Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Motherhood & More: When the kid's right, he's right — even if he's wrong*

I have a kid who knows more than me.

At least, that’s what he believes. And he’s right in some instances. For example, I do not know whether emeralds are stronger than diamonds in Minecraft or how to work the Playstation remote or the different life cycles of certain bugs.

I do, however, know that Valentine’s Day always, every year, falls on Feb. 14, not Feb. 7. The child was adamant to the point of frustration and near tears that he was right and we, his parents, were absolute idiots for not knowing the true date of the holiday.

This type of thing happens often. When he is sure, he will fight you with the determination of a stubborn 7-year-old dealing with his out-of-touch parents. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes he’s wrong. Always he’s obstinate.

I try to think back to when I was his age and wanted to be taken seriously and whether I was as much of a jerk to my parents. (Yes. The answer is yes. I am still not quite clear how my parents didn’t regularly drop me and my sister off somewhere for extended periods of time just to get away from the enormous amount of attitude heaped upon them daily.)

I know it’s horrible to be dismissed and not respected as an intelligent, thoughtful person, even at 7. I try to be as supportive as I can while still needing to banish the child to his room until he stops talking to me as if no one in the entire world could be as “un-with it” as I am.

And the thing is, he’s super, crazy smart. He does know much more than I do on certain subjects, which makes all of this that much harder.

I honestly thought I had more time before this became an issue. Twelve? Thirteen? Isn’t that the age the eye rolling starts? But now I can see years and years spread out before us, with him being increasingly right and me being increasingly wrong.

We, the parents, will become progressively out of touch with what “the kids these days” are doing. Already I can’t keep up with technology, so I am becoming a stereotypical mom who needs her kid to show her how to use all the new-fangled phone apps. I also now am using words like “new-fangled.”

So he will grow ever away from me — seeking more time with friends and less time with his boring, dorky parents.

For now, though, I still can get him to discuss books and movies and whatever else is interesting him, though I tune out when he starts in on Minecraft. There is only so much interest in Minecraft I can fake and I met my limit a year ago. (Sorry, kid. This blank stare totally doesn’t mean I’m not interested in seeing the new house you built. Swearsies.)

And maybe, if I am lucky and patient and can ignore the eye rolling, he will continue to teach me new things and I will be able to learn with him.

At least until he turns 13, right?

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on February 24, 2016.