Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/chris/public_html/wp-includes/version.php:10) in /home/chris/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-automatic-upgrade/wordpress-automatic-upgrade.php on line 119

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/chris/public_html/wp-includes/version.php:10) in /home/chris/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-automatic-upgrade/wordpress-automatic-upgrade.php on line 119
Eight Things

Eight Things

April 30, 2007

Newly turned 8

Some people might use the word favorite, but I don’t. Favorite implies that the others would be somehow less and they aren’t. The truth is that you touch my heart. It could be because you are so very different from me. The personality traits I love in you are ones I always wished I had.

You are an easy kid to like. You are the sort of child that other people gravitate towards. Boys want to be your friend and girls want your attention. You are never nervous. You are never uncomfortable in your own skin. You are slow to anger and when you do, you get over it quickly.

Yes, so very unlike me.


You were the easiest baby. You never cried. I am not exaggerating about never either. Your father and I were lulled into believing it was because as the fourth child we had perfected our parenting, as if one could parent a newborn. Oh we were so sure of our superior skills that we went and had another baby right away. One who would make us pay for our inflated egos.

You are the first to laugh at jokes. You don’t take anything personally. You could do something that is completely embarrassing, but you would find a way to laugh about it and deflect the embarrassment. Yes, so very unlike me. I would be embarrassed and mortified and rehash the experience over and over again, each time feeling just as embarrassed as the the first time. But this isn’t about me, it’s about you.

Your athleticism amazes me. You are constantly cartwheeling and flipping through the house. I am someone who has never been athletic. I was the girl who always got picked last for the teams and viewed PE at school as torture. People comment on your natural ability all the time and like to compare their less athletically inclined children to you. I am not sure why it irks me so much. But it does and I usually say, “Yeah, but he’s dumb as a stump. It all evens out.” And the beauty of you is that you know I am joking and laugh.

he can do them effortlessly

Some of your siblings would be upset if I ever joked about them like that. Or really ever joked about anything about them AT ALL. But you think it is hysterically funny. You don’t take yourself too seriously. I’d like to take credit for it, like I do your blonde hair, but I can’t. I have six other children raised in the same house in the same way as you, and so far not one of them has the self esteem you do. And I have never heard one of them deeply sigh and say, “I love me.”

Your love for bad television is unparalleled. You love every show that the Disney channel has ever put on. And no matter how much the rest of us groan when we hear the theme song for the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, or cry when That’s SO Raven begins, you are convinced that we are the ones with no taste. (As a funny aside, for the longest time you thought the name of the show was Fatso Raven. You refused to believe that was not the name. “But it makes more sense, Mom?”)

I frequently have to remind you that we are not living in a sitcom, so great is your love for the one liners and over dramatic facial expressions. Then one day you discovered this:


For about a month this winter we were treated to the frequent use, some might dare to say OVER-use, of the ironic air quotes.

You are one of the unfortunate middle children in this family. One who was born before I owned a digital camera, but after the novelty of photographing everything and running to the one hour photo developing store wore off. Digital photography has made capturing every mundane moment of our lives possible.

When I was a kid photographs were reserved for special occasions and Sears Portrait studio. But now I have made up for it. We might be lacking the photographic evidence to prove you didn’t spring from my forehead as a 5 yr old. But don’t worry, we have lots of photos like this one to make up for it.


If I were going to sum up your eighth year with eight things about you, this would be it:

1) Jack o’lantern teeth. We wonder if you are ever going to regrow the teeth you have lost.

2) Ironic air quotes. These slay me. Especially because you usually use them correctly.

3) Disney Channel. You really think the world would be a better place if the Disney channel was allowed to play in our house all day long. And I am a mean hideous tyrant because it is only allowed to be turned on during the weekends.

4) Cartwheels. You can not walk or run from place to place in the house. You must cartwheel there. And it drives me crazy when you are supposed to be unloading the dishwasher and you insist on doing one handed cartwheels across the kitchen to put the things away. Why one handed? Because you are holding the dishes, or whatever in your other hand.

