Friday, October 12, 2007

Nine Is Fine

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?


Elrena said...


Happy birthday to Caleb. :)

Terri Kloth said...

Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer...I am so annoyed by you!!! I am reading your book: Practically Perfect and it is driving me mental. The first chapter made me feel like an incompetent housekeeper and the second spooked me into starting an RRSP. I kinda want to skip the whole relationship section as I am very content in my most recent new romance and I don't need to start finding faults in my lovely girlfriend. Shame on you Ms. Niesslein, for sending me to bonksville with these insane ideas.

Anjali said...

"Stylish" -- I think you have an emerging tween in your midst!

laundrylessons said...

We call those gifts from Grandma, "The box of disappointment", not to her face. We have some tact...not much though.

Angel said...

Heh, we raised crickets for awhile, it was pretty cool. If you are interested, email me ( and I can give you the instructions we got from school.

Katie said...

Happy Birthday to Caleb and a good day to you too on his birthday.

My children really make me feel every emotion known to man on any given day. Most of those are positive minus the lack of sleep. I would give anything to sleep to ten and not get them ready in the morning. Oh Well!!!

Also, when I was at the library last week I saw that FlyLady Book and I quickly passed over it. It amused me to see it and I was glad I skipped it. But when I went home I realized that I had left dirty dishes in the sink and I thought maybe the Flylady could help me. OR NOT.

Enjoy your day

Julianne said...

I can't tell you how many times I've played out the plastic dinosaur, "Will you be my friend?" scenario.

I'm going to plead the fifth on whether or not children raise your level of happiness until I survive the teenage years. Right now, it's an undeniable "yes" but I hear the teenage years can negate every positive parental experience preceding them.

BarbaraCA said...

Having children did not make me happier in a skipping way. Momma don't skip. But they did wake me up to a different way of being in the world and not just slower, tired-er, fatter, stained-er ways, either.

Plus? You can train them to get up before you on the weekend and push the pretty green button on the coffee maker.