Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a note to the abandoned (part 1)

shhhhh. Keep it down - nobody knows I'm here. They all think I'm off advocating for something, somewhere.

Dear blog,

did you miss me? I've missed you. There's so much that I've wanted to tell you about the past year, and it slid right by. I read something months ago about how the primary cause of blog abandonment was lack of time, and I smirked. Swore that an added hour of driving in my day was going to do no such thing. Nope.

It did, rather, didn't it? My poor blog, home to fragments of posts, whose missing bits are doing their best to tunnel their way out. If they switched to pickaxes, or a nice adze and dropped the electrons, I think they'd have more luck - and you, more posts. But I know that you won't mind a months-long blitz post on one, slim subject. Anthropomorphism is nice that way.

(Because I said so, that's why. And don't you wave Pirandello at me, hey?)

Now, where was I before the coloratura started up?

Right. There.

At some point in the past year, the Eldest turned 8. I find this thought somewhat hard to grasp, but he really is eight, and often, lately, shows a startling, lovely maturity. But on the day that he turned eight, he celebrated by swinging on the towel bar one too many times.

Creeeeaaaaunch, went the towel bar and the drywall in a lovely, delicate harmony.
Oooooooowwwwaaaaaaaiiiiiih! wailed the Eldest, dumped ceremoniously on his birthday ass.
Ahem, said the mama, and underlined the point. With a moderately straight face.

One might have thought that the Eldest's verve would be dampened by this, or that his newly eight-year-old sense of competency might have been shaken. Fifteen minutes later, one might have found that theory put to the test.

Oooops, said the Toddles, cheerfully. And bent over the clogged toilet bowl, the better to admire its contents. The Eldest joined him, and they considered specifics. Mooooo-om? called the Eldest, and explained the situation. The mama blinked, groaned and wrapped her fingers around a mug. Dropped the spatula into it. Just wait a minute, she told him, and reached to turn off the flame under her pot. I'll be right there.

The Eldest ran upstairs as the mama muttered to herself about small boys who will insist on using two and three tissues per wipe. Don't worry, Mum -I've taken care of it! floated back down the stairs. She blinked, and lifted her face in sudden alarm. Oh - honey - no! Wait for me, I'm on my way....

There was a pause.

There was an ominous sploooooooosh. And another, followed by a shpwhooooooor-splat-whshhhhhrrrr of overflow.

There were small boy voices, panicking. And there was much cleaning of floors and children.

After such a beginning, one might think that the Eldest's newly eight-year-old sense of competency might have been shaken. Oh, but wait - I already said that. And it wasn't the first time, was it? Yes, well, take that as a harbinger of things to come.

Oh, blog, this was the year of the jokester, in which the Eldest edged, then barged, then attempted to annex the wrong side of the line between funny and hurtful comments. He simply didn't see the line, sometimes, or the line paled in comparison to his comrades' snickers, or the line, he argued, was in the wrong place. If I don't mean to hurt someone's feelings, then why are they choosing to be hurt by X? he'd argue, and I was fairly certain that reader response lit theory wasn't going to clarify the situation.

(But Mr. Fish, my son shouldn't be kicked out of the room - there really IS a text in this class. I know, because he told me so himself.)

Meetings with teachers, talking about his disruptive behavior. Puzzling together over the patterns of his behavior, trying to stitch together a plan. Or at least a shared wry affection for the wee beastie. Watching sudden explosions at home, losing patience - and then, at last, preemptively losing patience. And hating myself for it.

And then the asthma diagnosis, which cravenly, I hope will explain far more than it should, and extract my lovely boy from the frustrating/lovely/infuriating/marvellous/aaaaaaugh that he is. Which it won't, of course.

And, and, and. It's been a very full chunk of year thus far, but alas, neither the Eldest nor I appear to be excessively daunted. Although my sense of competency has a few new dings and scrapes, I'll admit, and the kids have possibly maybe perhaps learned a few new words, which might oh concieveably be related to the Man's introduction of a cuss jar. Um. Still, he is marching onwards, a by-turns thoughtful, loving child with earnest eyes, and an uproariously charging rhino. Who giggles. I know that you boys will learn that you are living in a world with other people, and that you need to be mindful of the ways that your actions can affect those others, I sighed recently. You have the capacity to learn this, and to grow into wonderful mensches. I just wish you'd do it a little faster. There was silence from the back seat that morning. Yep, said the Eldest, thoughtfully. It's like that.

I sat there, torn between laughter, appreciation, and flinging my hands up. But then again, I'd spent much of the past seven months that way. And the kid was right, as it happens. Eight, as I'm learning, comes with a startling ability to phrase thoughts just so, splintered by a sweet worry that silences him, in case he might speak awry.

This past week, I've been inclined to think that he might worry less about saying the wrong thing, as we scurry around, preparing to pack goodness knows what in our bags, so as to go off and do something, somewhere. Because years ago, someone decided to point a magic wand our way. And shortly before his eight birthday, the Eldest finally found the right words to invoke it. And lo, he has made a Wish.

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