Part of the busyness of our past weekend included my BABY hitting DOUBLE DIGITS!  He couldn’t wait; I, on the divergent hand, was hoping time would stand still.  His wish was granted…mine went the route all others typically do when I throw salt over my shoulder, or barely audibly whisper "Star light, star bright…", or choose the finger to which an eyelash sticks.

Three of Stephen’s best buddies spent the night, and they were amazingly well behaved.  They slipped into their sleeping bags about the same time Cinderella’s coach would have metamorphosed into a pumpkin–late enough to appease their appetite to stay up late like "big kids" and early enough for me to turn in before I transfigured into Elphaba.

For his birthday, Stephen asked for one thing.  Just one thing.  An iPod. 

If you pay attention in the least, you know I just received one for my birthday a week earlier.  Rachel and Thomas each already have one, too.  For Stephen–a brand, new ten-year-old for heaven’s sake–to get one seemed outrageous to me (probably more so, Tad).

The thing is, he DOES enjoy listening to music…he IS always borrowing his siblings’ players when they aren’t lisApple_logotening themselves.  And…it WAS the only thing he asked for.

So, Saturday morning at 7:30, I found myself at Wal-Mart, chunking out the cash for yet another Apple. 

As you can imagine, Stephen woke up READY for presents from his family.  Tad was on call this weekend and had to go into work, so I told Stephen we’d have to wait until he got home.  Since we had partied with his friends, our family gathering was v e r y simple. 

Well, Tad got home and we couldn’t hold Stephen back. 

Bless his heart, little did he know, his big brother had cooked up some FUN for him, especially since our family "party" was pretty anti-climatic.  Thomas asked me if HE could "wrap" Stephen’s gift.  Prankster that he is, though, he got a large gift bag and filled it with junk, quite literally, J.U.N.K.!  The randomness of his choices still has me shaking my head wondering whose genes this represents.  See for yourself:


In case you can’t load the picture, I’ll be happy to detail it for you:  dental floss, one red taper candle, a can of mushrooms, a jar of chicken bullion, two tin muffin liners, fabric stiffener from my crafting days, a vial of flea prevention drops, and an open-and-used Pin the Tail on the Donkey set.

Oh, how I wish Stephen’s expression was captured on celluloid.  It was heartbreaking . . . but priceless!

He took each item out of the bag, studied it meticulously, looking for some reason, ANY REASON, he could be excited.  Our children are generally grateful kids, so he was trying to be gracious.  With each "gift" his countenance fell a little lower, confusion masked his face, and very obviously, he wasn’t finding anything worthy of "thanks". 

Well, that wasn’t enough for me (bless his heart, again).  I felt the need to begin a little parental speech. 

"Stephen, honey, Daddy and I talked it over and we decided you’re just too young for some of the things you’re asking for…"

It was cruel.  It was unusual punishment.  ON HIS BIRTHDAY!

It put him over the edge.  That fallen countenance gave way to Niagra Falls and the tears came without notice, and I stood ready to turn in my parenting credentials.  Right then.  Right there.

We all told him to look in the bag again, that there was something else there.  The most important thing–a note.


Apparently needing additional lessons in handwriting, Thomas quickly told him to go into another room in our house and take a look around.  His face immediately brightened, he looked at me, and walked into our sunroom.  We all followed, and he quickly found it (Thomas "hid" it in plain view).  The little buzzard saw it, picked it up, and started crying again, saying, "Thank you so much, I can’t believe you really got it for me" and I called the New Mommy Store and asked for a replacement. 

He’s told me at least five more times how much he appreciated his iPod.  That first night we found him in his room just listening and content. 

Believe it or not, he said this is the best present E.V.A.H.   In spite of our best efforts to scar him for life :/. 

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