He’s due for some disappointment at 13

Conrad asked me about the Greek letters on the houses we passed on our way home from camp. I told him about fraternities, and why some people liked them and some people didn’t. I tried to describe what a raucous fraternity party was like (without saying “orgy”). But “frat party” is pretty much the best simile for an out-of-control party. So I told him that, and he joined me in trying to come up with a different one.

His suggestion: “An out-of-control bar mitzvah.”

The difference between sharing and taking

We took The Boy to the park today, and when he wasn’t literally running around in circles, he was engaging in his other favorite pastime: trying to gather up everything in sight and hold it all simultaneously. He’s not happy unless he has at least one thing in each hand, which can be hard when you’re climbing on monkey bars.

There was a little girl with some sort of primary-colored wheeled conveyance, and Conrad naturally decided he should be driving it. She wasn’t playing with it at the moment, and he sprinted across the playground, climbed on top of it and started to peddle away.

Now I know he’s only two, but I want him to understand that you don’t just get to grab everything you see. And by the look on the little girl’s face, I could tell she wasn’t particularly happy that this sweaty little boy was absconding with her vehicle. So I said, “Conrad, please give that back to her.”

To which her grandmother replied, “No, he can ride it. Can’t he, honey? You need to share.”

First of all, don’t go turning my lesson about not taking other people’s stuff into your lesson about sharing. I’ve just told my son to do something. Please don’t tell him he doesn’t have to, since, you know, you’re not his parent and all.

Second, do you really want your child to grow up thinking it’s okay to just take other people’s stuff? Or that if someone wants to take your stuff you need to let them? I know the instinct is right, but maybe we need to be teaching the toddlers that you should share your stuff when the other person asks, not when the other person just grabs.

Now I remember.

I just spent the last two hours picking a WordPress theme for this blog and designing the header (most of which I yoinked from a WordPress theme download site, so I figure that’s fair game). It made me remember why I was most prolific as a blogger when I was between jobs. It can be an incredible time sink, and a wonderful distraction.

In the time since I started this blog in 2003 (or the blog that this has become), I’ve had three different jobs, gotten married, bought a new house and had a baby. Things are almost immeasurably changed for me since my blog heyday. I said a long time ago in my daddy blog that I didn’t want to repeat tired parenting cliches as though they were profound new discoveries. That being said, I can barely remember the feeling of having an entire evening, an entire day, an entire week to kill and looking for something – a blog, for instance, or lurking in online dating sites – to fill it.

If it sounds like I’m wistful for that feeling, I’ll point out there’s another feeling I haven’t forgotten: worrying about paying the mortgage. Trust me, I am not wistful for that feeling. I have no wist whatsoever in that regard. When it comes to that feeling, I am completely wistless.