Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What does it mean to be a Little Boy?

     My fearless adventurer, my Kamikaze Kid. My heart-healer from the first miscarriage. The brother for the first son, my perpetual motion machine, the penny swallower. The treasure I was terrified I'd lose when I had that episode of costochondritis when I was about 7 weeks pregnant with him.
     He wears out the knees of every pair of pants that come his way despite manufacturer's guarantees otherwise. It is virtually impossible for him to stay clean outdoors unless it is a direct line from door to vehicle. Even then, detours to dirt or puddles happen.

     He laughs, he forgives, he never stops moving. He asked his 15-year-old cousin, "Do you know who you're going to marry?" It wouldn't have surprised me if his next question had been, "If you could have a dinosaur as a pet, which one would you choose?" followed by, "What is your favorite kind of ice cream?"

     This is the little boy who hated, was terrified of, the swings. His whole body would go rigid and he'd scream until taken out. He would panic whenever he'd see his baby sister in one--not because he wanted it but because he was afraid for her. Now, though, he helps her in and out and even will push her.
     He takes her bug-hunting in the back yard and once stepped in when a game of "chase" got too rowdy for his taste. Never mind his sister's playmate was within a month and pound of her; he still felt it necessary to put himself between them, fists on his hips to say, "That's MY little sister." His tone implied that this interloper had better not take liberties--he was being watched.

     He is exhiliarated on his bicycle (now that the training wheels are securely attached, of course). He wanted to join his big brother, 5 years his senior, on the soccer field. He wants to play baseball and maybe he will.
     There is no "middle ground" with Louis, no "second gear." It's full-tilt. I've said that it's either Seal Team Six or 25 to life for him; he'll grow up to do something death-defying and noble or, well, he'll end up incarcerated in the effort. A desk job, architect, attorney, engineer? No way. Not enough adrenaline there. Fire fighter? Absolutely.
     This is the child who made me understand those backpacks with leashes. He is my "picnic bathroomer" even when he's in his own back yard, or the park full of other families, or at the soccer field. No shame or modesty in that one. This is the one who, when he goes missing somewhere like a park or museum, I just throw up my hands and pray for. To panic is useless.

     He exhausts me, charms me, entertains and infuriates me. Like all my children, I love him more with every breath.

     And he's signed up for kindergarten at a Montessori school this fall. He can already read, so why do I feel the need to send him? And why him instead of anyone else? Am I sending my "problem child" off for someone else to deal with? Is that why I feel guilty? Or is it because I feel like I haven't tried hard enough to figure him out, to provide what he needs? Or am I just tired, or lazy, and can't bear to do kindergarten again? Am I misjudging things, putting academic expectations on him too early, seeing a problem where none exists that would be solved simply by time regardless of location?
    While I realize millions of children start kindergarten every fall, and both they and their mothers live to tell the tale, I am agonized over this. He, on the other hand, is excited. He gets a backpack! And lunchbox! He can't wait to go every day! I'll have to be sure he doesn't see my tears on his way out the door.

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