new york city kid in arkansas
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The other day, while being particularly annoying, Huck asked me this question: “Do you remember telling me when I was little that when children are acting annoying it’s because they WANT SOMETHING?” How was I supposed to answer this? He was trapping me in my own parental wisdom. “What do you want?” I asked cautiously. He whisper-shouted: “YOUR ATTENTION!”

It reminded me of something I recently heard, which is that what happened to us all last spring has resulted in children regressing. The speaker was specifically referring to his college students who suddenly had to move back to their childhood homes and learn remotely, but I think it’s true for all of us. Working from home and going to school from home followed by a long summer at home and the potential of more time at home in the fall, winter and spring has this family acting like much, much younger versions of themselves every now and then.

Take, for instance, when I play Stardew Valley with Huck. As the expert in these role playing video games, he’s the parent figure and I, the clueless child. He’s a terrible teacher in this cyber world, impatient with my lack of understanding and farmer-grit. He barks orders and expects me to know things that he never taught. I’m constantly pouting and blaming him for all my mistakes, sometimes on the verge of actual tears. Occasionally he softens and quietly apologizes, but always he’s secretly rolling his eyes. Yesterday he actually said, “If you’re always going to be so immature when we play this game, we’re never going to make any money.” Not too long after that, Huck was absent-mindedly playing with flowers on the counter when Troy grabbed the vase from him and exclaimed, “You’re messing up my sunflowers!” as if he was exactly ten years old. Or maybe 80. I’m not sure. It’s hard to tell with Troy.

In summary, we’re all regressing. Maybe that’s why otherwise common-sense grown-ups are throwing tantrums about having to wear a mask on their face during a global pandemic, the likes of which we’ve never seen. And maybe that’s why I get so mad at these grown-ups and prepare top secret foot-stomping lectures that they will never hear.

In other July news: Huck’s driving on actual streets now, Troy accidentally grew a ten foot sunflower, Sunny turned eight, and I continue to love my kiddie pool. Like every other parent and teacher in America, we are navigating the tricky feelings about returning to school in a few weeks, simultaneously creating lessons that can be taught through masks AND over Zoom. We’re preparing to paint Huck’s room (a project we promised we’d do this summer but kept hoping he’d forget about), possibly get a new roof (like everyone else in our neighborhood), and continuing to binge watch shows like “Broad Church,” “Unforgotten,” “Dark,” and “The Americans.” And most recently, Huck gathered all his French flashcards from last year to build index card cube contraptions, filling our home with lots and lots of paper.

Just like old times.

3 comments

Shaunties

July 13th, 2020

YES!!!! I remember the days of origami, magic tricks, song-singin’ and telling us adults what to do! And Mr. Troy is good for my own regressed soul. Wish we could all regress together! XOXO

Pappy T

July 13th, 2020

10 years old or 80… you decide!
(You big booger-head / pesky, little whipper-snapper!)

Aunt Jeni

July 13th, 2020

This line made me do a spit-take: “If you’re always going to be so immature when we play this game, we’re never going to make any money.” I should know better then to read your blog while drinking a beverage.

Please note that while you guys are regressing I have shingles like an old lady. But you will be happy that I am handling it like a 10 year old with lots of whining.

XOXO

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