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    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Things a Nine-Year-Old Does

    Monkey will turn nine in a few days. Apparently, the little twerp has decided to grow up. Fast!

    The other day he sighed and said, “I’m getting older and that means more chores. Like taking baths. Because bigger bodies get more stinky.”

    You can tell what topic of conversation has come up in our house recently.

    His last growth spurt rivaled the Hulk’s transformation, but thankfully my not-so-little-anymore boy isn’t green. Unless he’s eaten a green popsicle, that is.

    The grown-ups in the house have marveled at the recent changes in Monkey’s maturity level. As a late bloomer, he’s always been behind the curve, but now he seems eager to dash ahead.

    He made a splash in swim lessons this year. His instructor said he was the strongest swimmer in his group. We’ve finally managed to get him to piano lessons regularly, and his teacher calls him “a natural.” When he was assigned “Ode to Joy,” I told him it was my favorite piece of music and that we played it at our wedding. Now when I tell him to practice it, he rolls his eyes and says, “Yeah, I know, Mom. It’s your favorite song.” Then he plays it, looks at me with a twinkle in his eye, and asks, “How was that, Mom? Was it good? Did you like it?”

    Yep. Puddle of mom right there on the floor next to the piano.

    I think part of being a late bloomer is being a bit of a mama’s boy. Sometimes I don’t mind. Like when he holds his little, brown, Cherokee-kissed arm out next to mine and says, “We have the same skin, right Mom?”

    But there’s another side to being mother to a clingy boy—always being the security blanket, having to push him to take responsibility, to remember the simplest things, like brushing teeth and wearing clothes, without being reminded.

    My good friend whose son is a high-functioning autistic says, “Someday he’ll be a rocket scientist, but I’ll still have to pack his lunch and drive him to work every morning.”

    I can totally relate.

    But recently Monkey hit a milestone in his journey to becoming a healthy, well-balanced, apron-string-free man. Mom and I had picked the boys up from school and were heading to another author’s booksigning at Mardel. The boys were talking about their day at school and Monkey piped up.

    “Mom, did you know they’re going to have career day at school?”

    In fact, I’d already signed up to be involved, excited that this year I could participate as a published author.

    “Yes,” I told him, “and Grandma and I will be there, and we’ll get to talk about The Dragon and the Turtle with all your school friends.”

    It was quiet for a second then a hesitant voice said, “Well, ok, Mom, . . . but doesn’t Dad build things that go up into space?”


    Yes, my feathers were just a teensy bit ruffled. I mean, come on, my book was published this summer! That’s gotta earn me some cool points with the offspring, right? But at the same time I was cheering inside. If you have boys, then you know how important it is for them to loosen their koala-tight hold on mommy and look to dad as their role model.

    We talked for awhile about Dad’s cool job and how the products he works on go in rocket ships and satellites and help keep our country safe. Monkey quickly concocted a special ops scenario in which bad guys were trying to steal Dad’s plans for a super secret totally awesome weapon. I gently brought him back to reality and silently wondered if we might have yet another storyteller in the family.

    I guess we’ll find out when Monkey grows up.


    Toyin O. said...

    He sounds like a future writer!


    Beth K. Vogt said...

    Oh, yeah, future writer--and one a-ma-zing kid!

    Tiffany said...

    He's NINE? How did that happen? Wasn't it just a few years ago that I called to see how you were, and you told me you were in the hospital and had just had a baby? And I didn't even know you were pregnant 'cause I hadn't talked to you in nine months? Because I'm a good friend like that? Yep, that's how it went down. That was NOT nine years ago!!!