As you get older, friends are becoming much more important and prominent in your day-to-day activities. This is normal and expected but I really struggle with other people’s children. Majority of the kids I meet are bossy or are downright moody. I have my own struggles–I don’t need to tolerate any more children than my own. You are starting to share activities with friends and I have spent some significant time with a couple of them and I’m always left hoping that you make good choices in life.
Noelle (not crazy friend)
One particular friend of yours is extremely precocious and strong-minded. She has no problem speaking her mind and often does so to adults i.e. me. I had to drive the two of you to swim practice and I had the misfortune of listening in on a conversation between the two of you. The exchange of words was pretty much your friend declaring that you would fall in love with a boy, kiss him all the time and then immediately marry him after high school. I could hear your innocent voice ask, I am? Not if I have something to say about it. I quickly interjected, you don’t have to fall in love and marry right away. You know what’s a good idea? Get a good education and travel the world. Your friend, blatantly ignoring me, proceeded to tell you that you’ll want a boyfriend so you can have babies. Lots and lots of babies. This is a discouraging conversation to hear amongst a six and seven year old. You know girls, parenthood isn’t for everyone and you don’t have to fall in love with a boy. Maybe you’ll fall in love with a girl. Both are appropriate scenarios. The important thing is to love yourself! Do you hear me girls?! Love whomever you want to love and travel and hold off on babies! My attempt fell upon deaf ears as you two proceeded to name your future offspring. I can see I have my work cut out for me.
There is a silver lining to this story. Your friend, after stealing your innocence from right under you, proceeded to divulge in the fact that she already has a boyfriend and is madly in love (eye-roll). She wouldn’t tell you who it was because she said you knew him. Despite you pleading, she wouldn’t tell you who it was. I know your social circle and everybody you play with. Feeling quite annoyed at the garbage she spewed at you over the duration of the car ride, I went ahead and blurted out the name. She was so upset, she didn’t talk much for the rest of the ride home. IN YOUR FACE–BOOOM!
Swim team is upon us and soon we will be trading in Miles’ early Saturday morning teeball games for swim meets. One day, I will sleep in past 7am again and it will be glorious. Until then, I continue on with my duties as parent/Uber driver and proceed to schlep you and your brother to all of your activities. You wanted to wrap up your swim classes at the swim school you’ve been swimming at since you were a baby so for the last few weeks, you’ve been collecting your final ribbons and building your ego. You’ve now switched to preseason swim team conditioning which requires you to develop hypothermia as you swim outdoors in a somewhat tepid pool. I feel so bad for you and the rest of the kids when I see you all emerging from the pool shivering with bright blue lips. Would it kill someone to throw on a pool cover every now and then? I bought you a thermal suit but the thing is so darn heavy, you’re basically just bobbing in the water like a buoy. We’ll just call it conditioning with drag.
You get in trouble constantly at practice for talking to your friend and since she only wants to play, she distracts you quite a bit. You have your moments when you play but then you reach a point of the practice where I can tell that you genuinely are trying to listen to your coach. Your friend doesn’t know all of the strokes but she also refuses to let you get ahead of her so I’ll watch her resort to doggie-paddle so she can pass you and then proceed to tell you that she beat you. After one particular outing, I watched this go on for most of the practice. Not wanting you to feel discouraged, I brought it up to you later that evening and asked you how you felt. Very matter-of-factly, you looked at me and said, the only reason she’s catching up to me is because she is doing doggie-paddle. I actually know the strokes. I’m always proud of you but that was such a mature reaction that it kind of took me off guard. How proud I am to see that you were able to pick up on that and are confident enough in yourself to not be concerned about it. Really, well done.
There is a swim coach that you had last summer that is returning for this season and I feel so incredibly bad and embarrassed because you cry every time you see him and you become downright catatonic if he talks to you. You fall apart if he makes any kind of critique about your strokes so he has resorted to making little to no eye contact and conversing with you in passing. Ridiculous and outright obsurd that it has come to this. I asked your dad to come with me to your swim practice because I thought maybe you wouldn’t behave this way if dad was around. We arrive at swim practice and upon seeing Coach Jon, your behavior immediately changes and now you’re acting giddy and just plain silly. Again, as Jon approaches you, you become very quiet and bashful. Suddenly, your dad and I are thinking, maybe you actually like him and don’t know how to interpret the emotions you’re feeling. I’m still not entirely sure but if that’s the case, your teenage years are going to be one long rough patch.
We recently returned from a camping trip where you basically spent two days eating your weight in s’mores. This time around, camping was really quite enjoyable with the two of you and maybe that has something to do with pawning you off to grandma and grandpa in their motorhome for the overnight or maybe because you two are old enough and capable to handle being outdoors. Whatever the reason, I was glad to see that you and your brother were truly enjoying yourselves and nobody threw the other one into the campfire. That’s always a good sign.
With warmer weather, comes baseball and it’s safe to assume that an A’s game is always on the television. You’re not super into it like Miles but you’ll watch it for a bit, get your little art itch and disappear. One afternoon, you wandered away as we were watching the game and returned an hour or so later with a poster you had made. You said you had seen a certain commercial and felt inspired to create a poster based on the images you saw. Very impressive. I’m a proud momma so of course I took a picture and shared it on Instagram. A week or so later, we’re watching another A’s game while eating dinner and you popped up on our television screen. I immediately hit rewind and there you were in a Comcast Sportsnet commercial. You were rather smitten with yourself upon seeing your face paused on the television. I must admit, we all were. So, there you have it–six years of age and you already have an on-air appearance under your belt. La-di-da.
It’s hard to believe that kindergarten will be over in a month. Time is flying by and it makes me so incredibly sad. Your kindergarten teacher is pregnant with her second child and according to your teacher, it’s all you can talk about. You ask me and your dad on a daily basis if you can have a baby sister and when we politely decline, you get very upset. According to your teachers, you inform them every morning at school that our answer is still no. We try to explain to you that even if we did, a baby sister isn’t necessarily what you would get. Do you really want another Miles? We all shudder at the thought.
With summer ahead, I look forward to long days at the swimming pool, baseball games, drawing, riding bikes and generally just being lazy with the two of you. Basically, anything I can do to put the brakes on you growing up too fast. As you get older and make more friends, I understand that me and your dad will no longer be your sole influencers. I try really hard to instill good strong values in you and give you the confidence you need to go out and conquer the world. You’re still so innocent and so many of your friends are such little shits. With each passing day, I can’t help but be worried. Will you be an emotional basketcase if you like someone? Will you have the confidence to stand up to friends and say, no thanks? Will you be strong enough to realize that you don’t need another person to feel complete? Will you realize that your me and dad love you more that you can ever imagine? I can only hope that these will be easy questions for you to answer. Truth is, you can’t escape my suffocating love. Hopefully, I will talk your ear off as you grow older and become your voice of reason. I’m the bird on your shoulder giving you guidance. Creepy? Good. Make good choices and Momma bird won’t show up on your shoulder.