Turning 10

A decade ago, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. It was approximately 2:15 a.m. It had been a long day. I didn’t get to sleep much the next day either, as I was sharing a hospital room (this was in NYC) with a woman who had just delivered her 5th child. She was totally on vacation in the absence of her other four children, talking on her cell phone the entire time. While I understand the sentiment now, back then I was happy to get out of the hospital and — this being NYC — walk home a few blocks up First Avenue.

That baby is now a 4th grader. I know many of these “my baby is ten!” type posts say “where has the time gone?” But I know where the time has gone, and I don’t feel like the decade has rushed past. It’s been full in many ways, not least of which is the existence of three more kids. We moved to Pennsylvania. The now 10-year-old is always entertaining us with his obsessive interests: the oldest living people, for instance, or the highest-grossing movies. He swims, does karate, and loves performing. He tolerates playing the piano and viola. He would like to get a dog but is settling for fish.

In a nice coincidence, he (and his 7-year-old brother) had the day off school today. So my husband and I took the morning off. We took the two of them out for breakfast at IHOP, and then went to Camden, NJ, to go to the Adventure Aquarium. We did the “shark walk” (a net over the shark tank) twice. We fed the stingrays. The hippos were up and moving. The 10-year-old got a stuffed snake at the gift shop and the 7-year-old got a light-up fidget spinner. The 7-year-old had been a bit whiny about the whole trip (which was driving me nuts; he wanted to play video games all day instead) but the fidget shut him up. So that was good. We’ll be making our own individual pizzas tonight after karate class. There might be some donuts too!

In other news: I reviewed Sen. Ben Sasse’s book, The Vanishing American Adult, in today’s Wall Street Journal (requires subscription). I was not terribly positive on it. I believe there have been vigorous types and whiny types in all generations, that old people have always complained about young people, and that some millennial behavior that drives people crazy is entirely rational. There’s nothing wrong with going to a 3 p.m. Pilates class if you’re going to be back working from 8-11 p.m. There’s nothing wrong with wanting feedback from your boss. Everyone wants feedback — and thanks to millennials, people are now more likely to get it!

In other book news: I just finished Eric Barker’s book, Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong. Eric writes a fun blog on social science, and this highly readable book presents the highlights of many studies out there. Nice guys finish first AND last, self-compassion is better than trying to navigate the tricky shoals of achieving the right amount of confidence, and focus is often the key to achievement (but having a hobby might help too). My one quibble was the section on overwork, where he uses Gallup numbers on how many hours people work to show a version of reality that I think is not supported by time diary data (such as the ATUS). However, I did learn a few things about Genghis Khan as a productivity expert that I didn’t know, so now I might try to find a biography of him somewhere…

6 thoughts on “Turning 10

  1. Happy birthday to your oldest! And happy 10th anniversary of motherhood to you. Eric Barker was the keynote speaker at a conference I spoke at a couple of weeks ago. He was a really good speaker, and I was sorry to have missed the first part of his talk while I was getting registered as a speaker. I was particularly intrigued by his discussion of self-compassion, which he was almost done with when I came in. I wondered if it was covered in his book. Now that I know it is, maybe I’ll pick it up! And since you’re looking for a Genghis Khan bio: I read Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford, several years ago and really liked it.

  2. Welcome to your second decade of motherhood!

    Enjoyed the WSJ review. Recently I have been grousing about millennials myself — I had a doozy of a finals week, with a couple of memorably difficult conversations with students (<- euphemism alert!). Living on the edge of a college campus also means I have a front seat for antics which bring out my inner curmudgeon, like texting while skateboarding.

    I am indulging in my annual post-finals escape, during which I read one of the fat Dickens novels in what's left of May. I was amused to read about the tavern guests who insisted "that virtue went out with hair-powder." Their pessimism seems to have been unwarranted, so perhaps I should tamp mine down as well.

    1. @Jamie- virtue went out with hair powder! That’s funny. Yep, the ancient Greeks complained about their students. Young people have always annoyed old people. Probably vice versa too 🙂

  3. I think what people mean with the “where did the time go?” comments is that there never would have been enough time. My son is turning 10 at the end of the month, and I think he’s an awesome almost-10-year-old, but I miss him as a baby, and a toddler, and a preschooler, and a 6-year-old. I do know where the time went, and a decade is a really long time, but I still feel like it went too fast.

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