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Free Tingers

By Richie Ann Ashcraft

Marek woke up on the 4th of July and yelled "I'm Freeeeeee!" Then he proceeded to jump up and down on the bed to his own song of babble in a birthday celebration dance.

This is how he usually wakes up, full of spitfire and rearing to go. I usually have to peel my eyelids off my face, reach blindly for one of his flailing arms and try to wrestle his stocky little body into a ball next to mine.

"I love you, Mommy," he says while he kisses my face and uses his baby hand to stroke my hair.

That morning, we spent some time trying to learn how to hold only three fingers up. Holding the little finger with the thumb is just a concept he can't grasp yet.

Finally, he laughed and said "pull my tinger like daddy does." I absolutely refused.

That's my Marek. He's all boy. Puppy dog tails, snail shells, guns, farts and tractors. He can't wait to ride a horse and lasso some bad guys.

How'd he get this way? His psuedo-hippie parents can't figure it out except to say he's taken the chickens and the garden have heart.

Since he couldn't have a real pony for his birthday, he had to settle for a horse cake. He helped me decorate it the night before, more interested in eating frosting from the can than the cake, until I added a chocolate chip to the eyeball. Then he screamed "Yee Haw, I'm a cowboy birfday," and ran out the back door to chase the chickens.

(You can find this and other cake ideas at Parenting.com)

He was so excited for his party. He greeted everybody at the door and tried over and over again to show them his free tingers. He never did get it right.

His party ended up being pretty simple. I'm proud of that really because I have a tendency to go overboard. What? Me? Really?

His grandparents rented a giant bump-n-jump slip 'n slide.

I watched as he set his stocky legs, ran full speed and threw himself into the stream of water, laughing hysterically as the other kids greeted him with tickles.

I paused for a minute. Should I clean up? Chat with the adults?

"Come on mommy!" he yelled.

I kicked off my flip-flops, ran full speed, belly flopped and tried my best to knock the kids down like bowling pins.

Marek threw his arms around me and said "Yesterday, I was free...."

Yeah, baby boy, that's what I was thinking.


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How precious! I can’t believe how big all your boys are getting. I love seeing how they are growing up into such fine boys!

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