Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't Rock the Boat.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

For his entire existence, my son has been fueled by an engine that spends its time in one of two gears – stop or go. And stop only seems to happen at bedtime. Otherwise, it is go, go, go. 

I’ve actually thought about whether or not a seatbelt could be installed to keep him upright and forward at the dinner table. While my daughter cozies up for movie night with her beloved bunny, he migrates from sprawling to sitting to the fridge to the bathroom to the left side and to the right side. He even spends time sitting on the back of the couch. He’ll spend hours playing with his Lego, but only after I’ve spent 30 minutes arguing with him about why he should. He likes the quick leapfrogging of checkers and not the methodical plodding of chess. He prefers the speed and physical engagement of hockey and football to the waiting game that is baseball. He loves to read, but only because he has my knack for efficiently and effectively devouring words on a page. He does not like to wait and his impatience can be relentless. 

Note: In an ironic twist of fate, I now know how my husband felt when I asked him to take the garbage out over and over and over. In my defense, he would have complained less about me overfilling it if I had had to ask less for him to empty it.

But for the past few weeks my son’s energy has fueled his anger and frustration and we have argued about everything from what he says to what he does. So, when my son decided that he would be Captain Sparrow to my Mr. Gibbs I double checked the buckles on my life jacket, debated the merits of arming him with a paddle and clarified the rules.

Don’t turn around. Don’t drop the paddle. Don’t rock the boat.

But the energetic boy who likes to remind me that “we’re active kids, Mom” discovered a third gear in the bow of that canoe. As we pushed back from shore the angry fire he had stoked and that fueled my own was doused and we both slowed down. For hours we glided between lush canyon walls, talking about everything and nothing while our paddles moved in unison.

After weeks of being at odds, we found common ground on the water.

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