Saturday, May 19, 2012

growing up

Geekyboy doesn't want to grow up. He tells me so occasionally and quite poignantly. I think he knows that he has to eventually and that it won't be as good an experience as the here and now of being four years old. Every now and again he will sigh, look at me and say "mummy, do I have to grow up? I don't want to grow up."

I suspect this reluctance to accept the inevitable progression through life is part why we have one big hold out issue with his maturation. Ready for a confession? Geekyboy, who is almost four and a half, still asks for a pull-up to poop in. He has gone on the potty precisely once, and was not enamored of the experience. (He jumped off too soon and got a little poop on the bathroom floor). We talk a lot about him getting to be a big boy, big enough to use the toilet, or even the throne-like potty chair I got especially for him, but he always replies "But mummy, four is not a big number. It's actually quite a small number". Which is hard to argue with.

His sister talks a lot about what she might like to be when she grows up. She is proud of her new grown up teeth, of her ability to read. She loves being six and can't wait to be seven. Kindergarten was awesome and first grade will be even better. While Geekygirl ponders the relative advantages of veterinary medicine over restaurant ownership as career options, Geekyboy will state "I want to be a giraffe when I grow up", or "I want to be Mama Odie" (from 'the princess and the frog). He doesn't quite yet seem to grasp that though we do grow and change quite dramatically as we age, we can't switch species or turn into animated characters.

It was after a lovely lunch out with the kids that I got another insight into his funny little mind. We had been having a conversation about growing up, when he turned to me and said. "I don't want to be anything when I grow up. I just want to always be Geekyboy".

I realized then that the concept of growing up to be a man like his daddy is so alien and unimaginable to him that in his mind it is just as reasonable that he might one day turn into a giraffe. I explained that he would always be himself. That all adults were once little children, and all little children become adults. Boy to man is a journey wrought with challenges though, so perhaps geekyboy is wise beyond his years in wanting to slow down time. It is hard for me to imagine him grown. I can only hope that the sweetness, sensitivity and openness he has now at four survive intact as he grows into his adult personality.