Recently I wrote about our visit to the emergency room. I wrote about going because my son, J decided to put a foam checker up his nose. As I write, I am grateful he chose that orifice over other options available to him. After writing it, I realized that when you share an emergency room story, most parents have one of their own. So I thought I’d put a “shout out” to any parents who wish to share an E. R. tale. If I don’t hear from anyone, I’ll just assume J’s emergency room story was more interesting than anything you might have experienced as a parent and I’ll understand.
Barack Obama is the democratic nominee for President. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to get a record number of votes and come this far for the nomination. So how do I talk about this with the boys?
I debated telling Ry about the significance of this today. On one hand, I wondered how weird that would sound to a six year old to hear that it is such a big deal that an African American and a woman are at this point for the first time in the history of the United States. Quite honestly, it made me sad to have to say it. Here he is entering a world where a diverse group of kids interact regularly, so why couldn’t any of them be president. It’s easy to see how closed minded and limited we had been as a nation when you try to tell your kid why this day is significant. It was clear he just didn’t get it. His associations to Obama date back to Obama’s run for senator of Illinois.
We went as a family to a rally for Obama at a local auditorium. Even J was with us in, albeit in a “Snuggly.” Obama buzz was in the air. He electrified the partisan crowd. Every Democratic elected official was there, hoping some of the good feelings for Obama would translate to votes for them. At the time, Stevie Wonder’s song, “higher ground,” was the theme song. The crowd danced and cheered knowing something special was happening.
When Ry was still in the womb, September 11 happened. We wondered what kind of world he would be living in. I can honestly say that neither my wife nor I considered the possibility of a world where an African American man could be the nominee of the Democratic Party and a woman could be a very significant runner up. I am starting to believe the possibilities are endless for these boys.
I hope this question elicits more of a response as the boys get older. But for now, I hear very little about Kindergarten A and less about the Yellow Room. I don’t know what I’m expecting. I’ve learned to make my questions more specific,” what did you bring up for current events?, what exactly does the line leader do? did you go to the park? How is Punky the guinea pig? and Thor the turtle? We have advanced though from no response at all to Ry raising his hands. I can only hope I learn more in first grade and Red room.
Recently a ghost from our past has returned the house. I’m talking about “BAD DREAMS.” For at least a year, we’ve been able to sleep pretty well since both the boys would go down to bed and not wake up till morning. But those days are gone. Recently, at around 2-4 am, I’ve heard J’s semi stuck door, do a 1pull-2 pull and threeee to open, followed by racing foot steps scampering on the rug till our bedroom door bolts open and I hear, ” Mama, I had a bad dream!!” I had forgotten about “bad dream” nights. We dealt with it with Ry, but that seemed like so long ago. And now “IT”S BAACK!!!”
I think we are still in denial about it, so we let him come into bed for a few mintues and then put him back in bed till the next door pull, 1-2-3, scamper, “MAMA.” We’ve tried talking about the dream. We’ve used magic to erase the bad dreams, or if I’m very tired, perhaps I’ll call upon a pretend vacuum cleaner, or if I’m more refreshed, perhaps I’ll try a rhyme. “Bad dream go away and leave J alone today,” ( sang to the tune of rain, rain, go away.) Once a night, I can handle, but when there are multiple dreams, that can destroy your sleep and the next day.
It is my understanding that part of this has to do with his emerging sense of independence. It appears the more independent he feels, the more he becomes aware of how his independence can leave him vulnerable to new hurts. So it stirs up the mix of wanting independence, but still needing to be dependent on good old mom and dad. I think this is all preparation for what will later be called adolescence.
I don’t know how it starts, but sometimes the best moments are not planned, have no purpose, and just spontaneously appear. Last night, I came home feeling pretty tired. My wife was exhausted from driving the boys to school and back, taking grandma to get some x-rays, and then taking home one of Ry’s friends for a play date and dinner. So neither of us had much in the tank, and thankfully the boys ate during the play date. So considering there was still 1.5 hours before a bath and bed, this evening could have gone in several directions. Of course, the one we anticipate and dread is one that involves the two boys fighting, calling each other variations of “poopyhead,” followed by a slip, fall, and crying “MAMA!!” But last night was different.
Ry put on one of his homemade music CD’s and started doing some silly dances. J mirrored his moves. And then they both found a collection of hats in one of the drawers and started improvising movements. This went on for at least twenty minutes. They found a way for both of them to participate and it allowed us a chance to eat, not necessarily in peace, but for one night, they chose the road less travelled.