5) Your accent. I am not sure if it should technically be called an accent, or if it is some sort of speech impediment, but you sound like you live in Boston. Your alphabet has no letter ‘R’ For fun we have you say “Pahk the cah in Havahd yahd” all the time. Unfortunately your name has the letter R in it and people are always confused. Unusual name + strange accent = fun times.

6) Your hair. It hangs into your eyes and you like it that way. You refuse to have it cut. Luckily your hair looks pretty good long. If by pretty good we mean long straggly mop. If the hair gets much longer and I just may sneak into your room with the scissors while you are sleeping.

7) Reading. You are finally reading. Sort of. You can read. You just prefer to guess based solely on the first letter of the word. I am forever asking you if reading is a guessing game. And you are forever answering, “yes, it is!”

8 ) Your big heart and generous spirit. And the fact that it will not bother you one bit to know that I am well over a month late finishing this post about your birthday. We did have cake on your birthday. That should count for something.


Posted by Chris @ 11:07 pm  

RSS feed for comments on this post.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:


  1. Chookooloonks says:

    What a lovely tribute. Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful son.

  2. Brandi says:

    I very much like that you always treat your children as the individuals they are. You’re a good mom.

  3. Susan says:

    You make every child seem as if s/he’s the only one. Do you know what an amazing thing that is?

  4. kate says:

    happy late birthday!

    Wow already 8! Time flies!

    What a great kid!

  5. Mary W says:

    what a wonderful boy! My oldest is going through a hippie/mophead phase only his is a form of reverse sexism protest at school.

  6. Military Mommy says:

    His little eyes have a “certain” sparkle in them.

    You’ve got a special one here for sure.


    Happy birthday, little man

  7. Cass says:

    This was just beautiful. Good job, Mom.

  8. Cass says:

    And also Happy Birthday.

  9. Mir says:

    Hey, I lost some jellybeans. Could you look for them in his dimples? Thanks! ;)

  10. Novaks8 says:

    He always looks so different from the others.
    He is growing up so fast!

    And yes, you are an amazing mom.
    I can’t count how many times I have quoted you or shared a funny story I read here or even thought “What would Chris do?”

    I know that probably makes you uncomfortable but it’s true!

  11. Jurgen Nation says:

    I hate to echo, but you really do make each of your children individuals, and you have a special gift for painting such a vivid picture of who they really are. Awesome, Chris. “R”s suck anyway. ;)

  12. The Wooden Porch says:

    What a sweet little boy you have!

  13. Owlhaven says:

    I loved this. And what great pictures.

    Mary, mom to many

  14. Lilly says:

    Happy Birthday to a sweet & happy boy! He’s lucky to have a mom who loves him so!

  15. Annika says:

    I swear he was six about five minutes ago. How did this happen? Very careless of you. Must figure out a way to stop mine from growing up as fast as yours.

  16. Joy H says:

    What an awesome sounding kid! And you are an even better Mom for seeing who he really is.

    (ftr, I see a ton of Miles in him)

  17. nicolette says:

    this was beautiful. i have five-year-old quadruplet boys, and distinguishing four different personalities, and then learning to work with each one is something that my husband and i have been dealing with over the last couple of years.

    congrats on learning how to do so! you are a wonderful writer!

  18. jen says:

    Happy (belated) Birthday! It’s funny as you say he is so unlike you in character - but he looks most like you out of all your kids (apart from Miles). Funny how genetics works huh. He sounds like a corker of a kid - well done you.

  19. susie says:

    Your pictures of this child always remind me of sunshine. He looks like such a happy kid. Happy birthday, fella!

  20. shaz says:

    awww, very sweet. happy birthday!!!!

  21. peepnroosmom says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I LOVE his dimples.

  22. holly says:

    What a fabulous birthday tribute.

  23. maria says:

    I wish I were as articulate as you. You write beautiful love letters to your children. They will cherish them. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Gretchen says:

    Happy Birthday! LOL Wow, he looks so much like you! 8 already? phew! What is it about 8 year olds and reading? My 8 yo does that same guessing game, his friend down the street doesn’t like to work at reading, his 8yo cousin (a girl, btw) doesn’t like to read. There’s going to be a crisis when these kids hit adulthood!

