Or Maybe Buy Him a Flashlight?

Pop quiz, hotshot.

You’ve got an eight-year old son who won’t go to bed for love or money. Every night you battle with him about putting down his book (currently Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) and getting some sleep. He wants to read until after 11. He’s getting harder and harder to wake in the morning.

What do you do?

(a) Take the lightbulb out of his reading lamp, hoping this encourages him to go to bed when he’s supposed to;

(b) Invest in a good-quality book light. If he’s not going to stop, at least make sure he’s not straining his eyes;

(c) Leave him alone. Be grateful you have a son who loves to read.

What would you do?



To Be Eight Again

My eldest son celebrated his eighth birthday on Monday. Last weekend, we held a sleepover party for him. In attendance were three of his best friends — all female —  his younger brother, and him.

At about hour nine in the festivities, the kids ran upstairs from the basement (which they had, by this point, converted into an enormous fort, using every couch cushion, pillow and mattress they could get their hands on) for water and a snack. They helped themselves and each other, remembered their pleases and thank yous, and didn’t make a mess. They then scampered back down stairs to continue the game they were playing, which was a scene by scene reenactment of the movie they’d watched earlier.

It was at this point, hearing their laughter, that I asked my husband if it was mean of me to lament the day when these kids hit puberty. When their every thought becomes ruled by their hormones. Because, I’ve decided, there’s nothing cooler than being eight years old.

Think about it.  At eight, you don’t need to be supervised twenty-four hours a day. But, your parents are still cool and not so bad to hang around with.

You eat with abandon. You don’t yet count calories.

You’re not too afraid to sleep over, but you still want your teddy bear. Sometimes.

You’re starting to have opinions about things that that aren’t the same as your parents.  About movies and books. Astronomy. The best fillings for crepes. Music.

You can read. Through the written word, the world has opened itself up to you.

You’re still able to be friends — best friends — with someone of the opposite sex, and not worry about it at all. Your parents don’t worry, either.

You’re still a kid. And no one has yet demanded that you be otherwise.