When I was younger, one of my favorite songs was John Mellencamp’s “Authority Song.” You know that one? I fight authority, authority always wins??? As often happens when I listen to The Who singing “hope I die before I get old,” I wonder how John Mellencamp (who is all of 62 years old) feels when he sings “growing up leads to growing old and then to dying, and dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun.” How do Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, both already approaching the age of 70, feel when they realize they are going to die old? They probably feel as silly as I do when it comes to mind that, for a while now, I’ve been “authority” and I used to rail against all that represents. I feel a little cheated because it almost seems like I went from railing against the darned thing to being the darned thing…
And the battle of the laundry basket has been won…by me. Either to humor me or to save himself the trouble of a potential catastrophe in the middle of a hot-flash heavy, busy week, TGG is now doing his laundry with nary a peep of complaint, nary a roll of the eyes. Strangely enough, I don’t take it as much of a triumph; it’s rather more of a rite of passage. As much as it means that TGG is being less of a whiny kid, it also means that I’m getting to be much less of a whiny mom. What I’m doing is, also, admitting that my sails are not filled by as strong a wind as they used to, and that is something that, if your kids find out about it, could work against you. I have known individuals who think they can create the illusion of something if they don’t let their parents let them go.
I am welcoming the respite from always been on top of everything. I admit it, friends, I have been tired, run-down even… Like I told Dada this morning: had I been a bridge, I’d have been declared unsound and closed for repairs a while back; I am a classic automobile in need of tender loving care… I need a break! So I’ve been lazy lately. I don’t mean doing less. I mean doing significantly less. I have read books, magazines; I’ve plucked my eyebrows (which desperately needed it, by the way, because I was starting to look like Bert and Ernie;) I’ve gone for walks to take pictures of leaves and trees and the sky. When J gets home from school, he does his laundry and helps with dinner. When Dada gets home from work, we have a nice quiet dinner and we relax before he sits down to catch up with whatever needs to get done before the next morning.
In J’s TV room I’ve installed a very simple workstation that allows us to do one small project each day. I’ve hung string on the walls so that his work can be displayed as if on a clothesline. I’ve caught J leaning back on his beanbag, admiring his handiwork, enjoying the play of light on the glittery part of it. I’ve set up a board in that room so he can make a schedule for his time in there, and -after much printing and laminating- he now can pick out from tiny pictures of book covers. When we’re done with the story, we do worksheets related to it, and we have fun. There is a lovely quietness to this, and J seems happy to have less stress among the occupants of this space we call home. TGG knows this, and I think it matters enough to him to make a huge difference in how we all conduct our business with each other.
Mind you, not all is peachy. Children tend to take turns challenging their parents, and TGG has opened the way for J to try asserting his will. I know what he’s doing, and I’ve made a deal with him: we now post laminated cards with the contents of his snack box, and he has to take them down and put them away as they are consumed. Once the space where they are displayed on the fridge door is bare, J’s done snacking. Eventually we will just hand him the cards and he can redeem them, but for now we’re making sure to go through a very obvious process of lining them up, saying out loud what there is in the box, reviewing the list, and making a big deal of removing them and repeating what is left. Believe it or not, since he likes the Five Little Monkeys song, this totally fits into his frame of mind, and I intend to stick to it until he accepts that that’s the way it goes.
Tomorrow is our great shopping excursion. The pants are more necessary than ever. I don’t know if this particular pair of pants KNOWS it’s getting replaced and has decided to fall apart faster, but I’m pretty sure that it’s disintegrating before our eyes. The endeavor to keep it from falling apart is tedious, and I’m hoping we can find a replacement when we go shopping or I will be forced to buy a pair online, and that might not be something J appreciates or is willing to accept. A t-shirt is one thing; J can easily shrug his shoulders and say “ok, I’ll wear this” by simply putting it on and letting it segue into the rotation of clothes he wears each week. Pants, on the other hand, require a greater degree of comfort.
So the quandary about the pants remains, and I am crossing fingers and toes that we can figure this out tomorrow. In the middle of that process, of course, we will brave the crowds of people that will be in town for Homecoming Weekend, and we will seek out the pumpkin we promised J. Rain is in the forecast, of course, because what would all this be without a little rain thrown into the mix, but…
I don’t have to do laundry, my friends. THAT is on the plus-side of the situation, and we take our joys wherever we can find them. Since we are now the authority we used to complain about, we might as well look for the bright side, right???