Thursday, May 3, 2012
Peter Pan Syndrome
Steve left for France this morning. In his prayer over breakfast he said "Lord, help the boys to be good for their mommy- Help James not too be so bossy, help Etienne not to be so rowdy, and help Sebastien not to be so whiny. I'd say he knows his boys pretty well, although I asked him to add a quick prayer that Christian would be through teething soon. I hope his prayers are answered for the sake of my sanity because it has been a rough week for me and my family. Being so far away from my folks and sisters, and Steve being gone makes hard times that much more difficult. There are days when I long for the old and simpler days of childhood- the days when my mom took care of me,and major crises were about things like what we were, or were not having for dinner. Instead, I wake up each morning with the responsibility of trying to figure out what makes these four little men tick. For instance-
The other night, as I got the boys ready for bed, I looked up at Etienne and noticed how grown up he was looking. In a mock severe tone I told him he absolutely had to stop getting so big- that he was not allowed to keep growing. Instead of giggling in response as I had expected, his face got all contorted and a tear or two escaped. I quickly hugged him, assuring him I had just been joking, but he wrapped his arms around my neck and burst into tears. It took me a while to figure out what he was saying, but the gist of it was that he never wanted to grow up. He just wanted to be a kid forever. I was a bit flabbergasted. I mean, all James can ever talk about is being old enough to drive a car, earn some money to buy whatever he wants, and play video games whenever he can. And here was my second born clinging to the present, seemingly terrified of an unknown future, and wishing he lived in Neverland.
I tried to convince him of all the great things he could do when he got older, but he wouldn't be convinced. I waxed eloquent, bringing all of my hard earned wisdom to bear, and trying to ignore my own recent longing for the simplicity of childhood. It all proved futile. So I just sat and held him. He only stopped crying when James, annoyed by his incessant weeping, walked by doing a weird dance and making farting noises with his mouth. In fact Etienne went straight from sobbing to laughing out loud which turned into a strange kind of hysterics. But he jumped off my lap to join in the dancing and rude noise-making. Problem solved.
Oh boys, will I ever figure them out? Then again, if I had known the solution was so easy, would I have used it? I guess I am just not yet used to employing crude humor as therapy. Nor am I sure it's the best way to go about fixing things long term. But I'm learning day by day- that's part of growing up, right? And whether I want to or not, I might as well accept it, because "All children, except one, grow up."
Posted by Nicole Lewin at 5:58 PM