(Hopefully, if you have lived through the late 80s/early 90s you are now humming Expose’s oldie-not-a-goodie. If you need a refresher, it’s but a click away. Cue the saxophone.)
Have you been in a conversation recently where someone talked about the ‘season’ they’re in, referring to a particular phase of life, not the proximity of the Sun to the celestial equator*?
I’ll confess I find the term annoying, perhaps because I am easily annoyed, but also because I don’t like trendy, buzz-y words. That being said (which reminds me of a conversation the professor and I recently had with an employee at a paint store who uttered those three words approximately 20 times during the exchange) the word ‘season’ is not an unreasonable way to define a particular span of time.
(Still, I’m adding it to my list of unbearable words: goodies, season, tickle trunk. If I still had my pre-child brain, I would be able to name other words too, but for now I will need to stop at three. Possibly amending the list in the ensuing weeks and months, when the words return to me at random. Except then I won’t be able to remember why I needed them in the first place.)
Anyway. The very tenuous point I am trying to bring forth is we are finding ourselves in a different
s……phase of life….with respect to les enfants. The other morning I was lying in bed, eavesdropping on the very public boy-conversations taking place in the living room. (Because my children have not yet entered the ‘season’ when they sleep in until noon.) They were talking….about the upcoming election. I mean, I remember a time – not that long ago – when they would say absurd things and I would laugh and write them down, possibly blog about them, and now they are talking about candidates and platforms and election posters. And, really?!
Granted, these conversations exist largely because the Gort is in Grade 6, and in Social Studies they had to research the various parties, and even had a mock election, and all of his knowledge has been passed down to his younger brothers as topics of conversation. ‘I voted for the Liberal party,’ he confessed in the car – after we had to break it to him that his school vote didn’t actually count – ‘but then I learned they wanted to legalize marijuana. So now I wish I hadn’t voted for them.’
Really, he’s the main culprit behind this seasons-changing-business.
He can babysit. Actual kids. He has started cooking and baking. Which is neat and unfortunate all at the same time. Neat, because here’s a kid who’s excited to make spaghetti and tomato sauce! For his brothers! Unfortunate, because he leaves kitchens in much the same state as my pre-MarieKondo self. Which I’m sure the professor enjoys to no end, since he’s been dealing with the aftermath of my (former) messy ways for over 19 years.
It figures that just around the time I finally concluded perpetual baking is not in my sluggish metabolism’s best interest, the Gort decided he needs to bake. Often. Monkey bread. Cookies. Brownies. Sticky Toffee Pudding. More cookies.
And then there’s school. It began with a gym strip – add it to my list of weird words – which is a [possibly Canadian/Albertan] word for gym-outfit. Grade six marks the year when kids stop doing gym in their school clothes and start wearing ill-fitting, school-issued, shorts and shirts. ‘How did it go,’ I asked the Gort, after the first day he had to change for gym surrounded by a bunch of grade nine students. ‘I’m scarred for life,’ he sighed in the same voice he’d used when I asked him how the teacher-led, grade 4 puberty talk(s) had gone.
Grade six also marks the year when the gym teacher implores the boys to acquire a stick of deodorant for their gym lockers, as it turns out. Deodorant, printed in hasty-boy-scrawl, made a surprise appearance on our dry-erase shopping list one morning. It seemed like a significant, bordering on rite-of-passage moment: the day a boy puts ‘deodorant’ on the shopping list. (Where’s the baby book entry for that.) Except when I asked my 11 year old about it, he confessed it was all the gym teacher’s doing. Even so, I purchased an $8 stick of the Superstore’s best all-natural odor defeater, free of aluminum and whatever else warrants the considerable surcharge. ‘How’s that deodorant working out for you,’ I inquired a few weeks later. ‘Well, it makes my sweat smell like lavender,’ he rolled his eyes. ‘Seriously mom, can you just buy me some, like, regular deodorant?’
This from the former toddler who we had to take to the doctor because he developed an alarming red, raised rash after I’d slathered lotion all over his dry epidermis, the same former grade 5 student whose face turned completely red after applying sunscreen at school, prompting his teacher to ask ‘are you okay? You don’t look very good.’
Come to think of it, all those reactions were caused by so-called natural products…..
‘Are we doing anything next Friday,’ he asked me a few weeks ago. ‘No…..why’ I replied hesitatingly. ‘Because Nelson and I want to go to Mac’s [convenience store] and then we’ll maybe go to the playground and hang out.’
‘Sure,’ I replied, suppressing a smile.
The coveted Friday arrived and two very blond, very pale boys walked from their school bus stop to the nearby convenience store. They purchased a large bag of chips (paid for by Nelson) and two frosters (paid for by the Gort) and walked to the playground to enjoy their ‘goodies’. Though he’d initially asked if he could stay out until 5, the Gort was home shortly after 4. Eating chips and drinking a food coloring and corn syrup laden slushie hadn’t taken quite as long as he’d expected.
His brothers are growing up too. Percy, who’s consistently balked at attending school for more than 3 hours, came home last week and marched directly to the aforementioned dry-erase board to write down the words he’d learned that day. Look and Cat he scrawled in a penmanship that appears to be slightly more considered than that of either of his brothers. ‘It’s obvious’ are the two words he uses most often, as in ‘how do you know so-and- so’s your best friend?’ ‘It’s obvious….he’s buying me an iphone.’
And the very driven Hen, who’s currently obsessed with all things baseball, recently informed me he’d had to return his most recent school-library book selection: The Book Thief. ‘It has too many curse words,’ he reportedly told his teacher. While I tried to recall the aforementioned curse words, and wondered if his older brother had ever cracked the cover. (He had not.)
People often told me, when my kids were little, ‘how fast’ it all goes. And I rolled my eyes because I hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep in five years and sometimes the minutes felt like mini-eternities. But now I know, no season lasts forever.
(*Lest you think I often speak of celestial equators, I totally googled solstice and equinox – only because it was included in the definition of solstice. Science was never my strongsuit.)