Homebound, for now
I have to get out soon, though. The cool snap brought to my attention that neither of my kids can fit into the pants they wore last winter. They’re all either too short, too snug, or both. For Eli, it’s not such a big deal. We’ll go up into the attic and bring down the box containing the size seven hand-me-downs from his brother.
But Zachary is a whole other expensive problem. He needs clothes, and he’s picky about what he wears now. No longer does it work for me to hit the consignment sales and bring home stuff that he’s willing to wear. Besides that, he’s getting hard to fit. The past few times I tried to shop without him, everything I brought home was too small, too big, or in his opinion, too ugly. So now, at just the time he is least likely to be bothered with something as mundane as clothes shopping, I get to drag him around town in search of a winter wardrobe.
I couldn’t possibly delegate this task to the husband, either. He’d blow the whole budget on a couple pair of expensive jeans – without making the child try them on first – or he’d come home with an entire camouflage wardrobe. Mama can’t take a chance on that.
Zach will be 11 in a few months and has officially hit the stage my friend Heather told me was coming. She is the mom of two grown sons. They visited us when her boys were teens and I had a toddler and preschooler, both exceptionally picky eaters. She said once my kids hit the pre-teen years, they’d start growing so much and be so hungry that they’d eat anything I gave them. Honestly? I didn’t believe her.
But she was right. Zachary will now try things that even six months ago, he wouldn’t take a second look at; much less actually stick into his mouth. He’s starting to earn nicknames such as the Fridge, the Pit and the Garbage Disposal. His favorite line? “Are you going to finish that?” followed closely by, “What’s for dessert?” Both questions are asked immediately after he’s hoovered down his own meal in record time and scans everyone else’s plates like a vulture circling a carcass.
The rest of the family must look like starving refugees, hunched over our plates, trying to hide our last tasty morsels from the little buzzard. Sometimes I throw him a bite or two just to make him stop hovering.
Zach’s feet and hands are already as big as mine. He’s moved up to men’s size shoes – another bigger expense – and of course, I knew this was coming. But I just wasn’t ready for it yet. He’s growing up so fast. Before I know it, my little birdie will be ready to fly the nest.
Experienced parents warn me to brace myself for this next season of parenting, with all the joys and heartaches of impending adolescence. I think we’ll be okay – as long as we keep the house well-stocked with groceries.
Kari Apted may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.