Originals are something special.
Take the original eight NHL franchises. Consider the original 12 Star Wars figures. Just contemplate the Original Pancake House. (Careful … I nearly derailed this thought). There also are original members of a guy’s blog tribe.
They’re the ones who showed up back in the day. Sometimes, they stick around.
Jenn of Jenn’s Midlife Crisis fits that description. Once, Coach Daddy was just an infant of a blog. It was all colicky and had diaper rash … well, Jenn left comments in those days. She was the first Canadian to frequent this space.
And her own blog became a favorite of mine.
Jenn also has a rare honor. She’s a parent of one kid in diapers and another in driving lessons. That’s what she’s here to tell us about.
Jenn is a mom of two boys, who wears sassy green boots. I remember telling her that once in an early comment. She was 16 when she had Big Guy, and Little Guy came 16 years later.
She’s committed to a life of more laughter. I’m down with that!
You’ll love her way of telling a good story, so be sure to check out Jenn’s Midlife Crisis, too.
Diapers and Driving Lessons…at the same time. That had certainly not been “the plan.” The “plan” had been university and law school. The “plan” had been a career, a husband, and a little house with a white picket fence before kids. I was a “good girl”, a straight-A student, a high-achiever…and I was going places. But at the end of Grade 10 at barely 16, I found out I was pregnant. The “plan” was shot to pieces.
So I weighed my options, developed a new “plan,” and started a great adventure instead. Instead of university, I did two college degrees, so I could get a job to support us. My parents were a wonderful support and we were happy together, but I didn’t want to live with them forever. Hubby entered the picture when Big Guy was 4; we were married when he was 6, and we adopted him (just in case there’s any question, Big Guy is mine x2). The house came later…a semi-detached “retro” look with a car port and a persistent problem with the plumbing. No picket fence.
Fast-forward 10 years when we were ready to expand our family. Where Big Guy was an astonishingly fast surprise, Little Guy was an incredibly long wait, one I despaired that would go on forever. And so…Diapers and Driving lessons. I’d slap a clean diaper on Little Guy, strap him in the back seat and we’d take Big Guy driving (secretly, I sometimes wished I had a clean diaper on too)!
Big Guy was the same age I was when he was born – 16! But there are advantages to a 16 year difference between siblings:
1. Instant Babysitter/Assistant
We never took advantage of him, but sometimes we needed that extra pair of hands. Like the one time I was crying louder than the crying baby and I handed him off to Big Guy, and stepped outside to sob for awhile. Or the time we had to tackle a Defcon5 poopy diaper…or simply to savour a rare moment in the bathroom…alone!
2. Effective Birth Control
At no age does any child want to imagine what their parents were doing behind closed doors, and here was the fruit of our activity. (I may never be a grandmother as a result)!
3. Greater Respect for Mom
It may have only been a brief pause, but it did give him pause when I reminded him that “I was your age when you were born…and you didn’t sleep through the night until you were 2, and I was still in school!”
4. Increase sociability
Big Guy had to get out of the house to avoid the screaming and crying. Sometimes it was the baby; I tried to keep it down!
5. No fighting
… over toys, friends, or who looked at who first.
6. Teaching responsible driving
Not only did he have me in the car watching his every move (and wearing a hole in the passenger floor where there should have been a brake pedal), but he had this precious baby staring at him in the rear-view mirror.
7. We were mistaken for a couple
Big Guy wasn’t impressed, but if someone wants to assume I’m in my 20s, glory be!
8. Daddy-training without the responsibility
Big Guy can diaper without getting peed on, bathe without wearing all the bubbles, dress a toddler on the run, and almost reason with a screaming child. He knows how to read stories and cuddle a sleepy child. He also knows how many adults it takes to clean up a child with explosive poop (the answer is three)! But he never had to worry about fevers at 3 a.m., fixing lunch, or the endless pile of dirty laundry.
