Over the next few weeks, I'll writing a small, hopefully funny series regarding the challenges of having a child who is starting kindergarten. For those of you with older children, please chime in and comment with any advice or encouragement for us, the parents of new kindergarteners. For those of you with younger children-- well, snicker away friends, your time will come too...mwah ha ha!
How do you know...
....when your kid is trying to steal your soul?
I was wondering this a few hours ago, stepping out from the shower. Kiddo was in his room, playing a rather strange and slightly dizzying pre-programmed tune from his keyboard and changing the key it was in every once in a while. Wrapping a towel around myself, I peeked at him sitting in his doorway with his back to me, keeping time by waving his forefinger back and forth. The music sounded like some sort convoluted, anxious Noir version of Del Shannon's "Runaway", only interpreted differently through a whiny, pitchy robotic sounding keyboard on some sort of 'horn' setting. In fact, the music didn't sound like music. It sounded like an impending headache.
And this was when I asked myself the very question I put forth to you now:
Is that child trying to steal my soul? Or just my sanity?
Ten minutes later and we are flying around, getting ready for school. Teeth brushed? Check! Bed-head wetted and combed into something respectable? Check! Face washed? Shoes on? Check! Check!
"Go put your coat on, buddy." I disappear into the bathroom to quickly scrub my teeth with my own toothbrush and after a minute, I have the feeling that something isn't right. Peeking out the door, I spy Kiddo in the hallway, lost in space.
"Dude! Coat!" I'm hoping my short syllables will jab him into movement, action. He is doing a marvelous impression of an inanimate object. Say, a short Roman column wearing an orange and blue striped shirt and jeans.
With glacier slowness, his eyes turn to me, and then the light of thought enters his eyes as quickly as the sun rises. By this, I mean slowly. "But I don't know where my jacket is, Mommy." He looks utterly helpless. It is obvious that it has not yet occurred to him that asking-- ASKING-- would be the next step of the process at hand.
And this is befuddling to me because I have a child who is very adept at asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. About the aerodynamics of Tinkertoys. About why some people do this and others do that. Questions about the why why why of everything. Philosophical questions. "Why do people celebrate the harvest?" Mom's ability questions. "I really want apple juice. Can you make a cider press? Why not?" Questions about why we will have to wait until next summer for blueberries.
But that one question-- the one that is pertinent to going to school-- is elusive and slips by him, leaving him with mouth agape and pondering the huge enormity of "What Do I Possibly Do Now That I Can't Find My Coat?"
It is a really good thing that I do indeed adore my sweet little boy, because otherwise, I would be totally and completely convinced that he is not only trying to steal my soul, he's also trying to wipe out any semblance of reason there might be in this world. Kids are so damn random.
I know he's really not a minion of the Horned One. I know because when I gave birth to him and they handed me his tiny, red, mewling little body, I didn't see any horns, hooves or a pointy tail which would indicate that he comes from the same family as the guy on those cans of Underwood Deviled Ham. I know that this wasn't cosmetically altered while I was still in a birthing bliss because I had a homebirth, and while the midwives were good, they weren't that good.
This week has been good overall. Kiddo's suspected allergic reaction to pollen is actually a cold, which has allowed me to stop beating myself up over the weekend's mistake. We've created a chart to make sure he doesn't miss his Claritin in the morning. And just when you conquer one parenting challenge, like a line of dominoes, there's always one right behind it to fall down and take its place.
I'd like to believe it was a stuffy head and nose which caused his brain to temporarily stop working this morning. Better than soul-stealing. I'll go with that... but if he's feeling better in a few days and I start smelling a rather sulfuric scent coming out from under his door... well, then, I'll be rethinking a few of my philosophies...