Friday, August 04, 2006
I’d been having two problems with the Two Bigglest Boys lately. I don’t like to complain here about them but it sort of relates, as this is a story of my journey from point A to … well, wherever this torpedo takes me, I’m hanging on and I’ll blog it, regardless.
The first problem is that Middlest Boy is becoming a whiny little grumpypants. He’s five and a half. I hope to nip that bud. Lately I’m ignoring it, trying to keep from choosing sides and not allowing any bullying by anybody. Bigglest Boy uses his superior intellect a lot, and not always for the forces of good, and Middlest Boy adores him and idolizes him, so it crushes him emotionally when Bigglest Boy won’t ply with him and is feeling antisocial in general.
The Two Bigglest Boys have not been minding me. That has started with the Bigglest Boy being openly disrespectful, a trend whose bud his father thought nipped but still comes back from time to time. Lately he’s been bad, and Middlest Boy has picked up on it.
When Bigglest Boy was doing it at home it wasn’t so disruptive but when he does it in school I have to come down on him so I did.
He’s been resisting me in very subtle, sly ways. He’s been throwing his socks and underwear on the floor right next to the clothing hamper. He’s been waking up at 2 in the morning to “check the hen yard” as he says, but that gets him in trouble with his daddy who tells him to let the cat out. It’s the cat’s job to deal with front-line chicken security.
Bigglest Boy is 8 years old, very knowledgeable about science and a real challenge. He has been diagnosed with a behavioral and learning disorder that gives him some cognitive awareness issues. He’s also incredibly good looking, which is hard because those issues leave him awkward and shy and not very outgoing. He doesn’t warm up to people immediately and so when people are drawn to him because of his beautiful eyes with thick lashes, he tends to be rather blunt. We’ve been trying to work on that, and he has made great strides but lately it seems as though he’s much nicer to perfect strangers than he is to me.
Lately we had an exchange that sort of cleared some air, We were reading something in school and a character said something that used the expression “You’ll be the death of me.” Bigglest Boy asked why he said that, and I said, “He’s using hyperbole. You know – exaggerating for emphasis or dramatic effect.”
He was quiet while the discussion went on between Show-Off Girl and Boy Cool about the Greek root words ὑπερ- and βαλλειν (hyper- bollein etc. “throwing too far,” correct my elementary Greek in your comments and don’t start laughing at me when this school takes on Russian, Hebrew and Arabic – help.) while Bigglest Boy was brooding away.
Later that night after I finally won the argument about turning off the light, he asked me, “When that guy said, ‘he’ll be the death of me,’ did he know that the other guy was going to end up making the ship sink and killing the first guy?”
“Well,” I explained “That’s an example of foreshadowing, and writers use that to build theme (θέμα: théma) and make the story exciting.
“Mama said that to me.”
“Your mama said you’d be the death of her?” I asked. Thinking back, I said, “She said the same thing to me, a few times. When people say it to each other it’s an expression.”
“I know,” he said.
“They don’t mean anything by it,” I said. “What killed your mama is something that just happens, not very often, and when it does happen it’s terrible.”
“You don’t think she got mad at me for something and it made that blood vessel explode?” he asked. “She got mad at me, the night before –” he began.
“Nope,” I said simply. “Didn’t happen that way. I remember. She came home with a headache. She was already sick. You were being noisy and jumping on the furniture. She got mad at you for that and she was especially sharp with you, probably because she was having a very bad headache. But her getting mad at you didn’t kill your mama. She already had that thing before she came home.”
“What about when she said that you made her crazy?” he asked.
“She said that?” I asked.
He nodded. “You called and she talked to you and then she told daddy it was you and she said, ‘I don’t know, she makes me crazy.’”
I laughed. “Just another expression.”
He was sketching in his sketchbook, and it was way after “lights out”. I was indulging him these minutes while we talked.
“What are you drawing?” I asked him.
“Solid-fuel booster assembly,” he said, the way I would have said, “space ship” as a kid.
“Cool,” I said. “Lights out, Rocket Scientist. We lift off at zero seven thirty.”