Gretchen has had a couple posts about whether or not kids make you happier. Research usually says no, they don’t.
I’m not so sure that there’s a straight answer to be had, though. True, I will never get back the hours, days, weeks, I spent pretending that I was a plastic oviraptor. (Brachiosaurus, are you my friend?) But as Caleb gets older, he just delights me more and more.
The other night he came inside and sat down on the couch next to me. “Well,” he said, “we have some new family members.” Crickets, he meant. Crickets that he caught and intended to feed until they got bigger and he could release them back into the wilds of our neighborhood.
Later that night, as we were falling asleep, he said, “Do crickets lay eggs or, you know, give birth?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “We can look it up tomorrow.”
“Because I want to be a breeder.”
“Mmmm,” I said.
“But I need to know if they lay eggs or not. I hope not.” He went on for a new more minutes before I reminded him that we really needed to get to sleep. Cricket husbandry would never have crossed my mind, as a child or now.
(Later, I found this website. From it, I learned that they lay eggs. Also: “The first question to ask is, ‘How many crickets do you want to breed?’" Duly noted.)
Today, he turned nine. I gave him his presents this morning, including some clothes. In the past, he’s been less than enthusiastic about clothes-as-gifts. (Once, when he was three or four, my mom handed him a wrapped present. I said, “Look, Caleb! Go-Go got you a present!” In a let’s-not-kid-ourselves tone, he whispered, “It could be a shirt.”)
But this morning he took the tissue paper out of the gift bag and exclaimed, “They look really comfortable!” He lifted up a shirt. “And stylish!”
And stylish. You see what I'm saying?