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On Gapped-Tooth Grins, Poop Jokes, and Having an Eight-Year-Old

“How old is your kid?” I’d ask.

“Eight.”

“That must be fun,” I’d smile.

“Oh! It IS!” she’d beam.

I’d pretend to believe her but secretly felt sorry for the fact that she no longer had a toothless baby or a waddling, gapped-tooth toddler like mine.

It was hard to imagine that eight-years-old was as beautiful as one, two, and three was.

On Gapped-Tooth Grins, Poop Jokes, and Having an Eight-Year-Old

Being the mom to a baby or toddler feels magical and important, even as there are days when it’s 11:00 am and you call your husband or your mom because “We’ve been to the playground twice, had breakfast, a nap, and what the hell am I supposed to do for the next eight hours??!!?”

Once they’re sleeping though, you sort through the week’s photos and melt 1,001 times at his silly little wordless-grin.

At his Peek-a-Boo giggles.

This year, summertime is halfway over, and suddenly, I’m the mom to a freshly minted, just-turned eight not-so-little little boy.

And you know what? It doesn’t suck. It’s still magical.

Sure, it’s different and there are (and always will be) days when I wonder what to do for the next eight hours at 11:00 am, but eight is pretty awesome.

On Gapped-Tooth Grins, Poop Jokes, and Having an Eight-Year-Old

When he wakes up too early, I can tell him to get his iPad or a book and he’ll lie in bed with me while I sleep a little.

Better yet, it turns out eight-year-olds still like to snuggle when it’s too early in the morning and they’ve been woken by a dream, and a stuffed Sans or a stuffed Ghast isn’t enough.

Eight is being thrilled to get a stuffed Sans for his birthday.

He’s not too old to love a stuffed Ghast.

Give him a personality.

 

Eight means that moms are still the holders of magical kisses and the best laughers at made-up poop jokes.

And he’s got the poop jokes. Finds poop emojis in curly fries, although I see his point.

Eight years old is a balance between neediness and independence, and watching the ebb and flow from one to the other is fascinating.

A gift in humanity, growth, and light.

That he cries and defies freely, to see.

That the smile I cherish but will never capture on film is reserved for moments of remembering that we are of one another, and always begin with our stories woven tightly.

Eight.

Eight years old is saying he wants to stay with you rather than go to camp today even as you protest “But Buddy, your friends are at camp! Surely, you’ll have more fun there than at home with me? I have to really-for-real-really work today, even though I’m not going to the office. Are you SURE you don’t want to go to camp?”

“I can do Legos and Legends of Zelda, Mom. Please?”

“Ok,” you say, feeling the guilt of working while he’s there already.

Eight years old is him, playing with Legos, and playing Legends of Zelda, alone.

Eight years old is also him, looking up in the late afternoon and saying “Excuse me?”

It’s you, annoyed at the interruption, until you see his crumpled face.

“Aw, Buddy, what is it?”

“I don’t know,” he says. He’s trying not to cry. You don’t want an eight-year-old who thinks he’s too old to cry and so you lead him to the couch.

“What is it?” you repeat.

He leans into you, and says he’s too tired and sad to say.

Eight years old is you holding him. It’s him letting you. Melting into you.

It’s saying you’re so sorry for working. That you know it’s been a long time. It’s him agreeing. It’s you asking what you can do to bring back Happy.

And the two of you bring Happy as you sit on the floor in the mid-summer sunshine, and play Jenga.

Happy (and eight years old) is trying and failing to capture a photo of his laughter when he realizes he’s better at Jenga than you are.

“Hey, Mom,” he says.

You look up, at this not-so-little little boy, and wait.

“Want to hear a joke?”

“Always,” you reply.

It was a butt joke, and another poop joke, and you were not disappointed.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “Summertime is halfway over, and I…”

We celebrated Tucker’s birthday at a waterpark. More to come on that (it’s funny how we plan to write one thing and then write another, instead) but here’s a snippet of the waterslide fun from his eighth birthday trip:

