Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oldest Vs Middle Vs Youngest

My coffee maker has me thinking about birth order.

This coffee maker is a hand-me-down from a grandparent- I don't remember which- who, a few years a go, didn't need it anymore.  We took it because I wanted to be able to serve coffee to any java-loving guests who might accidentally stumble into our home.

Over the past few weeks, I've started making coffee for myself, two, maybe three mornings a week.  I have 3/4 cup, which doesn't sound like much until you take into account how much Thin Mint creamer I add (holy. cow. that stuff is crazy good), but I can't even drink down my whole cup.  Whole 3/4 of a cup.  Whatever.

Because I don't like to waste perfectly good coffee and because he's just so darn cute when he asks, I've been letting Caedmon have the last few sips of this coffee.  (DON'T FREAK OUT ON ME HERE.  These are literally sips I'm talking about, and it's, like, a quarter creamer, which makes it healthy.  hahahahaha  Oh, and nobody tell Derek coffee stunts your growth, because he's already super paranoid about Caedmon being the midget amongst Amazons- which yes, is looking more and more like his fate, but not because of me!  Well, yes, because of me, but because of my genetics, not my coffee, okay?  I'm so glad we had this talk.)

A few days ago, after I fed our three-year-old fully caffeinated coffee, I decided to educate the both of us on what this whole "What does the fox say" business was about, so we watched that video on YouTube, then Cade wanted to watch a Lennon and Maisy video, so we watched that, then I realized I had become a terrible parent.

When Adelaide was little I was completely and totally neurotic.  That child had zero sweets before her first birthday.  The only tv I allowed her to watch was sporadic VeggieTales DVD's, and only the ones I thought were particularly biblically educational.  When I was pregnant with Atticus, I decided that it was imperative that Adelaide be able to identify all her letters before her second birthday.  I couldn't have told you why, even at the time- it just felt monumentally important, and probably had something to do with an obscure article I read that featured some kind of claptrap about what Asian toddlers could do vs American toddlers.  (I really don't remember anything about the article itself, just the mental image it gave me of fat, pasty American children lying on the floor eating cake and staring vacantly at brightly colored lights while their young Asian overlords glared at them in disdain as they solved complex mathematical equations and honored their elders.)  The library was our home away from home.  I read books to her in Spanish.  I used insanely advanced vocabulary around, refusing to make anything easy.  In short, I was the most annoying person on earth.

Then came Atticus.  My standards didn't slip so much as avalanche off the parenting cliff.  I was still really weird about television, but hey!  The rest of us are having ice cream, why shouldn't the baby get some?  And those Spanish board books?  Please, I could barely remember higher-level English at the end of most days.  (Although let me just point out that the only Spanish words Adelaide can now speak with any fluency center around food, probably because those were the ones I used the most in everyday conversation- she was a really early reader, so when I could no longer spell out things like C-O-O-K-I-E to the other adults in the room, I switched to galletas, which only resulted in Adelaide knowing the spanish words for her favorite foods and the adults having no idea what I was ever talking about.)

And now we're to Caedmon, who gets coffee and YouTube videos rather than flash cards and whatever other things on-the-ball parents do for their children now.  I do read to him all the time, but that's not so much my doing; he seems to think that anytime I sit down is Read To Caedmon Time, never mind the novel, laptop, or bowl of cereal I have in front of me, and I swear Atticus's ears are specially tuned to the sound of the pages being turned in a children's book; I'll turn maybe one page and he'll just materialize at my side.

I'm now going to use the guilt writing this post has generated to clear our children's rooms of all but a few toys tomorrow- I don't remember exactly why, something about fostering creativity blah blah blah a culture of gratitude blah doing more with less blah blah.  I'm hoping what I've lost in parental coherency I'll make up for with blind luck.


  1. I was always grateful to be the second child --so many battles my mom fought with my older sister that she didn't bother fighting with me :-)

  2. 60% of parenting is blind luck. Another 60% is having nerves of steel to brace yourself against both the children themselves, and the reactions of other people to your parenting style. Overall, parenting requires 120% effort.

    Some of my fondest memories are of hanging around when my Mom or Dad was reading to my younger brother. I loved hearing Dr Seuss stories just one more time.

  3. Try having two more.

    On-the-ball parenting is SO a thing of the past! ;)


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