Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Being seven

It must  be difficult sometimes to be GJ, my seven year old son.  I feel this way for many reasons, most of which relate to his quirky personality and nearly compulsive need for things to be... just so.  He needs just the right amount of milk in his glass.  He likes just two thin swirls of chocolate syrup over his cheerios.  His socks are always arranged with the seam very neatly aligned across his toes.  His gloves must be tucked over the shirt sleeve, under the coat sleeve and  then tightened, but not too much.  He also likes tall socks with his boots and short socks with his sneakers, so he brings short socks to school and when he switches from boots to shoes at his locker, he also changes his socks from tall to short.  He confided to me today that a classmate asked him why he does this.  Poor GJ.  He doesn't know why.  He is just this way.   

The list of unbending preferences is endless. Some of GJ's procedures are ones he manages independently.  This is ideal because few of us meet his standards with ease and none of us have the patience for taking tedious instruction from "the Seargent," as Johnny and our nanny call GJ when he is telling them how to do things just so.

I try to be patient, but on the third try to get the gloves... just so, I am ready to help my three year old daughter with her gloves and then get out of the house and off to wherever we are going, hoping we will only be a little late.  These are some of my worst moments as a mom.  The moments when I look at the ceiling and say, "Calgon, take me away."  Ceiling talking is the best I ever do in these moments.  At my truly worst I have thrown gloves on the floor, stomped off, and all but thrown my own temper tantrums.  There I am, the so-called mother, losing all credibility in the eyes of my three stunned children as I mutter or growl with my arms straight down by my sides.  If only I had a little mind eraser, I could remove this unflattering image of me from their impressionable brains.  In these moments I realize I have been sucked into the small child's vortex of insanity.  These are humbling moments.     

On top of his many regimens and needs for things to be (you've got it now) just so, GJ is seven and this seems hard.  He is on the cusp of being a big kid but he isn't quite there yet or at least he sometimes isn't sure he wants to be there.  He still snuggles his special blanket at night and doesn't yet shun my affections.  But he's the biggest boy in our house.  He's past Kindergarten and feels first grade is "big-time" (which it is).  He shuns so many of his once-beloved possessions because they are " way too babyish." (Don't even think about serving GJ a drink in his Lightening McQueen cup.  Lame.)  But he always wants a balloon from the grocery store like his little sister.

Last night, GJ was grumpy and exhausted.  It is the first week back to school after two off and he has not yet adjusted to the weekday routine.  By 7:30 last night, GJ had been stomping around the house, complaining about everything, and resisting me in every way for two hours striaght.   I was so sick of him (and him of me, no doubt).  I couldn't wait for his bedtime to arrive.  But then he had the ultimate meltdown and my heart broke for him.

He got into the shower after a long battle with me about whether he had to take one in the first place.  The water was icy.  Instead of standing out of the stream and adjusting the temperature like he would normally do, he started shouting that someone had done this to him and saying that he was "so angry!"  He was reminding me of his father who always looks to see who tripped him, even if he stumbles yards away from another person.  Anyway, seconds after this angry rant, GJ is suddenly standing under the warming water crying hysterically.  Through his sobs he manages to say in a truly pathetic voice...

"I do not feel seven.  I feel six."  


  1. Laura,
    I love your blog, but I can't be the one to tell Emily G that her beloved GJ is moving away at the end of the school year. I have tears in my eyes thinking about it. I have that picture in my mind that you snapped of them last year... Susan

  2. Laura,

    "Being Seven" is wonderfully writtten. It touches the heart and gives those of us far away an up close glimpse of GJ. A 7 year old who says he feels 6 is well on his way to 8. Thank you for this.

    Aunt Barbara

  3. Laura,

    I love this story and love GJ (and his quirkiness) so so much! I miss you guys already!

    Auntie Kimmy