Saturday, September 07, 2013

A Big Boy?

My house is full of big boys. Like really big, tall, lankyish boys. Boys (young men) in their late teens and early twenties.Boys who are so busy working and schooling and socializing and working again we rarely see. But  our home also inhabited by a "little man" who is not so tall. A "little man" who is striving to be a BIG BOY

As a matter of fact, this little man wants to be a "big boy" so much that he regularly lies to those who ask him his age. He will streak around the back deck, singing at the top of his 3 year old lungs..but when asked how old he is..he will get very serious and somber and say 3..actually 4..actually 6. Yes. I 6!

 That is his story and he is sticking to it!

Normally this would not alarm me. As a matter of fact, almost nothing our little man has done has alarmed me. I think I became desensitized years ago with the older, taller big boys. I trust that as long as Levi is safe and relatively happy, then all is good. Now here's the thing. The school year has started. I watch as all the Club kids start the school year. I watch the local homeschool co-op kids gather with excitement for this year. I am pleased we are not part of the hustle and bustle. But I also wonder (once again) if we are leaving him out of something exciting. Friends ask, "now how old is Levi? Will you be sending him to school?" I admit. Probably not. Still. I start imagining (not even realistic imagining) what "other" 3 year old early pre-school/late toddlers may be doing in the U.S. Even as I do this in my head. I know I should stop..yet..I just. can't . help. myself.

I watch Levi. My lying, little big-man..who is plopped on my bed, surrounded by trucks and watching t.v. I think... "oh my."

Levi IS happy. I can give him that...and I trust that he will truly develop at his own space.He's just different. The first year or two of his life we made an effort to take him on nature walks and expose him to lots of people, music and love. Then? Well..I started working..more..and more..and more.

With our older kids we had a lot of child-led learning until they were like...12. But I also REALLY limited their time in  front of electronics until they were ....teens. Levi? Yup..definately a t.v. kid. By the age of 3 the other boys were helping me with small chores and spending hours outside. Levi? Yup...definately turning into the indoor type. Why? I wonder. And I know it is because it has been hot. I have been tired and cranky for the past 2 years. We have let him run amuck indoors as much as possible. And we take him out for an hour or two a day. It usually involves collecting chicken eggs, swimming or going to the lake. End of story.

Add our laziness to his temperament.  He is active, yes. He is also a pleaser. Levi has learned to please us by staying out of the way. And in the process? He has become quite comfy in my air-conditioned bedroom, surrounded by trucks and pillows while jumping on the bed with his eyes glued to the screen. I think I can safely say, it is now his favorite past-time.

So Big B, my sister and I sit down and look at this boys future. No we are not starting formal schooling with him in any shape or form. But..I don't know..potty-training would be nice? Cutting back on the t.v. has got to happen. He is becoming addicted to the little screen in my bedroom. He likes to pretend my bed is a truck..pile all his toys on the bed..and watch various shows (usually Power Puff Girls or My Little Pony) for hours on end. And while there is nothing wrong with a little t.v. watching default activity..this habit of his has become a (YIKES) routine. And yup..I'm the one that encouraged it.

The 3 of us come up with a consensus of where we hope to see him over the next few months. Learning to use the toilet would be nice. But more important. How about shoot for 5-6 hours a day of outdoor play, continuing to join us for family meals and starting some daily "chores." That is it. His goals for the year. None of which he has helped to set but seem to be in his best interest according The adults in his life who care deeply for him.

So today we wake up early. We have a talk. I call it the "big boy talk." I had it with all of the boys when they were  2 or 3. Usually because there was another baby on the way. Not the case with Levi..

We discuss..underwear. Like this time we should really not just wear them for decoration but because big boys wear underwear. He nods and grins in agreement. And Big Boys help mom/Aunt Nicole with laundry, cooking,cleaning and walking the dog. He is excited. And they still help Uncle Brian collect chicken eggs and work on cars (he's got this part down). AND..they play outside. A LOT. And turn the t.v. off until almost dinner time.

The grin stops. Dead silence. Then a look that this.

 How 'bout..I not be 6. How bout' I be 3. He pats me on the back and says It's okay..I have time.

Out of the mouth of babes. Yes. Levi. You do. All the time in the world.

 But now? Naked, underwear or diapers..I really don't care. This 'little big-boy' and I are shutting off the t.v. (it's 9 oclock ) and are  headed outdoors.

At first he is..annoyed. Resistant. We decide to take the dog for a walk. I head toward the Pecan Grove we used to walk in. Before I go any further in this story, I would like to point out that I am a city girl. Now..back to heading towards the pecan grove with the dog and the boy. We hear a rattle. I'm pretty sure it's a rattle. Maybe it's a locust.

I'm pretty sure it's a rattle snake. mom..a snake says Levi. I consider turning back. Maybe we should start our outdoorsyness tomorrow. Our brave guard dog, hides behind me. I have to give her credit..she does at least knock Levi out of what she considers danger.Yup says Levi in an authoritative voice as he shakes the dirt off himself and stands back up while holding onto Laeyla (the dog). It's snake. I remind myself that a year of watching Power Puff Girls and My Little Ponies does not make Levi an expert.

We take a long way around the bush and continue to our Pecan Grove. As we start to enter it is shady. Almost like a jungle or a forest. Yup. It's dark..states he imagines whatever he is imagining in the same jungle I am seeing. I remember I have heard recent reports of bobcats in the area. I'm pretty sure this is where a bobcat would hang out. Have I mentioned I'm not a country girl? Laeyla  decides our ridiculousness is enough. We follow her lead into the Pecan Grove.

Then? Things begin to change. I remember a time not to long ago, when I enjoyed this walk. And then Levi looks at me with a sparkle in his eyes. I wonder if he could possibly remember doing this before. Let's go to the caves, he states.

I am stunned. We have not been to "the caves" (holes in the dirt on a nearby ledge) since he was 2. We head to the caves.

The rest is history. We spent hours at the cave. We even came home and made a lunch to eat in the cave. As I am walking on our second trip to "the caves', I enjoy feeling his little hand in mine, smelling his sweat mixed with dirt and listening to him discuss bugs and cactus. I am reminded of how lucky I am. And remember what I used to think with the older boys. It wouldn't matter if the best school (pre-school/day-care, etc.) in the planet was next door. I wouldn't trade this time with him for anything. Levi's words from earlier float through my mind It's okay..I (we) have time...

Lunch leads to hot and tired. WE return home for a swim. Now? After cooling off in the pool after our caving adventures.

 Levi wants to paint. I have to all my negligence of this little big-man..I have managed to paint with him consistently.
I am thinking how nice it is. It is quiet. He is busy. I start to chat and Levi scolds me. The big boy informs me he is in the zone. I'm like really? I realize he is serious

So I end the morning marveling at the irony of having "big boy" talks with my little of which Levi is included when I want nothing more for them than to enter adulthood with a strong foundation of innocent childhood awe and wonder.


Unknown said...

Love it. Love it. You have time.

Unknown said...

Love it. LOVE. IT.

"It's ok, you have time."

Unknown said...

Love this!
Love that you "have time." and that he made that connection. Such a smart calculation. :)