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12 Aug

Our firstborn, our manchild doesn’t really qualify to be present in my blog, as he has entered his twenties. However, he has moved back home (already!) and does not earn an independent living, or specifically contribute to the maintenance of our household, which would make him one of us. Therefore, he is, by default, one of them, and so bears the honorary title of teenager. (Defined in this blog as n: someone who knows everything, as opposed to parents, who know nothing.)

The thing that keeps coming to my mind about life in general is that it is what it is, except when it’s more of what it is. I just made that up, but it’s true. That baby came out of my womb and acted a certain way, almost from the very first little actions he made. Twenty-plus years later, he is still doing the same things. It’s just not very cute any more.

Let me further illustrate my point. I ran across a photo not too long ago on a mommyblog (why do I still read these? I’m knowingly just torturing myself.) anyway, a mom had posted a photo of her adorable little cherub lining up a set of play tools she had just given him. It was a cute little vintage set, and there they were all lined up exactly right, and there he was in his little tiny madras shorts and little blue polo shirt with the little blue sandals. Just like my son so many years ago. She had written a little blurb to him to accompany the photo about how adorable he was that he was such a little perfectionist, and how he was always lining things up and it was such a cute little habit, and he only liked to wear matching clothes…blah, blah, blah…and I wanted to jump through the screen and shake her and say “Get him to the nearest counselor NOW! He is already dealing with perfectionist issues and mentally taking notes about the myriad ways he doesn’t measure up! By the time he hits high school he is going to be on Prozac just to get through his nightly homework!”

I look back on all those little quirks, and I just shake my head. How could I have been so blind? Why did I not see that when he was stacking his blocks and threw a fit because he couldn’t get them to line up just so, that it was a symptom of a problem that wasn’t going to go away with a few well-placed “Good job, Buddy!’ ‘s If I could go back and do it again, I don’t think I would be quite so free with the mindless praise. I did think he was amazing, and I was proud of him for every little accomplishment, but the thing I missed, or at least didn’t fully comprehend, was that he didn’t. Totally missed the boat on that one.