This weekend, Christian and Jasmine learned a new trick. She is now his co-pilot.
He had wanted badly to let her run along beside him while he pedaled. So be it, I said. And, they did. It’s something. Jasmine actually pays attention to his every move, as if to say, “See? I told you I could do it!”
Kona, on the other hand, is quite perplexed. “Stay within our sight!” I yell as they ride and run off. Kona tugs on the leash, begins to wimper, moving into full whine. And, then high pitched barks. “Wait,” I scold her, “only Jasmine may do that!” Not to worry, Kona gets her chance, every once and a while. But, poor thing, she doesn’t seem to get the anticipate-the-bike and slow down parts.
Christian is happy. I am happy and predict many adventures with his co-pilot.
I wish I were a poet.
That way, I could bury my emotions behind a piece of art, of prose. Instead of focusing on me, people would focus on the art, trying to interpret it instead of me.
When facing fear, I fall behind a smile, a laugh…”It’s okay, really.” Afraid to expose my feelings, wanting to scream, “DON’T MAKE ME SHARE!”
I wish I were a poet.
To share or not to share. How much as a parent am I really supposed to discuss with and expose to our twelve-year-old son? Ken is better at sharing than I am. He’s not squeamish. He’s matter-of-fact and lays it out for the taking. Which, I think in the long run, is good and healthy.
I’m still working on it. Sometimes, topics come up at the dinner table that make me want to crawl out of my skin and go hide under a blanket. But, that’s okay. Maybe I’m growing up, too. As I reflect, I appreciate that we can discuss taboo subjects as a family in a mature, unemotional, and nonjudgmental way.
Don’t overreact. My mom’s cousin offers this: Don’t appear shell-shocked when your kid tells you something you may not want to hear. Poker face it all the way, baby. Or, at least until you have had time (and, maybe a drink) to consider your options. Older children are guaranteed to clam up the moment they think you don’t get it, or don’t ever want to get it.
Adults want teens to share their private thoughts. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Ann Lukits reports that teens who share their secrets are better adjusted.
Perhaps as parents, we can open our minds and share a bit more, too.
Not summer is my favorite time at the beach in South Carolina.
our impromptu small investment in a spanking new 24-hour emergency vet clinic Jasmine’s unfortunate intake of 70 (yes SEVENTY) 200 mg ibuprofen tablets last week and her subsequent three-night stay at the animal hospital, we now keep dibs on her pretty much all of the time. Oh, not familiar with what happened? In short, I found her lying on our bedroom floor, tail wagging, munching on the pills like candy. Yum! So much better than paper towels.
Not to worry, she’s just fine. Thankfully.
But, we have a new habit: Keeping up with Jasmine. Now, the sounds of “Where’s Jasmine?” ring out from downstairs to up. “Is she with you?” “Come Jasmine!” “Jas-mine, where are you?”
Yes, just like when Christian learned to walk and cared to do nothing but explore everywhere, oh that seems-like-it-will-never-end phase when parents eat in shifts, we now require Jasmine to be within view at all times.
So, when you wonder something like When are we ever going to take down that child gate on the stairs? you never know why you didn’t until you need it. Oh, and those childproof lids? They are not Jasmine-proof.
Christian began middle school yesterday. It was different from any other “first day” we’ve experienced. For all of the others, he was a little boy. The changes from year-to-year were not so extreme.
He began this summer as a fifth grader, still in elementary school, shorter, with curly, blond hair. He had never been to a sleepover camp. He had never once discussed girls in that way.
When I started middle school, I felt awkward in a foreign land, having spent my first five years of school in not quite the Outback. But, Christian was enthusiastically autonomous as he prepped Tuesday night, as he strode off to the bus stop alone Wednesday morning. It means a lot to his parents that Christian had such a great day–we had a great day. Middle school seems to suit him: It’s a bit rough around the edges, there’s more diversity, less rules, old friends, new friends. That’s all I may share. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.
(queue sentimental moment)
As I think of Christian growing up, I often recall this song by my favorite band EVER. Though it is intended for a daughter, it pretty much sums up for me the experience of seeing my son grow up before my eyes, how fleeting time is even though I am right by his side, almost every single day.
(queue needle scratching-across-a-record sound, interrupting said sentimental moment)
Christian would rather I consider a tune on today’s Top 40 list.
(queue blank thought)
Off he goes!
As I drove into the cul-de-sac yesterday evening, I noticed our neighbor’s daughter being pushed in a Cub Mobile by a child I did not recognize. As I slowed down, said boy ran up to my car with a huge grin on his face. It was then I realized that he was MY son.
I had been preparing myself for this. I mean, Ken had texted a photo of Christian mid-haircut. Mid-chop. I was still surprised. All through dinner, we kept commenting on how different he looked, how mature he had suddenly become.
Since he was a tot, and his blond ringlets began to sprout, we’ve been reluctant to give into to more than just a trim. We relied upon Christian’s mop of toehead curls to pick him out of a crowd. This is the end of an era. Time to grow up.
The new do
One must choose your battles, so they say. Especially as a parent.
When a child is younger, it’s easy to encourage him to make the right choice, your choice. So sweet, so innocent.
But, as time passes, there’s a turning point when he realizes he has a say. San Francisco, July, 2008: Seven-year-old Christian had a say. With his very own spending money, he proclaimed, he would invest in whatever and however much he wanted to from the hotel vending machine. Not my battle. Go for it, son.
The current version of Christian’s bedroom is also not my battle. There are minimal standards (after all, who do you think I am ?): No dirty clothes, trash, or food. That’s it. Otherwise, it’s a man cave-in-training. His refuge.
Christian begins middle school next week. There will be battles. As parents, we must consider each one carefully. Sigh.