October first was Child 3's 16th birthday - which makes me about 1,478 in parent years (parent years are like dog years only sliiiightly more intense). It dithered for weeks about telling us what it wanted for gift type things and what it would like to do and only very late in the game did it admit (roundaboutly) that it didn't want to put anyone out or make anyone do anything they didn't want to do. I rather loudly pointed out that we LIKE IT and it is OUR CHILD 3 and IT WAS GOING TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY OR ELSE at which point it decided that maybe it could agree to at least a dinner and things without the world coming to an end.
Because, it turns out, that's what it really wanted to do - just have dinner with its family. So my father (who was temporarily abandoned by my mother who had sibling type things to do) came over to have baba ganoush and dolmas while we had gyros and then we all enjoyed Non Fat Birthday Brownies and a choice of mint chocolate chip ice cream or fat free sorbet. We did NOT have candles since 16 candles plus 70 candles makes rather a lot of candles and our slightly elderly fire detector might not have survived the experience.
Yes, 70 candles as well as 16 because Child 3 shares its birthday. It's due to me realizing wisely that if one is going to inflict a husband and 2.5 children on one's loving parents one should make darn sure that when the .5 child hatches into full personhood it does so on one of said parent's birthdays. So Child 3, whenever it's convenient, shares its birthday with its grandfather which, I think, says a great deal about the style and sophistication of both of them.
I gave Child 3 an electric guitar for its birthday. It seemed a goodish sort of 16th present, and I'd like to say it was mostly due to Child 3's excellent musical ear but that's only partly true. Actually I knew it would love it AND it came with its own amp which has a plug in spot for headphones. Granted, we don't currently have an adapter dingus that will allow Child 3 to play all be-headphoned, but if I ever get over to the guitar shop near my work we COULD and that's what's important.
Child 3 picked up its new guitar and completely irritated its siblings by promptly learning and playing (by ear alone) four or so popular songs. It general foodles around a bit, then announces "Hey! Listen to what I figured out!" and rips out the first eight bars or so with admirable nonchalance. Child 1 put up with this for two weeks and then gritted its teeth and bought itself an ACOUSTIC guitar which it is already learning to strum out power chords on. This, of course, totally negates the whole brilliance of the amp-with-headphones thing, but it means Child 3 is happily acting as tutor - only two steps ahead of the student - and they both seem quite content.
This has been a year of challenge for Child 3. Not that it has had a hard or horrible year, it has simply opted for every difficult thing that has crossed its path. This summer it signed up for four camps - and not the kum-bah-ya singing, let's macrame a toaster and then do some interpretive dance: you can be "Lightning Struck Pine Tree" and I'll be "Spirit of Nature Overwhelmed by Selfish and Evil Human Kind!" sort - these were more, hey let's get up at 5 in the morning and run five miles! It has also signed up for every last honors or AP course(Advanced Placement for the non-American folks - if you do well enough on the test you can get college credit and earn your way out of some of the boring freshman stuff!).
A few weeks ago it asked to be dropped off at the foot of the mountain so it could just climb for a bit - away from the people and the school and the seventy-bajillion things it had fighting for space in its head. It climbed for 5 miles, and up about 2,000 feet (we sit at about... I don't know... 5,500 feet at our house? Something like that) and it found what it was looking for on a mountain top. What's really amazing though is that a couple of weeks later it peeled open that alone space and asked me to come along too. So I climbed with it (regretfully opting out of the sproinking mountain goat part of the program - I simply watched and admired) and we sat up on that rock and looked down over the valley alone together.
This weekend the siblings are coming along too, with the enthusiastic support of Child 3. It had found perfect solitude and because that solitude was so perfect it wanted to share it with us. Because it loves us.
Happy birthday Child 3.
ETA: This evening Child 3 found itself in sole command of the one working television in the house AND the game system. Its homework done, its parent busy with a print ad that has an unfortunate deadline, it was offered its choice of movie, tv or video game. It was waffling a bit when I happened to mention the presidential debates were on. Its deranged little eyes lit up - lit up I tell you - and it flung itself at the television, because, and I quote, "I like to figure out what they're really saying." I refuse to consider what this says about Child 3 but I do admit to feeling a little - just a little - smug that it picked this over our extensive DVD collection OR the chance to drive a digital car at unrealistic speeds around city streets that have walls that bizarrely do not crunch said digital car into oblivion when they are driven into at 100 mph. It is still watching. I'm beginning to be a little afraid...
ETA II: I admit that I am working furiously on said print ad (and I am nearly blind btw with the need to be original, eye-catching and sincere in a doggone 1/3 page vertical!!) with the door closed AND a bit of music on (which I hardly ever do because I get distracted by the music) simply so I don't hear said presidential debate. It's cowardly. It's wrong. But I would rather read it calmly and coldly in the morning and NOT shout at (often both) candidates when they say something inane. Or the question askers. Or the commenters. Or probably the innercent little watching-type people either. I admit to being a bit het-up about this here election.