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  • [email protected] - Oh, eight! My youngest will be 10 in a couple weeks, which means all my kiddos will be in double digits!!!! Ack!!! There are parts that I love, but the older they get the more I find myself missing the baby snuggles and toddler times. It is a cruel paradox of parenting! 🙂 Happy eight to Tucker!!July 21, 2017 – 11:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Lisa! It all goes so fast. When they’re little, each month feels so significant, as if we’re timing it all.. and then, all of a sudden, it’s been another year (!?!!) and wow. You’re so right about the cruel paradox of parenting!July 21, 2017 – 8:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Excellent video editing mom! As techie as I am, video editing seems to overwhelm me. I love the first one too, “Where’s Tucker?” and the giggles. So sweet. Those endearing moments of entertaining, and then there’s a million hours left in the day. Six more months to THIRTEEN here, and I can’t even. I’ve got to go back and see what eight looked like. 🙁July 21, 2017 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Why, THANK YOU, to the video editing. I won’t admit how much time it took but have gotten more comfortable with iMovie. I spent WAY too much time looking for how to get a speech bubble on the end of the video and tried PhotoShop, etc. and didn’t figure it out. I thought his “it was epic!” wasn’t clear and wanted a speech bubble. Anyway! Thank you (I know you’re the queen of iStuff so appreciate it). OMG the giggles. I miss tiny him. THIRTEEN!?!??!?!!? Wowza. I bet Christopher was adorable at eight. BTW, Tux is almost as tall as I am… sigh. some of his friend are still pick-up-able.July 21, 2017 – 9:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - I love the relationship you have with Tucker. He is precious. They grow up so fast…..but I can honestly say after raising four kids, they get better and better as they get older. I have loved every phase of parenting. I know you will, too.July 21, 2017 – 4:01 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Marcia. I needed to hear this! I know I’ll love every age but still, am sad at times that baby-Tucker is never to be seen again (unless maybe I see him in a grandchild!!!).July 21, 2017 – 9:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - I love this so much!

    I miss my toddler and my 8 year old, but 11 has it’s perks too! He has his own agenda, but mom still makes the best breakfasts, mom makes the best inappropriate, but appropriately worded jokes and mom still has to tuck him in and say good night!July 21, 2017 – 10:53 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Moms will ALWAYS make the best breakfasts. I still miss my own mom’s breakfasts although I don’t even know why or what she made! I miss all of the ages, but also look forward to 11 and older and OMG we’ve known one another forever because I think your son was like 7 or 8 when we met??? Time. It’s the lyrics I can’t think of now other than “If I could save time in a bottle” which isn’t OUR GUYS lyrics… Oh wait, they did redo Turn the Page…
      Out there in the spotlight you’re a million miles away…
      Oh wow, ok nope. METALLICA for the win. But um did we just open this up for more??? YIKES and AWESOME. xoJuly 21, 2017 – 11:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Sweet memories and so much fun…you two have so much fun. Bonds like that only grow stronger, I am sure. Happy Birthday to Tucker and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of the summer together.July 22, 2017 – 9:06 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We do have fun, and I’m thankful for that but also there are of course moments of wondering how we’ll get though the next hours 🙂July 22, 2017 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Sigh…I miss 8. It IS a great age. Right now I’m dealing with teenagers taking the car without asking and sneaking out of the house to meet girls – UGH! The good news is the boys never seem to outgrow things like mini golf and water parks — T’s bday looked so cool! Anyway, enjoy the rest of the summer — always goes too fast!July 22, 2017 – 5:32 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - 8 is great? Maybe there is a reason for that or maybe I’m channeling the cheerleaders? I remember when my step-daughter was sneaking out to meet boys… UGH is right. Here’s to mini golf and water parks. YIKES though, Em!!!July 22, 2017 – 11:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Twindaddy - Everything’s different when it’s your kid, I think. Also, now that I think about it, Arby’s curly fries DO kinda look like poop emojis, don’t they?July 22, 2017 – 9:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So right that ALL is different when it’s your own kid and yes, Arby’s curly fries are total poop emojis for sure. This particular one was from the food bar at the pool snack place, but same same. 🙂July 22, 2017 – 11:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi - Eight is WONDERFUL. I miss those middle-elementary years, even though middle and high school kids have their own gifts. I can tell how much you enjoy Tucker, and I bet he can tell that, too!July 25, 2017 – 4:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Oh my goodness! How he’s grown and yet, still manages to look so cute!! Eight is definitely fun and it gets better!July 25, 2017 – 7:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I cannot believe how much he’s grown, Roshni! Seriously he’s almost as big as I am already and I’m loving eight but also wow, time can slow a bit, you know? July 26, 2017 – 9:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I totally see the poop emoji in that curly fry!

    I agree with you that 8 is magical, and so is any age that is the age your kid is now. Teenagers aren’t like toddlers or 8 year olds, but they have their own magic that I’ve learned to just embrace and enjoy. Happy belated birthday to your fabulous 8 year old boy, Kristi!July 26, 2017 – 10:47 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Me too! Poop emojis everywhere! And I’m learning (slowly) that each age really does have its magic and thank you for the birthday wishes! xoJuly 26, 2017 – 9:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - Happy (late) Birthday sweet Tucker! Your summer is half over and mine id done, done, done! Kids started back at school today. Crazy. And we celebrated Cammy’s 10TH! birthday last week. No more single digits in my house:(>August 3, 2017 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you! Cammy’s 10?!?!!? Happy birthday, sweet boy! We so need to catch up!August 4, 2017 – 9:34 pmReplyCancel

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