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So Mini-Him has been on vacation for about a week now. I was hugely excited for him, for me and for the many things that we still hope to accomplish. I suppose it's a human trait to be oblivious, emotionally I mean, to the challenges that will arise from having expectations. I know, in my brain, that nothing is ever easy. So when I discussed the goals I had set for Mini-Him and myself before the vacation, I said, "I know it won't be easy." It was with a sense of relish, bravado creeping in, with which I air-brushed my hopes. All the wise, older women around me had smiled, not as excited as I was. I put it down to them having lived their lives. Surely, it was hard to get worked up about a nine year old's art and science projects?!
Well, there is a monster and a blessing called TV. We're disconnecting the good and evil incarnate today. Just so Him and I don't give Mini-Him confusing signals. So far, we've tussled with setting TV limits. The free time between watching scheduled shows is spent with Mini-Him arguing about how much more he should be watching. There have been interesting observations he has made that shame me.
Some sound like this, "Well, Dad and you were paying the bills that day and made me watch TV while you were busy!!" True, only because puzzles were 'boring', a page of Math was 'not fair' and reading was 'too much'. He even said, "You take advantage of the TV Mom. It's hy-co-cry-tical (hypocritical). What does that mean? Hycocrytical?"
It means that I'm always speechless when it matters, I thought to myself and ignored him studiously.
But still, we plan to watch when he's asleep. At least there won't be confusing signals then!
Also, Mini-Him doesn't know to use a bicycle, which, I'll admit is our fault. But our fault through being over protective. He has an epilepsy diagnosis and we have gone overboard trying to protect his body from unnecessary trauma. The doctor advised that he stay off bikes too. Now that I believe the time is right, his opinion is necessarily different.
"Mini-Him, we're going to practice riding your bicycle today. We'll go in an hour," I tell him, putting on my best calm, unconcerned mom voice. I cannot possibly show him that I care about this. Any amount of concern from me brings an equal and opposite rebellion. So, I worked on my book cover as I sent sound bytes of intent.
"An hour? But...but I have Ben10 in an hour! Why do I HAVE to ride a bicycle Mom? It's not the end of the world if I don't. Let's go swimming instead." Of course, he has forgotten that he hated swimming too. It took a concerted effort on our part to pry him away from the safe life that we had to impose on him. But he's learned to love it. I hope that he'll learn to love this too. The world surely won't end, like he wisely said. But my motherly duty toward him will definitely be better done.
Half a painstaking hour of bicycle practice later, we're arguing again. He's famished...he says, for chips only. Bar-b-cue chips. Which we make the mistake of buying when people visit. "Why can't we be like other people?" Mini-Him grumbled already, "Everyone has chips. Why do I have to eat carrots and dip?"
I thought a great deal this morning. About why I have these compulsions that only make life more difficult. Why does he HAVE to ride a bike, do math, organize his little space or watch less TV? And why am I the "TV hycocrite"?
A few answers seem forthcoming now, as I wait for Him to arrive and take over. I am the TV hycocryte because I am definitely a hypocrite who needs absolute quiet time. It only happens with the TV blaring and him listening to the darned thing. That way, I get to stay quiet and he is quiet. Yes, this passes for quiet time in my household.
My compulsions stem from needing some aspects of growth dealt with before the teenage years set in. Before I'll be fighting a hormonal Mini-Him with a new set of arguments. And yes, there is something to be said for living a productive life. Which I don't expect him to understand at nine. But when he asks me, "Is it going to be the end of the world if I don't?" I have very few words left.
Did I ever mention that Him's family is full of lawyers? Him himself can't help jumping headlong into an argument. Only, it's yet to dawn on him that his voice, booming out the counter to every theory, makes everyone else fall silent. Before long, there is a monologue in place of an argument that used to be a discussion.
I guess my compulsion is really about Mini-Him having, in my humble, unasked opinion, a balanced outlook.
Even if that renders me unbalanced.