Monday, April 11, 2016

all parents, all the time

I'm writing about the kid a lot, because I'm not interested in publicly writing about work or my well-being right now, and the kid is growing up in that way kids do where they suddenly get 3 feet taller and even more interesting to talk to (to the extent they'll talk to you). Because I acquired him partly-grown, after the bodily-fluids phase, I am probably not quite so astonished that he no longer weighs 15 pounds, but he was still 4 years old when we met, so, yannow. We've had some time together.

(I could write about the garage, I guess, and how it's mostly held together by termite vomit, so now we've bumped up the priority of rebuilding it, but zoning laws mean we can't build an apartment over it, only rebuild it exactly as it is, and then the cost estimate also had one more decimal place than we expected. But that's really the whole story in one sentence, and there's nothing funny or insightful about it.)

The boy is endlessly interesting, because we can scarcely imagine his experience of the world, and his brain is just a black box: we feed stuff in, and there is only failure in predicting what comes out, or when. He routinely repeats conversations verbatim from years ago, but then sometimes he'll be in the middle of a conversation and you'll have to repeat half of your second-to-last sentence, because not only did he get distracted by something inside his head, his distraction was so total and so short that he just checked out completely somehow.

At age 11, he is now differentiating from his parents, which (for many reasons) I've been looking forward to for years and years. This is about when the world starts treating kids like human beings with emotions and opinions, and kids get used to responding as such. (I think most kids are not treated like full human beings, and when I try to do that they get confused and it's all awkward because I've deviated from the script.) He's getting the hang of numerous social interactions, and is being duly prepared for the whole new level of academic and behavioral keeping-his-shit-together he faces in middle school.

Despite his concerns about managing some future life without his parents, he has not shown much urge to learn the necessary skills, so more and more we burden him with the parts of his dinner that involve taking stuff out of the fridge. He can take on the aggrieved air of a hedge fund manager who is forced to take a limo to the Hamptons, instead of a helicopter.
"I have to get the turkey and juice myself?"
"Next you'll be making me make the macaroni and cheese!"
"Someday, that's the idea!"
I'm sure he can imagine the table service declining to that point, but chooses not to dwell on it and hopes the issue goes away. And really, can you blame him?

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