    And lucky you for having a laid back kid, I don’t think I got any of those, lol.

    And wow, was it really almost 6 years ago when I first met you? It’s hard for me to imagine him so much older than the 2 yo I met at the campground!

  25. Jeanne says:

    How beautiful.



    Happy Birthday.

    Happy Mother’s Day.
    (a bit early but earned)

  26. Rachel says:

    You do such a wonderful job of honoring your children. I hope that you have some way of printing these out and preserving them for your kids. I would love to have something like that from my parents. You are a great mom, and your kids are beautiful.

  27. Caren says:

    Okay, Can I have Miles AND him?? Puh-lease????

  28. rachel briggs says:

    Oh, I loved reading this. How well you know and love him. I shall be inspired on my son’s birthday to do this too. Your son and mine have lots in common, which is why I loved it even more!


  29. jody2ms says:

    Happy Birthday to you dude!!!

  30. Crisanne says:

    I have a friend-Mark-with a similar speach issue/accent. My friend thought his name was Muck for the longest time.

    I also appreciate your ability to see your kids as individuals. All that much more evidence that people who question you about having 7 kids have NO idea what they are talking about. You are one fantastic mom!

  31. nabbalicious says:

    Aw. That was so sweet! Happy birthday, cutie!

  32. Crisanne says:

    Oh, and I kept thinking about Joey on Friends with the ironic air quotes-gave me quite a laugh. Thanks!

  33. Marci says:

    I love how you write so beautifully about your kids. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Karen says:

    I could totally see Dylan and “Hahvahd” playing together! They have the same zest, same teeth, and same shaggy mop! LOL!

  35. Kasey says:

    I always love these posts. You make me want to have children - like 7! You are such a wonderful mother…you know as far as I can tell from your blog!! :)
    Happy Birthday 8 year old!

  36. Jennifer says:

    OK, “Fatso Raven”? Man, that is funny stuff!
    My kids loooove that show, so having seen every.single.episode gives me good reason to laugh - well, that and being a fatso myself makes me laugh all the harder! :-)

    I also think it’s so awesome that he understands the whole ironic air-quotes thing- and uses them properly! Just when I think my kids have finally started to use them right…they prove me wrong. Again.

    BTW- I think these B-day posts (late or not), are my favorite by far!

  37. hamiam says:

    Oh - he sounds so unbelievably special - what a joy-bringer! :)

    He is so cute, definitely see the Miles relationship, and LOVE that last pic of him with his cake - his smile is INFECTIOUS!

  38. Karly says:

    That first picture? Heartbreaker!!

    Hope he had a happy birthday!

  39. Keri says:

    Happy Birthday, #4! What a good-looking kid you have, Chris (all of them are!) and your youngest looks just like him! :-)

  40. Meg says:

    Happy Birthday! This one is my favorite…;)

  41. Anna says:

    Ok…that was just the sweetest thing! And now I’m dying to know what his name is!

    Happy Birthday! ;-)

  42. Nicki says:

    Every time i see a picture of one of your children I swear that one is the cutest. Until I see the next child!! This one sounds like a sweetie pie too.

  43. Stephanie says:

    what a wonderful post. I laughed out loud at, ‘yeah, but he’s as dumb as a stump.’ I hate when peopole compare kids, too.

  44. Heather says:

    Chris, I am fifty two and my clock has long ticked down. I seldom regret the lost opportunity of having children, probably due to my own childhood not being ideal by anymeans. I am for the most part content with my life, but there are times when I reas what you write and I am filled with a longing, almost like a homesickness for somewhere I have never been. Reading you blog is engaging, most times very funny (only when its meant to be),but it always touches me so much. No more so than when you write with such heartfelt love for your children. It just floods me with such longing, for what Im not sure, maybe a regret, or a glimpse of what is must be like to have the assurance of a parents love. Thank you for allowing me to “share” in your family, and please keep writing,
    P.S. Your eight year old, like all your kids is very much a cutie but I think you wee Myles (sp) will always be my fave….

  45. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    You did it again, Chris. Very nice.

    I remember him running from the backyard to meet us when we first got to your house. He was all smiles and waving frantically at us like we were old friends.

