My 7 year old son, Nicolas, is oh-so cool. (Nowadays, I believe the term is “sweet.”) He’s too cool to wear the clothes I pick out for him, too cool to call me mommy (it’s now simply “mom”), too cool to watch “baby” shows on TV and too cool to play with or be nice to his little sister. Now that he’s graduated from first grade and is home everyday for the summer, I get to experience his coolness all day long, every day.
I love spending more time with my little man, but his attitude towards his sister, who adores him, wasn’t flying with me. So I told him that every time he makes a bad choice he has to turn to her and say “I love you Karenna”. So far this idea of mine has been quite successful. And I must say, it’s music to my ears to hear those sweet words of affection exchanged between my children! Especially since Nick now seems to think that a show of too much affection is extremely uncool. (That’s why I’ve been instructed that there will be no smiling, gushing or cooing on my part when he utters these words.)
I may be imagining things, but it seems like since this method of discipline has gone into effect, Nick’s actually being nicer to Karenna. For example, the other day, when she was miserable and overtired, he offered to put her down for a nap. I was thinking, no way will she go for that. As I listened from outside her bedroom door, I heard him read her a book, turn on her music, and then…quiet. I peeked through the keyhole, and there they were, the perfect picture: cuddled on the bed, brother’s arm around sister. I couldn’t help but gush and smile at that one.
Sometimes I can barely believe I even have a 7 year old child. It seems like yesterday that my curious, intelligent, type-A personality boy was a bright-eyed, chubby little baby. He’s grown out of his Thomas the Trains, Bob the Builders and cuddles with mommy and moved straight into video games, sleepovers and the newest kid-trend of the moment. It’s scary how quickly the years pass, how I’m beginning to notice my son’s innocence fade right before my eyes. There’s no rewind button–this is it. I’ve got one chance to enjoy my kids’ childhood. Being a type-A personality myself, I admit I’m not always great at living in the present. But they do a great job of reminding me that moments like the one I just described will be what I remember when I’m old and grey. All I can do is cherish them as they happen, and teach my kids to do so also.
Hopefully, as Nick grows up, no matter how cool he thinks he is, he’ll never lose that sweet, sensitive side of him that he was born with and that makes him so special. If he keeps that in tact and isn’t afraid to reveal it, I’ll know I’ve done something right.