I can’t call this a micro-blog because I think it’s going to be pretty long. Yesterday was a big day for my little boy and me. I feel like suddenly I understand our dynamic so much better – and can see more clearly what I need to let go of right now.
The day started with the Sound of Music – we just introduced the kids to this movie on Saturday, and they wanted to see parts of it again first thing in the morning. So Oz was sitting on the couch with a glass of juice, which I had handed to him with some trepidation – one thing I’ve discovered about myself through parenting is how freaked out I am about spills and messes that might take a long time to clean up. It’s not like it’s a great couch – it’s an old fold-out we inherited, but it’s currently our only couch. So there they were and sure enough within minutes there was a big spill.
I took the glass out of Oz’s hand and put it on the table. “If you want to drink out of a glass with no lid, you have to sit at the table,” I declared. And he was so mad. For the next hour I could do nothing right. He kept attacking me, with his toy sword (really a flute made out of a piece of PVC pipe), with his hands, his feet. I was trying to make breakfast and finally I just sat down on the floor in the kitchen and started crying. He looked at me for a long second, then his own eyes filled with tears and he sank into my arms. “I feel like I want to cry too!” he sobbed.
Somehow as we got eye to eye I realized what was wrong – I had completely disrespected him by taking away his cup and putting it on the table. I was mad about the spill, but really? I had to let it go.
A few hours later we were on a bus with Illyria’s schoolmates and their parents, for an outing to a farm outside the city, where the air was pure and clean and the mountainsides green. It was a really fun day, a very cross-cultural experience and lovely time outdoors. A tree had fallen on the property and the kids were having a blast climbing around on the downed branches. And I let Oz climb too. From time to time he wanted a helping hand, but at one point I could only stand back and marvel: “You are getting so big! Look at you, climbing a tree like a big boy!” He found a branch to sit on where he could look out over the valley and he pretended the tree was his pirate ship.
That evening when we got back to our neighborhood I offered to carry him the few blocks to our house, and he said “No, I want to walk. I’m getting so big I can even climb fallen-down trees!” We had a quick dinner and bath, and as I helped him dry off and get into his pajamas, I noticed him staring for into space. “What are you thinking about, Bug?” I asked. He looked at me and said “I’m thinking about love!”