Photo: Even in winter, the sunrise doesn’t disappoint. I do not love the ice and snow, but I’m doing my best to find the beauty in the season. I stood on my front steps to take this picture. In the stillness of the morning, I heard birdsong and was pleasantly surprised. “Who is still here?” I asked the day.I think I’m going to go to Ace and buy some birdseed later. Perhaps we should build a birdhouse for the winter birds?
Sitting at dinner yesterday, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor announced which books they’d picked up from the school library. Minor is into vehicles and has been picking up a lot of Early Readers about cars and the like. This week, it’s race cars. I’m so bored with race cars. Major picked up yet another SkippyJon Jones book. He loves the silliness. The Husband and I grimaced. We don’t love the SkippyJon books.
For those readers unfamiliar, SkippyJon is a Siamese cat with especially large ears, so he self-identifies as a chihuahua and goes on adventures. He does this while using a few Spanish words here and there, then rhyming them… everything usually ends with “-ito” and it’s all innocent, but… Sometimes it feels like we’re laughing at the language rather than with it. You know? So I don’t love reading it and I wish the boys would stop bringing those books home. We don’t actively discourage, though, because we want them to develop a love of reading. Part of that process is giving them the full freedom to choose the books they want to enjoy.
The Husband, of course, has different objections to the books. “What’s with kid’s books these days? Everyone is always not following directions or making potty-talk for entire books. I mean, those Captain Underpants books are just one long potty-talk-fest.”
The boys immediately started laughing. “Yeah! It’s hilarious!”
“And what’s up with SkippyJon. Why do you like him so much?” I asked Major.
“Because he doesn’t listen to his Mama and that’s funny,” my eldest replied.
“So SkippyJon doesn’t listen to his mom. George and Harold are delinquents at school. I mean, what are we teaching kids these days?” The Husband complained. It was all light-hearted, but we are sounding like cranky old people. This is all just a prelude to boys screaming at us ten years from now “you just don’t understand! You’re too old to get it!”
“When I grow up, I’m going to stop listening to you and following directions, just like SkippyJon!” Major pronounced.
But when you read that, don’t hear attitude. Hear… a boy. He sat up straight with defiance in his eyes, but then his voice wavered in the middle of it, and he sat back and made himself a little smaller. It was one of those kind of moments where he tested the boundary and felt good about it, but knew in his heart that he wouldn’t cross it.
What he doesn’t know, but I certainly do, is that he will cross that boundary someday. He must, actually. And when he does, I’ll be there for it, consequences and lessons and all.
“Just remember that ideas have consequences, little boy. And so do choices. All choices have consequences,” I said.
Both boys muttered to themselves and made eye-contact with each other. “We’re gonna get big and stop listening…” Minor said into his drink. “You’ll see.”
Yeah, I’ll see. And you’re right. And God help us all. May we all, in our own ways, survive it. You, especially.
I actually take it as a compliment that my two boys have secret rebellious yearnings to breathe free. It means that the rules that The Husband and I have set for this house and their lives have real merit and weight. The boys see them and feel them. They even respect them, in a way. The rules aren’t so egregious as to merit full and open rebellion. They seem themselves strong enough to “wait them out.” Indeed, the rules are so survivable, the boys will be able to grow out of them as they get older!
It will all get harder to hold as the boys do indeed get older. They are so smart and rebellious now, with so many tools at their disposal, which means that their teenage years will likely be merciless. I suppose I should hold fast to these little moments when SkippyJon Jones is the only point of contention, and the child sits himself down instead of exploding into hormone-fulled fury. It’s all coming.
The sun is strong now and snow is melting off of the roof. New Englanders are calling the next couple of days a “Heat Wave” as we flirt with the 40s and 50s. We’re looking at 57 and very, very heavy rain on Friday, which is going to make our messy situation that much worse!
It’s Wednesday, Dear Reader. Are you making the most out of your week? I’ve been surprisingly productive. Time to step away from the computer and do some editing. Shout out to you dear fellow writers out there getting words written. How are your projects? I hope you make a lot of progress between now and the end of the week!
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.