Friday, September 12, 2008

Da Count-Isaac

My "baby" became an official teenager this week. He's also as tall as me now and his feet are much bigger than mine. When he dons his football pads I hardly recognize him. So he is hardly a baby any more. The team of teachers he is with at school this year asked parents to write "A Million Words or Less" about their children. Now you all know me well enough to be fearing for the sanity of the teachers because of what I could do to such an assignment. First off, I want to get pedantic and tell them it would technically be a million words or "fewer" since "fewer" denotes numbers of items and "less" denotes degrees of a quality. Next, I am tempted to produce a 999,999 word opus. Recognizing this would not endear Isaac or me to the teachers and wanting him to have a much better year than last year I opted to submit the following piece, which will also function as this week's count. Thirteen years old...where has the time gone?


Once upon a time there was a little boy named Isaac who had two older sisters. The sisters dressed him in girl clothes, invited him to play Barbies, and barely let him get a word in edgewise. They loved their brother and he loved them but he eventually got tired of them thinking he was a younger sister. He grew out of the Barbie stage pretty quickly and hipped his sisters to the joys of Legos, cars, and dinosaurs...well, he tried to anyway. The girls got in on the Lego action, but not so much on the cars and dinos. Isaac also exerted his masculine self by emulating a preschool version of a cross between Tarzan and WWF personalities. Sisters, parents, and visitors alike quickly learned how bad an idea it was to sit on the floor since the young Isaac regarded this as an invitation to tackle them.



As Isaac grew he developed a real fondness for critters of the 6 and 8 legged varieties and his mother had to learn how to groove on bugs with genuine enthusiasm. She introduced him to the wonders of amphibians and legless reptiles though. Together they found a mutual thrill in photographically documenting his backyard renditions of The Croc Hunter whenever he discovered a new bug, frog, or snake. When he needed more excitement or the weather was uncooperative (though he and I have somewhat different notions of what constitutes bad weather) he amused himself by feigning deity and creating whole new species of animals before documenting their habits and habitats with scientifically accurate descriptors. When zoological exploration was not fruitful Isaac was often found fending off hordes of imaginary barbarian invaders with nothing but a toy golf club or a rubber alligator. Constructing Bionicles, writing stories, drawing maps and cartoons, and designing football uniforms were other activities he’d settle for in lieu of swinging from the drapes. When he was finally old enough to take the hunter safety course and obtain his license last year he was thrilled to be able to do some real hunting. These days he most enjoys playing baseball and football, playing Wii, drawing cartoons, reading, and generating lists of favorite words based on how they feel to say and how they sound. Recently he found out he’s good at hanging drywall when he and his dad began a demolition project in the den.

When the adolescent estrogen level in the house becomes toxic, Isaac finds sports and hard physical play a good antidote. He is a gentleman though and is happy to play with his sisters when they are interested. His best friend’s family says he is very tender toward, as well as patient and helpful with, the younger children. When I was injured badly a couple years ago and had a long, hard recovery he was the family member who was most sensitive to my pain and frustration.




Sometimes as the youngest in the family he has unreasonable expectations of himself by thinking he should be able to do everything as well as people who are older and who have had much more practice or experience. When he doesn’t reach his own goals in his own time frame or when others jump on his case and try to make him feel small, he can become highly self-critical or pretend he doesn’t care anymore. Now that his various glands are dumping gallons of hormones into his system he can react angrily too. There’s nothing like a few whacks at the Bat Away, pogoing around on the trampoline, or shooting hoops to help restore calm. Following the calm with a tickle fight, some Far Side type humor, or a few horrendous puns reintroduces levity, at which point Isaac’s reasoning ability reappears so he can look at things more clearly. Fortunately, he can hold off on the whacking and pogoing until he gets home so there won’t be a need to install a trampoline or a Bat Away in the classroom but he certainly isn’t averse to recess or lunch as a pressure valve.



After surviving his own personal Annus Horribilus for 6th grade and having a summer to recover and be encouraged by his older sister’s fond memories of the Pioneer Team, it is with guarded optimism that he greets 7th grade. The rest of his family looks forward with great anticipation to living with a happier and more relaxed Isaac. Trampolines and Bat Aways are expensive to keep replacing. Here’s to a great year!

39 comments:

Cocotte said...

Your family mirrors mine, except mine are all one year ahead of yours! Your son sounds like a really neat kid!

G-Man said...

Happy Birthday No. 1 Son!!!!
I know at times he is Mommy's only haven of love!!!
May he always be there for you too!
G..xo

RiverPoet said...

Happy birthday, Isaac!!!

Peace - D

snowelf said...

Awww, I love kid tributes!! Happiest of Birthday wishes to your loveable Issac.

-snow


(I think we need a Bat Away around our house too!)

Mona said...

what a wonderful tribute of overflowing love & affection to your youngest!

Happy Birthday Issac! Its hard to decide whether mommy is lucky or you are lucky! :)

Suldog said...

Happy Birthday, Isaac! Great writing, Lime! To you both - Many years together, enjoying each other's company, and may you discover an entirely new bug!

James Goodman said...

Happy birthday to the wee one and yes... here's to a great year. :D

Doo Dah said...

you have a lovely boy. My boy is sensitive also. Gotta love that.

Love the story. You paint words so that I can see.

Happy weekend.

furiousBall said...

I've got a very sensitive guy myself (just like his Daddy). Happy Birthday Isaac, you've got a great Mom and you seem like a great son too.

EmBee said...

""fewer" denotes numbers of items and "less" denotes degrees of a quality."

