The oldest blond wonder turned eight today. It’s surreal, catching glimpses of him sometimes. Startled by how big he seems all of a sudden. Not a baby or a toddler or a kindergartener, but this kid who takes up nearly his whole bed when he sleeps. This boy who is obsessed with Lego and books.
‘Did you know that the Arctic is actually a desert?’ ‘Did you know the Daddy Longlegs isn’t really a spider?’ ‘Did you know Tarantulas aren’t even poisonous?’
Though I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that these boys are getting older and more independent, and soon (ish) we’ll transition from being parents of littlekids to being parents of medium-aged kids, I have to say maturity has its perks.
I can now pay the Gort a couple of dollars to shovel the sidewalk when it snows. Might the end result make overly fussy people cringe with its lack of precision? Will the neighbor lady shovel part of our sidewalk because he didn’t do all of it?
Well, yes, but still.
The two of us went to the Superstore on Sunday after his gymnastics class. I stopped at the cosmetics section, toying with the idea of buying some grey nailpolish. (I like to wait until the trend is on its way out before pouncing on it. Black nailpolish. Skinny jeans. Grey nailpolish.)
‘Do you like that color,’ I asked, pointing to a bottle of Revlon Spanish Moss. ‘Mmh, not really,’ he opined. Reminding me again of the futility of asking others for their opinions when you have your eye on something specific.
‘Why don’t you wear red instead?’ he suggested. I looked at the chipping red polish on my fingers. ‘Because I already have red,’ I countered. On my nails. Right now.
He pointed to a metallic, coppery-orange shade my grandmother might have worn back in the day: Copper Penny. ‘What about that one?’ ‘Yeah, I really don’t like that,’ I shook my head and dropped a bottle of that greenish-grey shade in my shopping bag. Popular opinion is highly overrated.
We were out of paper towels, so I picked up a large pack and – having entered the store without a cart – I handed it to my companion. Who walked alongside me the entire trip carrying something I would have had to carry if he’d been a year or two younger. But now, minutes away from being 8, it was like having a little personal shopper along for the ride. A skinny shopper with extremely white legs, but a personal shopper nonetheless.
The night before the boy’s birthday, I sat at the coffee table cutting pieces of paper and stamping letters onto them. Because I thought it would make his birthday extra special if he woke up and had some sort of sign in his room. I also crinkled tiny pieces of tissue paper and glued them onto two cardboard circles to fashion a red eight. These are the times when I think ‘really, this is what I’m doing?’
At 7am, the Gort ran into my room looking for birthday presents. ‘Did you like the sign,’ I asked, hopefully. ‘I didn’t see anything,’ he confirmed my suspicion that my Pinterest-esque display had been a colossal waste of time. So he dutifully ran back to his room and checked out ‘the sign’. ‘Yep, I saw it.’ ‘Did you like the 8?’ ‘Yep.’
My mom and sister had gifted our oldest blond wonder with two Lego Technic sets for his big day. Per my suggestion, because he’d mentioned several times how he didn’t have any Technic sets.
Turns out the Technic models are slightly more difficult to assemble. One minute he was happy as a lark and the next he was crestfallen. ‘It’s so confusing,’ he wailed. The professor sat with the pieces for a while. ‘Whose idea was it to get the kid Technic sets?’ ‘Mine.’ So I took it upon myself to construct one of the sets. ‘Mom doesn’t know how to do Lego,’ he lamented when his dad told him I was ‘working’ on it.
I huddled on the living room floor with the pieces spread out before me and did my best to follow the instructions. With two not-so-little blond wonders breathing down my neck. ‘Gaga, mom’s getting really close,’ the Hen observed as I neared the end of the very lengthy instruction booklet. As if he couldn’t quite believe that his overeducated and underpaid mother might actually be able to assemble something intended for the 8-14 year old set.
Turns out I am as smart as a fourteen year old. [Or is it an eight year old?]
Later, snuggled on my bed with the boys, discussing the highlights of our day: ‘Cake!’, decided the two year old. ‘Nothing,’ said the slightly sullen four year old. ‘Presents! Clothes! Cake! Giving cookies to my classmates!’ said the celebrated eight year old.
‘Maybe tomorrow Mom can help you build your other Technic set,’ the Hen suggested to his older brother, ‘because you get confused.’
And with that brotherly zinger out of the way, we called it a night.