On this day, three years ago, I gave birth to my first child.
Well… my first brainchild, anyway.
I don’t have children of my own, so three years ago, I decided to adopt. Instead of choosing babies or school-age children, I went with three twenty-somethings. I christened them Kendrick, Savannah, & Conner, and I have to say that for being non-existent, they quickly consumed my life. I created them, nurtured them, loved on them, and protected them fiercely with the power of my pen… er, keyboard.
When it was time to send them off into the dark and scary world of beta readers, I sat alone and wrung my hands and worried over whether people would accept my babies and love them like I did.
When women started to obsess over Kendrick and say they wished he was real, I held my head high like any proud momma and thought to myself, “yep, that’s my boy!”
When people criticized Savannah for being too indecisive and for leading both men on, I ground my teeth in righteous indignation and staunchly defended her choices.
Oh, and when people say how much they can’t stand Conner… my Mama Bear instincts come out strong.
My triplets have a handful of friends, enemies, and acquaintances that I have to contend with. Some are fictional (Landon, Roma, Fidel… I can handle them); others, not so much (critics, bloggers, readers… they require a bit more delicacy). They also have to accept that they have peers out in the world who are a lot more successful & well-liked than they are. (That’s hard for me to accept sometimes, too.) The upside is this means they also have a plethora of predecessors from which to choose and emulate. (ie: “Savannah, you may NOT behave like that Anastasia Steele!”… “Kendrick, you could learn a thing or two from Mr. Darcy– take notes.”)
Anyway, if you’ve raised a child, you know the importance of milestones. For whatever reason, we’ve gotta know where our kids are, where they’ve been, where they’re likely going… & how soon they’ll get there. So, in the spirit of my “kids’” third birthday, here is my unprofessional opinion of where they are as determined by the yardstick set forth by the CDC:
By the age of three, one should be able to:
- Show a wide range of emotions– Conner covered this one the moment Roma slapped a Ciferous on him. He’s up! He’s down! He’s kissing Norana! He’s knocking her against the wall! He’s trying to kill Kendrick! He’s trying to save Kendrick! GOAL MET.
- Understands what “two” means– No, I’m not kidding. This is really listed. Savannah met this benchmark the day she allowed both Kendrick & Conner to stay under her roof. She not only understands what “two” means, but she’s mastered what it means to love, wrangle, and try to please two very different men. (Don’t take this to mean I’m admitting that’s she’s indecisive… )
- Walks up & down stairs, one foot on each step– “Kendrick continued to haul me away, and he did not stop until we were at the foot of the stairs. I made it as hard as possible for him to contain me, and kept my feet running against the floor so if he made an error and let me go I could race back to Conner. He just sighed and scooped me up into his arms.” Needless to say, we’re still working on this one…
- Says first name, age, and sex– Savannah pretty much tells Kendrick she wants sex… does this count?
- Separates easily from mom and dad– Conner has no problem telling others he’s an orphan who lost his parents in a freak boating accident as a teenager… only problem is, they’re very much alive.
- Shows affection for friends without prompting– Savannah makes out with Conner after guzzling some wine, then later tells him she thinks of him like a brother. If that ain’t affection…
- Dresses and undresses self– Thankfully, Kendrick is very adept at taking off his own shirt so we can see his rippling muscles and feel his strong arms as they wrap around Savannah. And for those moments when he’s not able to dress himself, like when it comes to complicated trenchcoats? Savannah’s happy to do it for him. And we’re happy to watch. (Now, if only we could see that scene in movie form…!)
- May get upset with major changes in routine– “Conner looked as if the idea amused him. ‘Uncomfortable? Who said anything about uncomfortable? Savannah invited you to stay here, and it’s her house. As long as she doesn’t mind all the extra work that comes with a bunch of houseguests, I’m cool. It’ll be like a slumber party.’”
- Shows concern for crying friend– My boy Conner decides to put everything on the line and save Kendrick from Landon’s threats once he sees Savannah embrace him tearfully and beg him to return to her someday. WELL DONE, son.
- Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”– And, in a less noble moment: “Savannah… this house… this town—all my territory. You got that?” To be fair, this attitude DID help him meet this benchmark.
- Runs easily– Pssh. Run? Please. My kids can fly & teleport.
There you have it. We’re not perfect, but I think we’re doing okay. While we haven’t made it on any national bestseller lists yet, we do have a strong group of loyal friends & followers invested in our well-being and determined to see us succeed in the literary world.
That’s all any mom wants for her children.