Fifteen years ago, today (yes - I got it wrong TWICE), I went into labor with my first spawnling after enjoying a lovely nine months PLUS two weeks of pregnancy. Truly, I really enjoyed the pregnancy part. Never an issue. I suck, I know.

Ten hours and one epidural later, they told me my baby was in trouble and a c-section was imminent. At that point, I had no qualms. "Get the baby. Get the baby. Get the baby," was all I could think. Well that and, "OW!" A host of things happened in quick succession after the doctor's announcement:

~ The epidural came loose? out? It moved to where it was not supposed to go. Thus, the lovely drugs went where they were not supposed to go and where they would not help even the tiniest twinge of pain.

~ After FIVE more tries (utter misery) to get a new one inserted, they decided it wasn't going to happen and wheeled me into the operating room.

~ Once in the OR, they administered a spinal block, meant to deaden everything from mid-back down. It didn't. It deadened everything from my NECK down, and though the nurse by my head was able to prove that I was breathing - indeed, I could feel my breath on my hand - I could not FEEL myself breathe and therefore... I. Could. Not. Breathe.

~ I hyperventilated. Right as Mr. Clean, all dressed up in scrubs, was walking into the room.

~ The last thing I remember was someone saying, "She's hyperventilating; knock her out." And then they gave me general anesthesia.

I woke up sometime later and had a gorgeous baby boy with a slightly mishapen head due to him being so far down in the birth canal, even though my body was saying, "Umm, yeah... I'm not going to get big enough for you - Ever - so you might as well go back the way you came." I, of course, took off the little cap they'd put on him and found a head full of strawberry blonde hair. "Oh," I thought, "he's going to be a red head."

Nah... he's a goldilocks. Blonde as can be. I didn't cut his hair until he was well past two years old. He had the most delicious little curls and, besides a brief episode of colic, he was such a good baby - never fussed, never screamed, and slept through the night after just five weeks. I should have known the best was yet to come.

His first word was, "No."

When he turned two, he began to paint his bedroom with POOP. Every! Day! I'd put him down for nap and an hour later, the smell would waft through the house, alerting me to a new Poop-caso masterpiece. Once, I duct-taped his diaper on so he could not revel in his new-found artistic expressions. I found him, the bed, and the room painted head to toe - ceiling to carpet - with the brown stuff. He wore a belt of duct tape, a small remnant of diaper peeking out from beneath it.

We tried everything, including putting his pajamas on backwards. Nothing worked. We finally collapsed and just accepted that our child would maybe make millions someday with his artwork. Thank GOD it did not last.

At three, he discovered locks. And how to UNlock them. And how to Leave. The. House. We would awaken to find stacks of furniture at the front door, used to climb up and get even the topmost chain lock on the door.... and he would be GONE. Lucky for us, our yard was very well fenced, we had five very big dogs who loved him and would not let him leave the yard (to the point of gentle diaper grabbing and retrieval), and his grandparents were just next door within the same yard (ultimately, his destination because Grandpa would make him pancakes).

Before you go all "crazy" on me... let me explain something about this situation: If we woke up at 4:00am, he had left at 3:58. If we woke up at 5:00 am, he'd been gone since 4:30. If we woke up at 6:00am, he'd have walked out the door at 5:55. We could Not. Catch. Him. We took turns sleeping on the couch and still could not catch him. He was a stealthy child. He made it past door alarms and locks. We removed the doorknob on the front door and replaced it with a double deadbolt, plus a chain lock, and an alarm, and STILL, he escaped. My own personal Houdini spawn.

At four, he got up early one morning and emptied the refrigerator of its contents. He then dragged said contents to his bedroom and proceeded to pour/mash ALL OF IT into his carpet. It was a lovely mixture of iced tea, milk, apple juice, chocolate syrup, ketchup, and various other condiments. That was the year we replaced the flooring in his room with linoleum. Seriously.

Age 5 - We sent him to Kindergarten and told them, "Have LOADS of fun. We have!" --- Turns out he's a perfect angel at school.

Now, he's taller than I am. He's grown his hair back out to the point of curling up at the ends. This week, he picked all of his classes for his Sophomore year of high school and instead of picking all the easy stuff, went for the all the classes that will make him look awesome for college. He bleeds maroon and is destined to be an Aggie. He plays baseball like it's the last thing he'll ever do on earth. He occasionally forgets his manners and talks back to his mother at home but regularly receives raving reviews for being so polite and respectful away from home. There were a lot of r's in that sentence.

It's really hard to believe he's 15. (Sometimes, I feel 15 myself) He's still my baby, though, and while he may not hug me as much as he used to... he's still his momma's boy.

Happy Birthday, Shaggy. I love you kiddo.
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