Getting bigger

I don’t know if it’s the Canadian water or just his stage of life, but all of a sudden G is obsessed with getting bigger and older. Whenever he is in conversation with another person, he announces right away ‘I’m going to be five on my next birthday’ which he emphasizes by sticking out one hand with all five fingers extended. [Five. Just so you know.] Usually he’ll even toss in a ‘on March 7th.’ Just for good measure, in case they’re taking notes.

Complete strangers and new friends alike, everyone is told, right away, that G will be 5 in less than six months. And he’s already thinking about ideas for his birthday cake: a bus, a turtle… It seems that every day brings some new proclamation of what will happen in the future…when he is bigger.

It started with driving. I was taking him to preschool when he piped up from the back: ‘When I get big like you I can drive the car.’ Fearing a future with G at the wheel, I tried to quash that idea in its infancy. ‘I’m not going to let you drive!’ Which made him angry. ‘Yes, you are…because I will be big like you.’ It just seems strange to me that he’s already deduced that at a specific age (or size) you can drive a car. I’ve no idea when it dawned on me that I’d someday drive a car. Maybe in driver’s ed training? Or on the road with Mr. Odum, the instructor, who was doing his utmost not to clutch the ‘teacher-brakes’ with all his might; while I did my best to keep the car on the road. ‘Slow down, Nicole..’ he cautioned with a shaky voice. Even in my nervous state it irritated me that he couldn’t say my name right.

A day or so after the driving comment, he moved on to spending money. We were driving to the grocery store and he said ‘when I get big I’m going to get money so I can buy a Thomas train.’ Curious as to his understanding of the cost of things, I asked ‘how much money will you get’. ‘Fifteen dollars’ he replied. Which, remarkably, would cover the cost of some of the ‘lesser’ trains. The money comments didn’t stop there, either. A few weekends later he raised the issue of his purchase power again. So, being the ‘go-with-the-flow’ parents that we are, we introduced the concept of allowance; of doing chores to earn money so he could buy toys. When we got home he cleaned out the car and picked up all the legos and stray toys lying around. He earned $1 which was deposited in his piggy bank. Of course he wanted to go to the store right away, and we had to explain that he’d need to do chores a ‘few’ more times in order to actually buy something in this economy. To keep the momentum going, I asked him what toys he envisioned buying with his chore money. ‘A camper’ he responded. Like the one we’d seen earlier at the store. But when I posed the same question to him the following day he’d already changed his mind. ‘I want to buy a transformer with four cars…not the camper.’

Next he began talking about riding the bus to school. ‘When I get big, I’m going to ride the bus to school,’ he announced. ‘No, you’re not,’ I disagreed. He got mad again, at me squelching his independence.

He even started changing what he wore to bed. ‘I’m not going to wear a shirt tonight. I’m just gonna wear pants, like my dad.’ So on many nights he now wears long pajama bottoms to bed and no shirt. Which is funny, because it does make him look a lot older and also because his dad actually does wear a shirt to bed.

Occasionally when I ask ‘do you want me to read that book to you?’ He’ll reply without looking up: ‘no thanks, I just want to read it myself.’ Like a disinterested teenager replies to an over-eager mom. He was sitting with me on my bed the other night, reading a couple of books, independently. After a while he hopped off, seemingly bored. ‘Well, I’m going to my bed now. Sleep well, mom.’

Sleep well?!

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