In the Beginning There Were No Diapers by Tim Bete.
This book is basically a series of humorous essays on parenthood, by a man with four kids. The second essay made me think of poor Smock and her trials, because it concerns, in part, the "fertility police"--those people who feel called to discuss in public the number of children you have or will have.
Claiming you had four children on purpose will ensure a lecture on the pitfalls of large families. There is, however, one response that will silence the detectives.
Look protectively at your children and say, "Yes, all these are mine. I found them on sale in aisle five--buy three, get the fourth free." Then, follow up with, "Hey, the sign says, 'ten items or less.' I only have four kids, three bags of chips and a two-liter bottle of soda, so I'm under the limit."
While the first few essays were amusing, when I got to the essay "The Parable of the Dirty Laundry, and Other Miraculous Lessons" I found Zteen as a little boy:
Paul is frugal with his monetary treasure too. His money-management abilities emerged at an early age. It was clear by age two that Maria would be an actress. She's a drama queen and can make the removal of a Band-Aid look like a Shakespearean death scene. It was also clear that, if Maria succeeds on the Broadway stage, Paul will own the theater in which she acts.
At four years old, Paul was probably the only kid in America who read the Wall Street Journal. I'm kidding of course. He couldn't read at four, so he made me read it to him.....When he was two he began asking for some of the change when my wife and I were buying things. A penny here, a nickel there. Then, two years later, I found Paul counting his pile of coins.
"I have 102 dollars," he said......
"What are you going to do with all that money?" I gasped.
"Keep it," he said. "I'm going to keep it."
That's the same answer he gave when his preschool teacher asked him what he would do if he found a pot of gold. While the other preschoolers were busy imagining the candy and toys they would buy with their ports of gold, Paul was saving for retirement.
SO Zteen. Remind me to tell you someday of how I have the only kid who has actually ever purchased a television with saved up tickets from Putt-Putt Golf and Games.....
Bete has a clear eye for the humor and sweetness of daily life as a parent. This book would be a GREAT shower gift for someone having kiddo number 3 or 4 or more.
Best read a little at a time, it is a faith-filled, but not preachy, paean to parenthood.
Check it out.