Monthly Archives: September 2013

Responsibility

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I heard there would be a difference when Robbie turned four, but I was hesitant to believe it.  After all, I’d heard something similar about him turning three, and that was really more of the same terrible twos.  Except with a bigger child who could throw a louder fit.  However, this time, there was something to this whole turning four thing.  And maybe the whole becoming-a-big-brother-thing.

Lately, Robbie has started getting up in the morning and taking a shower on his own.  Then, he packed his own lunch and fixed his own breakfast.  He even dressed himself.  Yesterday, however, we hit a new high.  I was still getting dressed when Robbie came running into the bathroom, distraught.  The morning had gone so well; I couldn’t imagine what had gotten Robbie so upset.

“Mom!  I’m trying to make you a jelly sandwich for breakfast, and I can’t get the bread.  It was supposed to be a ‘prise.  Can you please help?” he sobbed into my shoulder.

I’m not sure I’ve ever squeezed my child harder.  Here it was, 7:05 in the morning, and he was making sure I had breakfast.  We walked into the kitchen, and I found that Robbie had gotten out both the jelly and the honey.  After a brief lesson on the benefits of simplify (and peanut butter), Robbie sent me back to finish getting dressed while he made the sandwiches.  Were they perfect?  Not really – there was a follow-up lesson on spreading.  But, it was probably the most delicious peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich I’ve ever had.

This afternoon, Robbie’s responsibility streak continued.  We were working in the front yard – will I ever get rid of the trumpet vine that seems to follow me everywhere? – when Robbie and I noticed that Barkley had left the yard and was at the corner.  Robbie called for Barkley, and the dog took off.  I told Robbie to get in the car, which is the only successful way I’ve found to track him back down, especially now that I can barely run ten feet.  Robbie yelled, “Mom, I’ve got this!  I’ll get Barkley!”   He took off down the road, in running pants and no shirt.

I hopped in the car, sure Barkley was all the way down the block and Robbie would be sitting on the sidewalk a third of the way there.  You can imagine my surprise when I turned the corner to see Robbie grab Barkley around the neck.  I held my breath, sure Barkley would break Robbie’s grip, and got out of the car ready to tell Robbie to grab the collar.  Before I could even get the door open, Robbie grabbed Barkley’s collar and started toward the car.

“See, Mom?” he said in a low, grown-up voice.  “I told you I’d get Barkley.  He can go in the car.  I’ll beat you back home!”  And he was off like a shot, beating me back home to tell Justin about his adventure.

 

Fall in the Bluegrass, Take II

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It hit me when I was driving home yesterday – the pure excitement of fall in Kentucky.  Maybe it was the clear blue sky that I haven’t gotten to see all day.  Or the fact that it was finally Friday.  But, all of a sudden, I got a little giddy about the fact that it was fall.  Football games.  Robbie’s first soccer season.  Keeneland.  It’s all here – or almost here.  After a few minutes getting excited about fall, it occurred to me that this was my second fall back home, and I wasn’t quite sure why I was as excited as if it was my first.

I thought on it awhile.  Last fall, I couldn’t be excited about all of the fun.  There was a house sale hanging in the balance in Boston – and one here that depended on it.  There was the fear that we (or, in all honesty, I) had made a huge mistake in pushing for the move, even when the condo hadn’t completely sold.  There was the pressure of living in my parents’ basement – something we appreciated being able to do.  However, it was difficult to go from living 1000 miles away to managing the stress of everything with other people around.  And, perhaps most importantly, there was the fact that Justin and I had to figure out Robbie.

None of that matters this fall, though.  We are settled in a house we love.  Justin and I both know that Lexington is where we want to stay permanently.  We have fantastic friends.  Family is nearby – and a Godsend.  And Robbie has gotten the help we all needed to get on the right track.  He is, generally, happy and able to act appropriately in different settings.  We have another little boy on the way.  As much as Justin probably doesn’t want me to say it because he’s worried I might jinx it – life is pretty perfect right now.

And so, without any constant worries, Justin and I sat in Commonwealth Stadium, awaiting kickoff for the first home game of the season.  We were able to fully embrace the afternoon, enjoying each other’s company and the intensity that is Big Blue Nation.  God, it was nice.  And there was nowhere else in the world I would have wanted to be.

Kissing

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I knew it would happen eventually, but I’d hoped it wouldn’t be quite yet.  Sure, I knew Robbie had a “girlfriend”.  We’ve even gone through the mall finding the perfect piece of jewelry for her.  But, deep in my heart, I kind of hoped he would go back to playing with the boys on the playground, coming home covered in dirt.

Saturday, while we were swimming, Robbie let me know that he had kissed his girlfriend.  We were just floating in the water, when Robbie looked at me and said, “Mom, do you think I’ve kissed my girlfriend?”  I’ve learned that, typically, the answer to these questions is yes.  This was no exception.

“Oh, really?” I asked.  “And where did you kiss her?”

“On the cheek,” he replied, nonchalantly.

“Oh.  And what did she do then?”  Is it wrong that I kind of hoped she ran away, horrified that a boy had kissed her?  It’s not that I want my four-year-old’s heart broken.  It’s just that I don’t want him serious with a girl quite yet.

“She kissed me back.”  Well, this wasn’t going at all how I planned.

“Hmmm.”  I was stalling for time at the point.  How in the world do you respond to finding out that your four-year-old and his “girlfriend” are kissing each other, even if it is only on the cheek.  “And when did all this happen?”

“After the bus brought me back to school.  When we were playing on the playground,” Robbie told me.

“I see.  And what did your teachers say when you two kissed each other?”  Here, surely, I would be vindicated.  The teachers wouldn’t allow kissing on their watch.  Their plan had to have been thwarted.

“They didn’t see.  We went far away from them.”  Of course they did.  I have a child smart enough to have nailed down a girlfriend this early in life.  It only makes sense that he would be smart enough to plan to kiss her away from the eyes of his teachers.

As difficult as all of this was for me to hear, I’m glad he told me.  I love that he’s excited enough about something like kissing a girl on the cheek that I’m the first person he wants to tell.  And I suppose I should be thankful that I’ve raised a little boy who would rather sneak behind the slide to give a kiss than push a girl down and make her cry in front of his friends.  But, the last thing I expected to hear this afternoon when I got home from school and asked about his day was simply, “I kissed my girlfriend again today.”