December 2, 2009

This morning....

I staggered out into the hallway toward the bathroom, still rubbing at my eyes and trying to get my brain to engage, and I happened to glance at the stairs. The Chamaco was sitting there on the stairs, playing his DS.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. (Though at that stage of morning it probably sounded more like "Whuttreyadooin?")

He looked me in the eye and said, "I decided I didn't want you to boss me around this morning, so I got up and got dressed and got my coat and shoes on. I didn't brush my teeth yet, though... you can tell me to do that."

I tried to make sense of this for a moment, then I asked, "Did you remember to get your snack for school?"

"Yep," he said. "I already told you... the only thing I didn't do is brush my teeth."

So I left him there on the stairs and went about my morning routine, issuing exactly zero orders for small people to get their shoes on or whatever. It was sort of oddly silent. Then came the point when I went downstairs and opened the blinds on the kitchen window to let some light in, and realized that everything was white out there (frost, not snow). A glance at the thermometer (33!) made me decide I wanted to go back to bed. Unfortunately that's a no-go on Wednesdays (and pretty much every other day of the week too). And then the Chamaco came downstairs ready to go out to the bus, and I looked at him and said, "Get a warmer coat. It's all icy out there."

"What?!" he demanded in that tone of derision that he has mastered so perfectly. This is his standard response anytime I tell him to do anything he doesn't want to do. He likes the flimsy little gray jacket, and he argued with me about whether or not he should have to put on a different coat for a few minutes. But I prevailed, got him into a warmer coat and gloves, and we headed out to the bus stop. As soon as we stepped out the door, he exclaimed, "Brr! It's cold out here!"

"Like I said," I reminded him. "See? Sometimes I still know stuff."

I don't know why, but it seems especially lately I'm on a quest to prove that I'm still relevant as a parent. Aside from cooking meals and washing clothes, he can now do pretty much everything else for himself. I even left him home by himself for 10 minutes the other night while I ran to the store to get some milk after I discovered that ours was more of a chewy solid than it was a liquid. He didn't die or burn the house down. In fact, when I got home he said, "I didn't even move the whole time you were gone." And indeed, he was sitting on the couch playing Wii right where I had left him ten minutes previous.

With his 8th birthday now a mere week away, I'm struggling to get my mind around the concept that the part of parenting where he is completely dependent on me for his every physical need is over. Now comes the hard part... it falls to me to try to guide him as he develops mentally, emotionally and socially, and to help him make good choices for himself until his brain matures. Yeah, he'll still grow, but his physical development is pretty much going to take care of itself from here on out provided I remember to feed him occasionally. I'm a whole 10 years away from being the parent of a legal adult (don't get me started on whether or not 18 year olds are mentally adult).

And no, that thought does not make me want to have another one, thank you for asking.

The first freeze of winter 09-10 this morning prompted deep ponderings of how much I despise Oregon weather. At one point in the planet's orbit you have to wrap yourself in multiple layers just to keep warm, and a mere six months later you find that your skin is bubbling. I am firmly opposed to all things cold and wet, and this includes rain, snow, and animal noses (especially dogs), which means I live in entirely the wrong state, and especially the wrong part of it. Every time I look out my window in the morning and see the ground is white, it prompts thoughts of hibernation... I could totally see crawling into bed and emerging sometime in late May or early June. I mentioned that this morning to the CTG and how ill-suited for Oregon life I consider myself to be. He shrugged and said, "Lots of animals here hibernate." Well fabulous... all I gotta do is get someone to pay my bills and excuse me from work for the next six months so I can crawl into a hole until the weather is nicer.

Or alternatively, I could move back to Cuernavaca where the weather is fabulous year-round and they have way more thunderstorms. (Did I mention that even the rain in Cuernavaca is generally warm? I had never experienced warm rain until living there.)

This was the view from our bedroom window in Cuernavaca. More of this, please!

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