9. Toys & Technology
Big Guy is great at unscrewing nano-screws to change batteries and getting us through the tough levels in video games. He has also perfected the art of dismantling toys screwed, taped or tied into stiff cardboard boxes with plastic twist ties so tightly that anything short of an apocalyptic explosion would set the toy free.
Even though he was old enough to mete out discipline, we encouraged Big Guy to just be the “cool big brother”! Of course, I never mind when he tells Little Guy “don’t talk back to your mother” (wink, wink)
Since Little Guy first came home from the hospital, Big Guy has been right there! I love watching my boys playing together. Big Guy will be 25 next week and has been out on his own for a few years in another city. Thankfully he visits often. And once in awhile, Little Guy and I visit him for a “sleep over” at his place. It’s like camping…in a very scary jungle.
The “plan” in high school was a good plan. The adventure has been better, even if it involved Diapers and Driving Lessons!
I am with Jenn that you can have all these great plans, but the best plan that takes form is the one that ends up happening when you least expect. Truly loved this and thank you for sharing with us today 😉
I think the less time we spend wondering why things happened and the more we spend in the next step, the more happiness we can find. At least I hope so.
I totally hope so, too 😉
I sit (too early to stand) in awe of Jenn’s story. I cannot fathom having two children 16-years apart in age. I use to have friend who was in almost the same situation or it may as well be. Her two boys are separated by 12 or 13 years. My brain just couldn’t wrap around the oddity of that whole situation. I totally appreciated the humor in Jenn’s relive experience and determination to reset her sight on a new game plan. Many young girls (boys, too for that matter) do not have that kind of drive when life throws them a curve or in this case a bump. Thanks for introducing Jenn to me. I’ll stop by her blog for a little visit. Have an awesome week!
It’s an incredible story, isn’t it Cathy? I know you’ll enjoy Jenn’s blog, too.
Loved this – so cool that even though your original plan didn’t happen things all worked out in such a great way!!!
She has the right attitude, doesn’t she Kim?
What is it with women and picket fences? (I don’t have one either)
Loved reading about diapers and driving lessons. What a roller coaster ride life threw at you while you were busy making other plans! Not sleeping and having to be alert in class the next morning, respect!
An old insomniac mom who couldn’t do it.
All these adventures shaped Jenn into quite a mom, didn’t they Tamara?
Thank you Eli (x infinity & beyond) for trusting me in your world – and what an ego boost, just when I was about to give up! My feet may not touch the ground for weeks! 🙂 I lost track of the days so what a marvelous surprise at the end of another long work day (seriously – church members have started dying at an alarming rate since I started working in the church office. I’m starting to take it personally!) BIG blessings!
Jenn, you’ve been here with me since the beginning. This was a long time coming! You giving up would be a travesty. People around here loved your story, just like I did. I know a couple are going to check out your spot, and I suspect they’ll stick around.
Please feel free to respond to comments here – they’re for you!
And thank you for sharing your story on my space. It’s an honor to have you here.
Wonderful story. I loved the screaming comment. Too funny!
Glad you liked it Nelson – if you don’t know Jenn, you should check out her blog!
While I know Jenn, and her story, I absolutely love her blog and the humor she uses to put life in perspective. I have a lot of respect for her, and love her blog.
Agreed, on all points! So glad you followed her over here.
I think I am in love! What a fantastic story and wonderful writer! I believe the best plans are the ones that simple happen without planning at all.
Yes – life has a way of giving us something better than we imagine, sometimes, Tiffany.
Delightfully written. I had three children aged ten, eight, and seven when I met and married my second husband. And then, out popped number four, who is now in those terrible, terrific two’s. I have three ready-made sitters,( fairly) game potty-trainers, and expert teachers on the finer points of superheroes and lego-construction. And, I must say, it’s kind of fun doing it again, even if my bones creak more. PS Eli, my blog is in its colicky stage. From what I can see, it gets better, doesn’t it?
I love your attitude about it! And yes, it gets nothing but better. You’ll see.
Just getting to read this and I love it! What a special bond between brothers even if there is a big age gap. Bravo to their mom and dad!!
Glad you enjoyed it Marie!