The other night, Child One, Child Two and Sig Other were nestled in bed together watching reality television. Not the “Biggest Loser” or “American Idol” sort of reality tv. But the sort that features a man with a knife and a compass eating raw grubs and fetal duck eggs. Child Two’s great quote of the day, “If I was a girl, I’d like me.” It was a simple statement really – and one that in many ways I hope he carries with him through whatever awkward teenage years lay ahead and continues to feel through the inevitable rejections of adolescence and early manhood.
I get incredibly excited when I think of Child Two’s future. I have no idea what it will be. The boy he is at ten is so spectacularly different from the boy he was at six, at seven, at eight… Who will he be a year from now? Five years from now? I could never have guessed that the wit and intelligence and sensitivity and acutely observed moments that he expresses would characterize a boy who, only a few years ago, barely spoke, was afraid of almost everything and was paralyzed by crippling anxiety. This is not to say Child Two is not without his neurosis. Certainly there are moments of real frustration – moments where I feel helpless and confused and certain that I am neither sensitive enough nor well-enough equipped to deal with or understand all the complexity that plagues the boy. But the wonder of who he is today versus who he was a few years ago is enough to instill great hope in the future (both his and mine).
Child Two has a great, gorgeous, blonde tousle of hair on his head. It is so spectacular that strangers are often compelled to reach out and touch it – pet it really, as one would a new golden retriever puppy. This was a particular problem when Child Two was younger and had a severe aversion to being touched by anyone other than his parents. And it is odd how often a stranger feels not only tempted but somehow entitled to touch the head of a child they’ve never met. You wouldn’t pet a dog on the street without asking its owner. And yet someone else’s child seems fair game. And while Child Two doesn’t bite (or at least not without severe provocation from his older sister), still it seems wrong that he should be subjected to the grabby hands of strangers just because genetics provided him with spectacular hair.