Well what do you know... I guess there really IS something to be learned every day.
:-)

S said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ISAAXXXXX

I think your name is cooler spelled with x's!

Was that 999,999 words?

I hope your birthday is fabulous. I had a baby brother too. My sister and I picked on him a lot....he's 6' tall now...no more picking!

Have a great day Isaaxxx!

Breazy said...

Happy Birthday Isaac!

Great piece you wrote for his teacher Lime.

Have a great weekend!

Desmond Jones said...

This is so sweet. . .

They don't sit still, do they? We just initiated our 6th teenager earlier this year. I am definitely not old enough for this. . .

Blither said...

Aww.. Lovely Count as usual.

Cheers Bella!

lecram said...

Stellar count and a wonderful gift to your son! (Yeah, he may shy away from it for now but it will be a precious keepsake in years to come.) And... by gum you got me misty eyed by this one.

Craver Vii said...

I think it was Bill Cosby that said that when a boy turns 13, you should put them in a barrel. You can feed them through a little hole in that barrel. When they turn 19... plug the hole.

Your story was fun. Print it out in color. That's a keeper for the family scrap book!

Few v. less. Hmmm, who knew?!

BTExpress said...

A fitting tribute of 748 words of what seems like a wonderful young man.

Polt said...

What a wonderfully beautiful and descriptive piece. VERY well done, Lime.

I'm sure it's gonna embarass the heck out of his 13 year old self, but in years to come, I'm certain he'll treasure this as much as you do.

HUGS....

Liquid said...

Awwwww.........I know the feeling.

Precious he is!

DianeCA said...

Happy birthday Isaac! I know how you feel mom, its tough when your babies grow so quickly. I have two boys and they are so big now!! Teenagers are tons of fun though, and he won't forget who's the mommy!

Logophile said...

Happy Birthday to your baby boy.
What a guy, hmm?
Good job, mom

Kathryn said...

Oh I love that. Someday Isaac will look back on that and grin from ear to ear knowing how well you know him (and always knew him) and how much you love him. You can just feel it in your words.

It will definitely be the teachers' favorite to read, I'm sure. :)

RennyBA said...

What a lovely 'Million Words or Less', written with love and affection. You are lucky to have such a good son and he is lucky to have a Mom like you. So I say a smashing team!

Then of course: Happy Birthday to the football teenager Isaac, all the way from Norway :-)

Missy said...

You have quite a talent for the pen Michelle!! I love this tribute to your youngest. Very maternal and packed with love.

A milestone for your son!

~Tim said...

I'll bet you get an "A" on your essay!

But did it occur to you that the teachers really did mean a million words or lower quality and "less" was the correct word?

[smirk]

coopernicus said...

Hope the boy has a great birthday. 7th grade relaxing? My 7th grade was the worst. 2nd day of school I had an anxiety attack and puked in front of everyone waiting to go inside...

cathy said...

cheers! Have a good year.

( I forgot to switch off my PC, I've been on your blog all night)

Palm Springs Savant said...

Lime, that was just so sweet! Amazing how time flies by and how quickly they grow up!

TorAa said...

Oh Dear "Lime",
I've read this post several times.
My bad english once again restrict me to give you a comment that you deserve.
The post and description of your Son, from 0 to 13 is so fabulous. Me, that have had 3 Son's (two left as you recall)know exactly well that all what you have written here is nothing but Facts and a genuine Mothers reflections and observations.

btw: You will become 29 - 11. That's it;)) My math is allways for the positive

Maddy said...

Many happy returns of the day. What a team you make.
Best wishes

Beach Bum said...

Happy Birthday Isaac. Great post Lime and my son turns thirteen next month.

airplanejayne said...

Happy Birthday Issac!
I would love to have you in my 7th grade class -- if only because I know your mom would come and be my best assistant. What a blast we could have!
:)

Cheesy said...

Aren't sons just AWESOME creatures? Lime~~ It gets even better...Happy birthday to your loving manchild!

Fortress Guinness said...

he's SO like you...!!! we're both so lucky to have both boys and girls Lime...mine may be all grown up now, but they'll always be my babies...!!! hey, you wanna hear my 'D' play guitar...!!! my god, i didn't know how good he really was until a few months ago and he brought his new guitar a couple of weeks ago and he can play every metal riff in the book...!!! real fancy stuff, i was just blown away, standing there watching and listening and grinning like an idiot...!!! far better than his dad'll ever be...!!! but then i AM a bass player...duh... ;) hope you're good Lime, catch u soon xxx

Fred said...

I loved reading this. There are so many stories to write about our children...where do we start?

Happy B-day, Isaac!

Moosekahl said...

A well done tribute as you always do!

Mother Theresa said...

Wow, I've missed you! Hopefully, I'll be able to find the time to come back for my regular Lime from now on. Isaac sounds like a great kid, and I hope he has a great year to match. Here's to no more anni horribiles for any of us (last school year was pretty horrible for us too). :)

San said...

Beautiful tribute to Isaac, who bears a strong resemblance to his lovely mother. Except for much bigger feet, physical stature, and shoulder pads.

This reminds me so much of something I sent to school about my own son. He was in middle school and the teacher sent home this pesky questionnaire. I found the short answer quiz so annoying, I chose a big all-inclusive essay. It was fun, although I cried my way through it.

Your post is moving. You are a loving mother, Michelle.

tsduff said...

I love the froggy picture. I have a similar one somewhere in the archives, of my little sister on a camping trip, little peeper in her hand :)