  6. Aw, so sweet! The American Idol toys are HORRIBLE. JUST AWFUL. Ick!

  7. Great post! Very very sweet.

  8. Oh, this post just touched my heart. So sweet. I can relate to it all. Why? Why do they have to grow up so dang fast???

  9. I came over here via Joy- and had to say I loved this. I have always enjoyed my lunches out with my kids when they were each at that glorious pre-K age. I can remember so many lunches like that with my older boys, and I feel so blessed to have that now with my little one. It really is a fleeting, precious time.

  10. Hey! I linked over here through Karen who put you on her blog as a cool "Chrissy". Heh. Heh. Thought I'd let you know.

  11. sweet (and McD's is no dummy - they know you're likely to buy more than the happy meal every week!)

  12. kindergarten!?!? yikes!

    and lunch once a week is a perfect idea.


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