Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe-Size
A backward compliment to my friends’ kids: they’re too well-adjusted.
It’s not just Steph and Anthony, it’s Kurt and Maria, Marit and Kevin. They’ve got these kids that, for whatever combination of reasons (mommy and daddy are socialists social workers, mommy and daddy encourage dialogue and conversation, mommy and daddy engage regularly with them), are just a wee bit more articulate than I am comfortable with at their age.
“So,” says my niece to me, “about my dad.” I put my book down. Yes? “He really likes the hooch.”
This is not a conversational beginning I’m completely equipped to deal with.
So when Anthony’s son intentionally pushes Anthony’s buttons, part of me wants to yell EASE UP! WALK AWAY! LEAVE HIM ALONE! WOULD YOU FREAKING ACT YOUR AGE?
And then the saner part of my brain reminds me that, um, if you’ll take just a moment, he is acting his age. He just usually seems more together is all.
Anthony’s son is caught between wanting to be Just Like His Dad (this from my sporadic perspective) and wanting to be his own person. Part of being your own person is pushing boundaries, learning what you can do – hell, learning what you want to do. We do things we don’t want to do because sometimes we’re interested in finding out if we can get away with it. Rational inquiry? On one level. Dickish? One hundred percent. I’m still guilty of it and I’m thirty years older than this kid, so why am I throwing stones?
Because I’m playing defense on Anthony’s behalf. Anthony, who can discuss emotions and his own state (self-aware) but can’t do anything about his own critical reasoning (self control?). No, I’ve never yelled at his son. I’ve never yelled at my nieces or nephews. It’s a testament to the parenting that I’m annoyed sometimes. Why don’t you act your age?