Growing Like Weeds

Hal came into our room this morning and indignantly began to complain about his older brother. After several warnings of “you’re whining” from each of us, he managed to spit out his tale of woe.

“You know what the worst part is about being the youngest?” I asked. “Everyone is always telling you what to do, aren’t they?”

Daryl capered in about that time, prepared to defend himself if need be.

“Yes!” Hal responded, pointing angrily at Daryl, “And he tells me what to do when it’s not his job!”

I smiled at how well he was articulating his point. Gesturing toward his sister, I said, “Yes, they are both very bad about that aren’t they?” I then gave him a hug and assured him it’d be ok. Daryl began to follow him out the door but I called him to me.

Placing my hand on the back of his neck, I gently held him steady and called my husband from the closet to take a look. Both gentlemen looked slightly apprehensive about where I was going with this.

“Look at this boy. Just look at him. When did he get so insanely tall?!”

“Over the summer.”

“Wow, mom,” Jane called from the bed. “He’s almost taller than you.”

“No he’s not, but he is up to her ear.” Turning to me, my husband continued, “I think he’ll be taller than you by the time he leaves the elementary school.”

I began to press firmly on the top of Daryl’s head until it was somewhere lower than my armpit. “There. Stay down there.”

Daryl laughed and then scurried out of the room when I released the pressure.

“What’s wrong with you mommy?” asked Jane.

“She’s just feeling short” was my dear husband’s response.

“No, I’m feeling old. These kids are growing up too fast. That one…” I turned to point at the massive body spread across our bed, “do you realize there are kids at the high school this year that will still be there when she is?! In fact, there were kids there last year that will still be there when she is?”

“There were kids there two years ago that will still be there when she is.”

I looked up at him, puzzled. “No there weren’t.”

“Yes. They are going to fail.” I glared at the Cheshire Cat grin beaming back down at me before he embraced me in a hug.

I can always count on him to turn most any moment into a joke. Seriously, though. I’ve got a four year old asserting himself and demanding respect, a nine year old whose legs appear to go on forever, and a twelve year old that’s only a stone’s throw from high school. Who sprinkled the Miracle-Gro?

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The Perils of Pole Climbing

Daryl loves to climb poles. He’s gotten pretty good at it over the years too, perfecting his wrap-around leg technique to grasp the pole with the edges of his shoes. We recently found ourselves at the high school football field, where Daryl saw an excellent pole climbing challenge: the field goal.

This pole was considerably fatter than his usual regimen and a bit taller as well. With some effort, however, he was soon calling out from the cross bar, “Mommy! Daddy! Look at me! I did it!”

We congratulated his success but told him to hurry down because we were leaving. He slid back down the pole and joined us. As we walked, he began to explain the proper approach to climbing a fat pole.

“With a big pole like that, it’s all about speed. You’ve got to keep moving or you’ll slip back down.”

“I see,” I responded. “I’m glad you got it figured out.”

“The pole was pretty rough, though. Look at my leg,” he said, turning to show me the scraped inside of his right leg.

“Ouch,” I said.

“Yeah, it kind of hurts. I’m all scratched up.”

“Looks like it.”

When we got to the car, he resumed the complaints, possibly because he didn’t feel that I had given his injuries the attention they deserved. “Why did that pole have to be so rough? I’ve got scratches all over. It really hurts.”

“Well, maybe when you realize that a pole is so rough, you should stop trying to climb it.”

In a fierce and determined voice, he declaimed, “No. I Do Not. Give Up.”

“Well then maybe you should quit whining about how rough the pole was. You don’t sound very tough complaining about it so much.”

Seriously, son. You don’t get to be tough and whiny at the same time. Pick one.