Fear of Commitment

Today, I thought I would share a story from 2001 when Elder would have been just five years old . . .

The other night, Elder asked, “Mom, do I have to get married when I grow up?”

“No, Elder, but being married is nice.”  And because he has had objections to sleeping alone lately, I added, “You won’t have to sleep alone then.”

“But I don’t want to get married!”

“Okay, Elder.”

“Mom, when I grow up, will you tell everyone that I don’t have to get married?”

. . . So, here I am, with a grown up, almost twenty-two-year-old man, and I am dutifully informing everyone

Elder doesn’t have to get married.

Just so you know.

 

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Chances . . .

My boys always figured chances were never ending. Elder once even reminded me, “But Mo-om, God even gave Jonah a second chance.”

Yeah, argue that one.

Or with this one, from Younger, when he was three years old . . .

Younger enjoys bouncing on the sofa, despite my immediate protests. He usually takes a chance every week or so, just to check if I’ve changed my mind. And when I warn him with a simple and weary, “Younger,” he immediately follows with another attempt, just to check if I’m serious.

So, today, after the first admonishment and second bounce, I told him, “Younger, you do it again, and you’re in trouble.”

“Four more chances,” he bargained.

“No, you’ve got one more chance. You do it again, and you’re in trouble.”

“Four more chances,” he repeated, a clear threat to wail in his voice.

But I remained firm. “No.”

“But I want to do it four more times,” he cried.

And honesty is supposed to be an admirable trait.

Read My Face

As Younger’s graduation grows ever nearer, I grow ever more nostalgic. And I miss my little boy and I miss even those trying moments of raising a four year old who was smarter than he should have been . . .

The other day, Younger had pushed every button I had to push, jumped on every nerve I had on which for him to jump.  So, I started threatening him with his life.  Actually, it was probably the loss of Nintendo.  I can’t actually remember my exact words.  But I remember I threatened him and expected immediate obedience.  I guess I actually hoped for immediate obedience.  But instead . . .

“Say that again,” Younger, who had been standing behind me during my tirade, demanded.

Jaw locking, I glared down at him as he rounded me, his little head tilted backward so that he looked up at me.  “Why?”

“Because I need to see which face you used.”

Apparently, the my-brain-is-going-to-explode-any-second-and-wrath-will-rain-upon-your -head expression meant something to him and he scampered to his room.

I think, for the next eighteen years or so, the most recognizable arrangement of my features will express one desperate plea.

Help.

Book Smarts

Today was the first day of classes and after teaching five college classes in one day, I am absolutely exhausted, so I am sharing an old story from 2000 when Elder would have been four years old . . .

I have been reading a book in which the author states that after each disciplinary action, you should discuss with the child his misbehavior and your response.  Common sense, right?  I had actually already made a habit of such talks, although I decided I could probably do better.  So, the other day, Elder misbehaved – I can’t even remember what – and I had to scold him.  It wasn’t anything of any major importance – he didn’t even get sent to his room.  But I thought I should follow the verbal reprimand with an explanation.  Right?  So, I finished my scold with, “And do you want to know why?” only actually pausing for a breath, not an answer.  But before I could continue, Elder, who had patiently listened to the reprimand, barely glanced in my direction, and in a voice of absolute indifference, said, “No,” and walked away, leaving me staring then blinking and deflating slowly.

I guess I need to read the book to Elder?

Listen and Learn

Today, I am in the midst of grading final essays, which does not always positively impact my humor. So, I thought I would share an old story from 2000, when even at four years old, Elder knew one of life’s simple truths . . .

Last Wednesday, Dad dropped Mom off at the office, so she was with me when I picked the boys up from the babysitter.  On the short drive home, Elder was explaining something to his Mama — I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  But whatever it was, he apparently didn’t believe he was receiving the attention the matter warranted because he told her, very firmly, “Listen, Mama.  If you don’t listen, then you’ll never learn.”

. . . And of course, Elder has always believed we should be listening to him to do our learning.

What is painful is when he is right.

Nekkid Horses

Here is an old story from 2001 when Elder would have been not quite five years old and Younger not quite two . . .

Younger loves Toy Story I and II and, therefore, he loves all the related toys — Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Rex the Dinosaur and Bull’s Eye, Woody’s Horse. One Saturday, the boys and I decided to visit Mama and Papa — and my sister and nephew who were also at the house. On my way out the door, I grabbed Younger’s toys but I deliberately left Bull’s Eye’s saddle at home, as I figured it could easily be lost among all of Mom’s toys.

Once we were at Mom’s, I scattered the toys on the table in front of Younger then proceeded to converse with my sister as she made cookies. After a moment, my nephew appeared at my elbow to inspect Younger’s toys. Pointing at Bull’s Eye, he told me, “I have one of those.”

“Oh, you do?”

“Yep.”  He nodded. “But mine’s not nekkid.”

So, later, having heard my nephew’s comment, Elder dug through the basket of toys beside our sofa until he found the saddle. Unaware that I watched, he firmly stuck the saddle on Bull’s Eye back, muttering, “Well, now he’s not nekkid.”

But, you know, if horses without saddles are nekkid, I pass a farm on my daily trip to work that has some sorely embarrassed animals.

Recommended Ages

Yesterday was Younger’s eighteenth birthday, so today I thought I would share this story from 2004. For the record, Younger can still out talk the best of them . . .

My youngest nephew loves balls, so I thought I might buy him one as a little extra present at Christmas.  And I found one that resembled an octopus with a thousand legs, and uncharacteristically, I did not check the recommended ages.  I just bought it on a whim.  But, apparently, the hundreds of tentacles that actually attracted me to the ball is a danger to children under three.

My nephew is one.

Younger, however, is six.

“Mom,” he said, pulling the ball from the depths of the paper bag from the toy store.  “Owen is not over the age of three.  He cannot have this ball.”  Then he cast me a glance from the corner of his eye.  “You need to find someone who is over the age of three.  Like me.  I’m six.  I am over the age of three.  I could have this ball.  Can I have the ball, Mom?”

I believe that the children under the age of three simply cannot  out talk the children over the age of three, which is why they are not allowed to have the ball with the thousand tentacles.

And that is what they mean by recommended ages.