After enjoying the simplicity of Sunday afternoon on my shag rug I returned home just in time for a spiking fever to send me to bed. BFO was gracious and generous enough to bring Spiderman home so I didn’t have to go get him (11. BFO is gracious, 12. BFO is generous) and I was relieved knowing that 8:00 p.m. on Sunday would bring a sleepy boy and this momma could get back to resting quickly herself.
But I was terribly uncomfortable: throbbing head, aching body, shivering/shaking/sweating, all that lovely stuff and I was reminded in an awkward moment how connected Spiderman and I are. He usually returns from his weekends away with BFO like most people return from a weekend in Vegas; he had a great time, but he is tired… and after a bit of complaining about the fun times left behind he falls comfortably into my arms and into slumber shortly after.
This time he sat awake. And every time I tossed or turned in discomfort he did the same. As I would start to drift off and then be jolted away by a new pain he would sit up and say he couldn’t sleep. We were on the same rhythm… and the melody was flat and droney.
He fell asleep around 10 and we made it through the night (I spent most of it on the couch retching and waking in terror from nightmares about vampires, abandonment, and abandonment by vampires) and in the car the next morning we had this amusing exchange.
Spiderman: Momma, why is your arm so big?
Me: (Touching the top of my arm at first and starting to say ‘because I’m a grownup’ while thinking about how to explain what fat is)
Spiderman: No momma. Not the top, the bottom part that’s hanging down and droopy, why is that so big?
Me: (laughing. note to world: if you aren’t laughing at the cruel things your child says to you, you are missing an opportunity to laugh) Because momma used to eat a lot of food and then not do enough exercise and that made fat cells grow on momma’s body like these here (jiggles arm flap).
Spiderman: You need exercise for a healthy body. You need to exercise every day. Like lifting those orange things (weights) and getting on that balance thing (elliptical).
Me: Yes, sweet heart. We all need healthy food, water, exercise, and sleep for a healthy body. Every day.
-end of conversation-
Cue to that evening (at least 12 hours later) when we’ve pulled into the garage and I’m getting him out of his carseat when he inquires with a scrutinizing scowl on his precious face:
“Momma, did you do your exercise today?!”
“Yes, love. I did.”
“hmm. good.” (with the intent scowl remaining)
(between you and me, I am counting the two flights of stairs between my parked car and my new apartment and the few trips I made it up and down as my exercise for the day. I’m sick. It counts.)
I didn’t sacrifice hours of sleep and personal space nursing and co-sleeping with this child for many years past the comfortable American “norm” to have him think that HE needs to take care of ME. Again, after years of being age appropriately honest with him and avoiding trickery and bribery no matter how tempting it is, there is NO reason why he shouldn’t trust me.
Except one: we share a nervous system.
Oh yeah, that one.
|my inner child. 🙂|
“Do what I say, Not what I do” isn’t just ineffective because it is hypocritical, it is in effective because children are intuitive sponges with their internal radios dialed to their caretakers’ frequencies.
Whether I give him anything to worry about or not, he will worry if I worry. Whether I tell him to care for himself first or not, he will feel responsible for others if he sees me do it. Whether I encourage him to play and be youthful or not, he will prioritize being “grown up” if that’s what he sees me do.
If I needed a reason to embrace play, or to infuse my life with silliness and joy… that would top them all.
okay sweet boy, are you ready for this? we’re going goofy and carefree!
(someone out there: protect us? please!)