My baby turned eight yesterday.

I'd like to think that there are more civilized societies out there, places where kids are better behaved and where they listen to their parents when they tell them "You will stop growing right now!" and that if we lived in one of those places, my son would still be two years old and a cuddly little mix of baby and boy, an adorable little creature who spoke in a language only I understood and who I'd still be able to carry on one hip and there'd be so much meat on his cheeks that when I kissed him, I'd get a mouthful of toddler that would leave an aftertaste of dirt and goldfish crackers on my lips, a flavor so pleasant that I can still taste it sometimes in my dreams.

But alas, we do not live in such a society and my child has allowed yet another birthday to sneak in through his bedroom window late in the night while I slept unsuspectingly in the next room. And even though he's only doing the thing that children are meant to do, I'm still having a hard time forgiving him for all this growing.

This year, in lieu of a birthday party, he decided that he wanted to go to an indoor water park that one of his friends from school had told him about. So on Saturday I took him and two of his friends to a place that could only be described as Chucky Cheese's tropical crackhead cousin's house. CoCoKeys water resorts are combination hotels/water parks/money vacuums with locations throughout the country, and most importantly!, one right here in Connecticut.

When I would tell people what our birthday plans were, every single one of them looked at me like I was crazy because who the hell in their right mind would take three eight-year old boys to a water park filled with hundreds of strangers and no help? But since I have never claimed to be in my right mind, I wasn't worried about it at all and as it turns out, my not right mind was right after all.

These boys were perfectly wonderful. And if you've ever known an eight-year old boy, you'd know how difficult it is for them to be perfectly wonderful for long stretches of time. You'd know how hard it is for them to be constantly nice and well behaved and still and listening when nature has given them perfectly good penises and don't you know? Penises mean you must eventually punch something or jump off something or spit on something because if you don't? Well if you don't, that penis just might fall off.

But these boys didn't get into any trouble and I was so proud of my son and the choices he's made in friends that I bought them all two ice-creams and let them come back to my house and throw baseballs at to each other after we finished at the park. And after their parents came and picked them up, I took that eight-year old son of mine and tucked him into his bed, said goodnight and turned down the light so he could fall asleep like a big boy should. But late that night, I crawled back into his bed and put my arms around him and kissed those cheeks of his long and hard. And for just a minute, I was so sure I could taste that slightest, sweetest flavor of dirt and goldfish crackers and for that split second, he was my baby once again.