When I started writing, I was told never to befriend a blogger because I wouldn’t know when I’d end up in print. Next, that I hadn’t made it till I woke up and found myself in someone else’s blog. Both are true. The first time I woke up in a blog or had myself retweeted, I was horrified. Now, I realize it’s par for the course–fun even.
Now, I do it to other people. Especially my son. He’ll hate me when he learns to read. He doesn’t listen very well. He has a mind of his own. That part he gets that from me. His athleticism and ability to blow up in a second–that’s the other side of the family. It can be a great combination when it goes well–creativity, intellect, athleticism, and entrepreneurial drive. Or, it can be quite deadly–stubborn, rage, digging heels in–a recipe for a lot of time out.
One day, I’d reached my limit. I looked him square in the eye and intellectualized. “I’m going to write about you.” The ultimate punishment. Worse than time out. A permanent record of misdeeds. He didn’t seem to notice. Only pictures get his attention–a picture is worth a thousand words–for him, it’s worth a thousand bucks. He charges for pictures whenever he can.
He saw the picture I posted on the first day of school, and the words below. I hadn’t paid for the rights for the photo. I read him the caption. Most parents get a smiling picture of their kid coming off the bus, mine received an admonishment for being “inappropriate.” My friend helped me parent by commenting, “Don’t listen, buddy. Always be inappropriate. Be highly, highly inappropriate.” Declan smiled. I should have lied, and read “Always listen to the bus monitor.”
“I like your friend better than you, Mommy. I’m going to be inappropriate.” He references that quote often. He lives up to it. He works hard to improve.
Six-year olds are interesting. They’re becoming sentient beings. He’s aware. He gets embarrassed and doesn’t like people to laugh at him–the beginnings of narcissism or paranoia. The world centers around them and they misbehave.
I try to discipline, “If you keep that up, I’m gonna write about you.”
“DON’T WRITE ABOUT ME, MOMMY!” I do anyway. He’ll have this when I leave this planet. His future wife will appreciate she can research him easier.
“When you get married your family can read this.”
“I’m not gonna get married. I’m going to be a paleontologist. But I think I’ll marry you, Mommy.” I explain paleontologists can get married, but only Oedipus can marry his mom.
“When I’m a teenager, I’m gonna do whatever I want. I’m going to watch Total Drama Island and swear. I’m going so say ‘shit’ when I’m a teenager. Teenagers can do anything you know.”
I explain that he can do anything when he moves out or hands me a rent payment. I pay the bills. I set the rules.
He puts a quarter on the table. “I have lots of money. I can pay bills.” He got it fleecing me for pictures and walking around the house taking fallen change.”Can I say ‘shit’ now and do whatever I want?” This is going badly. Very badly.
“No. Save the money. I’m not saving for college, you know.”
“I have to go to college. I’m going to be a paleontologist.”
“There’s a shovel outside. Dig. It’s cheaper.”
He grumbles and whispers “shit” just one more time. I correct him. He says, “I was saying ‘ship.’ You know, like the ships that go in the water?” I’m vaguely aware of what a ship is. He has not said ship. He mumbles couple other forbidden words. I tell him to knock it off. He smiles the sneaky smile…
I say, “I’m gonna write about you.” I win in the end.
He asks, “Will you write the word ‘shit?‘” I glare. I’m not winning. “I mean, ‘ship?'”
Yes. I guess I will.