Monday, January 24, 2011

Catching Up, Growing Up

Joe-Henry turned ten in November.  He is ten going on forty.  In fact, I took him to the walk-in clinic one Sunday for strep throat and we had a doctor we had used before and he said "Hey!  I remember you!  You're that kid that talks like he's forty years old!"

In many ways, like many boys, he is still not as mature as the girls in his class.  One particular girl comes to mind.  She is smart and bossy and pretty and he will do whatever it takes to make her laugh.  She shhh's him in class (which cracks me up, because he's been known to do some shhh-shing of his own) and rolls her eyes at him alot.  But when they come out of Marimba band practice together he makes her laugh so hard and blush so much, he is on the moon for the rest of the night.  He told me recently he has dreams about her.  But he also told me they're "just good friends".  And I'm glad, because she's a good friend to have.  His fourth grade class recently had their "growth and development" unit for science, which grossed him out, but "explained a LOT!"  This unit also covered hygiene, so he now showers every morning (in addition to the bath every night - WATERWASTERS is the word you are looking for), and has begged me to get him some deodorant.  I've said no for now, but I did cave and get him some Axe bodywash.  He tells me his "balls hurt", and I ask him kindly to please use the word testicles because his mother is a delicate flower (and I tuck that little bit of information in my worry bag), but it's sporadic and I asked C who said that there is a lot going on down there right now, and not to worry too much.  So I worry just the proper amount.  I worry that it has something to do with the kt, because I know he has some involvement there.  We need to go in for our yearly exam, so we'll bring it all up then.  Unless of course it gets worse.  Then I'll put my BIG worry hat on.

In addition to girls and testicles and Axe bodywash, he is all over the map emotionally.  When I told him the other day that he needed to do a better job of washing his hair because it looked greasy, and explained that increased hormones meant his hair and skin would change, he wailed "I'm turning into a BEAST!"  He gets really moody and upsets easily, and sometimes it seems like he's in hyperdrive.  He had a friend over all afternoon yesterday and they called each other "Dude" 1,367 times.  I'm kidding.  I didn't actually count.  Had I done that, I'm sure the number would have been higher.  He has developed specialized hearing.  Meaning, he completely ignores me when I tell him to do something.  It drives me 100% crazy. He wants a skateboard.  His dad says this summer, and I find myself tempted to go along, but also terrified.  So, if I cave, he'll be the kid at the skatepark wrapped head to toe in bubblewrap.  But because I'm crafty, I'll stencil some skulls on it, so it'll be cool.  He picks out his own clothes, and, thanks to family who totally came through on his birthday and Christmas, he is ready to kick Justin Bieber's ass.  (NOTE:  I like Justin Bieber.  I think he's adorable.  I worry that he's being exploited and pushed around.  But the only thing that makes it okay that he has a bio-pic documentary coming out is that it's in 3D).  Volcom, DC, Quicksilver.  Friendship bracelets, sillybandz, and a sterling silver guitar pick he wears around his neck.  Duuuuude.

Still.  He loves his stuffed animals.  He is still polite to his elders (unless it's his dad or I).  In fact, his kindergarten teacher just told me that he still speaks to her every afternoon, and I wanted to cry because he was just IN kindergarten, using those adorable little tiny scissors, and now we have to worry about his aching testicles.  But he still wants a snuggle from me at night.  I decided at Christmas that I would turn that time into something a little more age appropriate, so I got him To Kill A Mockingbird, which is my favorite book of all time.  Every night I read a chapter, using all my rusty acting skills to pull off my best Southern accents, which seems to be working because he is all eyes and ears.  He asks incredibly smart questions, and makes some very astute observations about the characters.  We both wince at the liberal use of the "N" word, and I'm pretty sure Harper Lee would want it that way.  (She's still alive, by the way.  Joe-Henry looked it up on Wikipedia.  When we're done with the book he plans to write her and tell her she "rocks".)  I feel so lucky every night that we get to share this.  I know he could read it himself, but I wanted to be able to answer questions that pop up and stop along the way to discuss the context of the book.

Last night when we were reading, he was mesmerized, taking it all in, then I noticed he was staring at me.  I thought he might be mooning over my double chin again ("mom, it's sooooo soft!"), but it was my ear.  "Mom, your ear is SO PRETTY.  It's so round and clean and flawless!  Like mine.  Except for the clean part."

How on earth am I ever going to be able to say good-bye to this time?