Monday, March 21, 2011

Life with a Fourth Grader

Saying goodbye to his best friend: “See you Monday! Unless my house gets hit by a giant meteor!”

Friend: “Or someone drops a nuclear bomb on you!”

Silas: “Or World War Three starts!”


At bedtime: he sets up his big fluffy white bear next to him in the bed, the self-holding ammo nerf dart gun propped in its paws. “To protect me from monsters,” he explains, matter-of-factly.


Skiing: proceeding down the mountain at what could generously be called a conservative pace, he notes how much faster he is, now that dad’s taught him “that thing with the turn.”


When he gets mad at us, he storms into his room and turns up the volume on the only CD he owns: Beethoven’s greatest hits. Heh.


When problems arise, he takes matters into his own hands and often prevails. Except when he spectacularly doesn’t. See: attempt to remove superglue from beautiful new dining room table.


He can be stunningly responsible, like when he packed school lunch for himself and Helen the morning I was out of town and M was still in bed. He included fruit! And carrots and snap peas!


He comes into my new office/ hotel room/ etc. and within two minutes has discovered two drawers I never noticed, found the keys, locked them and unlocked them, and set the TV to some channel I'm not interested in. "Aigh! Don't MESS with everything!" I say, but don't press it, because, really, he's fine. Moving a million miles and hour and getting into everything, but fine.

Sometimes, raising him, I feel like I don’t really have a plan—like I’m not trying to shape him and guide him the way I ought to be, that I harp too much on low-consequence stuff, like video game time and the ratio of carrots to goldfish in his diet and not enough on helping him improve his friendship abilities or his staying power or his internal motivation. Other times I think I have too many goals for him, that I don’t listen hard enough to what he’s trying to be.

Other times, I think: he's fine. Just keep on going, and things will be fine.


artemisia said...

I would constantly second guess myself about how hands-on I should be or not...Gah.

Love, LOVE that he blasts Beethoven when he is mad. So awesome.

Erin said...

What a perfect post. I could write the same for each of my kids, and I have a feeling this sense of not knowing, of pushing the immediate issues and not the long-standing ones, of just letting them BE OK. I think all these things will just be amplified as they grow.