Thursday, March 19, 2009
Do you think someone will call social services on me if my son’s toenails have grown so long they curl under his toes? They’re not quite like this picture yet (ewwww!), but they are on the way. I had no clue until he took off his socks tonight and said, “Mom, when you see these nails you are going to scream.”
It’s just that Jake turned 10 today and I’m trying to figure out what is his domain and what’s mine. When we snuggle in bed and he caresses my face with hands that, frankly, smell like ass, I consider it my domain to tell him to get up and wash them.
He brushes and flosses like clockwork, and even uses an hourglass to time himself. His bed is made every day with hospital corners, while mine is thrown together and all of Molly’s covers just stay on the floor. He practices his recorder and piano every day without being asked.
But what of bathing? Does a kid ever say, “I’m dirty and I need a shower,” or will I be setting this schedule from here into the foreseeable future? And the nail clipping? I guess I should have shown him how to do it himself before now. I mean girls his age have breast buds and are about to enter puberty, but it never occurred to me that my own spawn would ever be old enough to use nail clippers.
It’s kind of like the phone. My friends who have had jobs outside the home their kids’ whole lives, have kids who can speed dial them at work, text, manage call waiting, and likely order from Dominoes.
On Jake’s birthday today, as the well-wishers started calling, I became painfully aware that he doesn’t even know how to use the phone. Sure, he has known our number since he was tiny and we did all that McGruff the Crime Dog stuff, but the actual physical process of using the phone? Not really.
When I tried to give it to him to accept birthday phone calls, he shrunk back as if I were trying to hand him an electric eel. We ended up having it on speaker so he could talk to his relatives without actually touching the feared apparatus.
Playdates? Both of my kids would rather die than call a friend. They either beg me to do it or wait for someone to call them. Meanwhile, I have a little Alex P. Keaton next door with stellar phone skills who calls, properly identifies himself, inquires about the entire family’s whereabouts, and sets up multiple social activities.
I think the complete lack of phone know-how comes from the fact that for 9.5 years, the kids were with me nearly constantly. No real reason to call anyone when the provider of every need is right there with you.
I guess the toenail and the phone thing make me realize that while these kids are learning all of the state capitals, square roots, and what a stalactite is, perhaps they are a little lacking in the life skills category.
It’s as if the scales have fallen away from my eyes and I can now see that I share my home with 2 feral cats. I used to think we had all the time in the world to address these matters, but now that my guy has reached DOUBLE DIGITS, I guess I’d better get cracking.
Or get him clipping, I suppose.