The Great Pumpkin
Our dear Ben (baby #2) was a bit unusual from the very beginning. For those of you who know him, this is not a surprise. For those of you who don’t, well, hopefully this is entertaining, like a story about seeing the Virgin Mary in a potato chip is entertaining. It’s just my version of a tall tale. Literally. Why is he remarkable? Well, he weighed 10 lbs 8 oz and was 23 inches long when he was born. Considering that the average baby weighs 7 lbs and is 18 inches long, it was an interesting experience, to say the least, to literally give birth to a toddler.
He was born on October 27, 1989 right around lunch time; appropriate that he arrived in time for a meal. The Great Pumpkin had been delivered! Unfortunately for me, it was a c-section without the benefit of anesthesia. It had a bit of resemblance to the scene from the movie Alien when the first little monster blasts through the guy’s chest. I had gained about 50 lbs with the pregnancy (damn you Baskin-Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge), so I’m guessing that it took a little longer for the anesthetic to get around to all the parts that needed to be numbed up (aka fat). The surgeon got started a little too quickly and we ended up with some very interesting video and audio. Let’s just say I have hard evidence of how much Ben owes me for all that I’ve done for him! Maybe he would roll his eyes and sigh a little less frequently if I showed that tape on a regular basis.
He arrived for his first visit to my room in an incubator meant for an average baby. I’m pretty sure it took a couple of nurses to jam all of his parts into the tiny plastic box. His face was pressed against the side with a look of someone in a too small snowsuit in the middle of July. When we opened it up, it was as if a pressurized device was suddenly released. Of course he was crying, but it wasn’t a normal cry. He sounded like he had already gone through puberty, quite low and very loud. No cuddling with this one, it was straight to the feeding. His head would get soaked with sweat every time he ate, a giant burp at the finish and then fast asleep (from exhaustion). This was his (and my) life for quite a while.
It wasn’t so much raising him, it was more like wrangling him. I was like the Steve Irwin of parenting. He didn’t like to waste any time snuggling with me, endearing himself to his big sister nor cooperating with much of anything. He was all about the action in the room. He preferred to be held facing out, so he wouldn’t miss anything. My favorite and most fun activity of all; cramming him into his car seat. Think of trying to load a giant pissed off raccoon into your car 5 times a day. Ben might not have had claws, but OMG he was wild! He grew so large so fast, it was as if he was a subject in a top secret super baby growth experiment. Kind of like how they fatten up a calf these days. He seemed to skip babyhood and go straight to toddlerville. Once he was able to sit up and feed himself, his high chair was his favorite spot and my only job was keeping that plate resupplied.
He quickly grew big enough to be a “playmate” for his older sister Anna. God love her, as she had to put up with what I liked to call ” Conan the Destroyer.” She wanted to play house but he wanted to play house demo team. She would plan to play school: she’s the teacher and Ben is her student, but most of the time the game was “put Ben in the “principal’s office again” for breaking the school rules. She would play quietly with her dolls, while he played his “throw those dolls against the wall while running screaming through the house” game. Ben seemed to learn from experience only. He already thought that he was smarter than me and had to see for himself that sticking his finger in the flame of a candle would hurt. Just the beginning of the thousand times I would say “I told you so.”
It was a relief when he was old enough to start school, mainly for Anna’s sake. I thought it would be nice to prepare Ben for the kindergarten class he would be attending, just to calm any first day of school jitters. After a chat with the teacher and a tour of the classroom, Ben turned to me with a look of complete disgust and hissed, “Mommy, they still take naps and they don’t know their ABC’s! Mommy, THEY CAN”T EVEN READ!!” (If anyone has a life quote that defines him, that one is it for Ben).
Away we went on another of our many adventures with our “super” Ben.
Never average and never boring…sigh…fingers crossed….