  46. Maddy says:

    Another beautiful post, just as beautiful as the younge man himself who looks ALOT like his Mum.

  47. Carrie says:

    Your kids are so lucky to have such a sweet mom who takes the time to do this.

    Happy Birthday to him!

  48. Elizabeth says:

    I just scanned the comments to see how many people mentioned how much he looks like you - hmm, not many (I didn’t see any), but I think he does. I like the comments about appreciating each individual, but I swear if I were to write something sweet about each of my kids, my DD 15 would pout for a couple of weeks because hers wasn’t as good. I know this, not even having written them, because it wouldn’t matter WHAT I said.

    The name with an R got me unrealistically guessing names for him (Rumplestiltskin?). I tend to give my own names to the kids bloggers don’t name to keep them straight in my head, and I’m sorry to say I hadn’t picked an R name for him, so it’s a little jarring.

  49. Kate says:

    lol I love the cartwheels, he is a cutie, Hope he has a great year. I love the birthday posts you do.

  50. Rachel says:

    what a great kid! and what a great tribute. Happy belated birthday!

    If I knew I’d have a 4th kid like him, I’d be hauling my husband in for the vasectomy reversal!

    And here’s another reason why you should visit me at the beach - he’d fit in with everyone’s accents!

  51. Jenny says:

    I find it funny that we had babies on the same day, and now they are both toothy monsters who use air quotes.

    That’s rad, man.

  52. Katie says:

    Happy birthday!

    (Yeah I’ve got nothing else, it’s all been said above.)

  53. Anne says:

    love all the pics, Happy Birthday to him

  54. cole says:

    Gosh, he looks just like you. Really, just a boy, but just like you. WOW. I want to see some photos of you when you were 8.

    I love the jack-o-lantern teeth and air quotes. I would feel so proud of the sense of humor…it is the one thing that gets you through every single thing in life.

  55. kathy says:

    Chris; you’ve inspired me. Pike turns 11 tomorrow and i’ll do this for him. I keep thinking that it is weird to start way late, but then i’ll never get around to it if i keep thinking that way.

    oh, and it is amazingly rare to find kids as beautiful as mine (no I’m NOT prejudiced! :)). You’ve done it. Your kids are *almost* as pretty as mine are. :)

    Beautiful post mom.

  56. PeanutButtersMum says:

    Beautifully written! Your love for him is sooooo apparent!

  57. CaliforniaGrammy says:

    I so wish I had thought of paying tribute to my girls on their birthday like you so lovingly do. It’s a beautiful gift that they will cherish forever. Happy Birthday, big guy!

  58. liz says:

    Smart, athletic, funny, and good looking. He truly hit the jackpot, didn’t he?

    Happy B-day!!!

  59. Izzy says:

    He sounds wonderful and his mom is pretty awesome, too. What a touching tribute :)

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Eight!

  60. Lisa says:

    You know what I think? And this comes strictly from the perspective of what I read off of your blog, but I think that if you pulled each of your kids aside and asked them “OK, tell me the truth, who do you think is my favorite child?” each one of them would say, “OK, Mom, don’t tell the other kids, because I don’t want them to feel bad, but I really think I’m your favorite.”
    I love reading these birthday posts that you write!

  61. Mom101 says:

    This is just beautiful. It may sound naive but I’m so impressed that you can take the time to write so effusively and specifically about each of your children at any time. I’m in awe of your brilliant momness as always.

  62. Holli Smith says:

    I love him I love him I love him! He’s so freaking cute and he sounds like such a free spirit! He sounds totally awesome and reminds me of my 6yr old. (Especially guessing a word by it’s first letter)!
    Happy belated 8th kiddo!

  63. t in hd says:

    Chris, he sounds like a really, really neat kid. A belated happy birthday to him.

  64. Jordana (the non-Curmudgeonry one) says:

    He sounds incredibly sweet, and he looks just like you. Which may account for any assumptions about similar personalities. :)

  65. Victoria says:

    I love the photos of your children. I love reading the stories you tell about them. I love the tributes you post on their birthdays. You’re a good mom…the kids and you are so lucky to have one another~