Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Green Bottle Boy Turns 11 and Gets an Orthodontic Device to Celebrate!

How does a mom face the adolescent years when her son is Green Bottle Boy? Very very apprehensively. Of course, I do have to give him credit. He is the kid that we always predicted would be our trip to the emergency room and in all 11 years of his adventurous life, including times when he fell through a window protector, fell and hit his neck on the sharp edge of a table, swallowed a bug that flew into his mouth while walking down stairs, and being my only child to ever truly choke on something, he has never had a trip to the emergency room. That's actually pretty impressive.

Of course, he didn't start out so lucky. Green Bottle Boy was born with an extremely rare neural tube defect and leading up to his birth, we weren't even certain how long he would live. So, every March I reflect on how one simple brain surgery completely fixed the defect and he has thrived since even before it was corrected. The story of his birth, though so stressful at the time, is now a beautiful monument to how precious he is.

So, in reflecting upon what is wonderful about him, I have to say that one of the things I love the most is how his brain works. For instance, several months ago, I gave him a math placement test. I assumed that he would test into 5th grade in the new curriculum (which I ultimately didn't switch to), however, I thought I better be certain. I told him that he was supposed to do the first 15 questions, have me check it, complete the next 15 questions, have me check it, complete the next 15 questions, have me check it and then finally move on to the last set of questions.

"You need to do one section at a time and then have me check it. Do you understand? Because you don't need to move on to the next section if you miss too many of the questions in one section. Got it?"

"Yes Mom, yes Mom, I get it."

So, of course, he sat down and did the entire test without having me check. That's not the great part, though! The great part is that he failed the 4th-5th grade portions of the test, but passed the 6th-7-th and 8th grade parts with flying colors! Now, what in the world do you do with that?

He's obviously a really smart kid. He loves to read, is a gifted artist and musician, and is incredibly creative.

Some of my favorite quotes of his are:

1) (While holding his head in complete anguish over my lack of understanding) "I wish you could just be inside my head and understand what I'm trying to say!"

2) "Yes mom, I'll take care of the tarantula and you won't need to help with anything."

3) "I am too paying attention!"

4) "Why in the world did you put my desk in front of the window!? You should know better! The raindrop patterns are way more interesting than handwriting!"

I also love his fascination with nature. This kid, a kid who took years to figure out where exactly our living room was located, actually found a sun dried red ant on our red deck. The ant was "frozen" in a dramatic position, one arm reaching toward the sky as though it was begging for mercy as the sun relentlessly shined its rays on him.

His first word was, "Tree!" He was 11 months old. It was just really important to him. His second word was banana, which was pronounced, "Balalala" rather than the typical "Nana" that most kids use.

He loves identifying plants, tromping through the woods and just laying in the sun. He is really the quintessential little boy.

But, he's also not so little anymore!