Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Big Kid

It hasn't escaped my notice that I don't post very many pictures of Ethan. That's mostly because I take these random pictures when I'm at home during the day, while he's at school. Then, in the evening, there is too much to do to stop and capture the moment. There is a really excellent picture of him with Charlotte back in my August archive.

I love these three because the first one shows how sweet and gentle he is, and it also reveals the freckle on his ear, right where a piercing for an earring would go. It's the cutest!

The second was taken from his bunk bed ladder. I had to snap a shot of him sleeping upside down on his bed. For some reason, for several years now, he always ends up upside down, outside of the covers. Even he doesn't remember doing it. It's like he sits up in his sleep, and then flops back down the other way. Then the cat takes over his pillow. It's just one of those little idiosyncrasies that we love about our loved ones. Upside down sleeping.

The third was taken this summer in Cocoa Beach, Florida, in Ron Jon's. I love the colors in the picture, and also the little bit of sunburnt sass he's sporting. The shark shirt is a bit offputting to me, because I HATE kids' clothing with pictures and words on it, as a rule. But this one was a gift from his paternal grandma, and he loves it, even though it's completely unlike anything about him. Oh well. The picture also references Ethan's first successful attempts at boogie boarding in the ocean, which he loved. It was a big summer for him. He's always been overly cautious, but this year, at Disney World, he rode his first upside down roller coaster and loved it! I was very proud of him.

I'm often proud of him, especially as he grows older. He possesses such amazing emotional intelligence. For example, he will stand up for underdogs, against the masses. He has one classmate, a little girl, who is... awkward. Just giantly geeky, bless her heart. Well the boys in the class are rather rowdy and can be mean. At times they make fun of Ethan, who isn't friends with any of them really. He's friends with the girls. Because they are more mature, you know? And he's just not as obnoxious and physical as boys can get sometimes. This isn't all the time, by any means, but sometimes they fall into mob mentality, and can be a bit brutish.

And even the girls just aren't as close with this poor geekette as they are with Ethan and with each other because she's just SO very odd. And, like, awkwardly emotionally demonstrative.

At parent-teacher conferences, his teacher told me this story with tears in her eyes. It seems there are an uneven number in the class. And she asked the kids to pair up, and she just started down the rows, and the girls picked each other, and so it went, and she said she could tell Ethan was sizing up the situation, and keeping his eye on the odd girl out. And when the teacher got to him, he picked this girl as his partner. The teacher said she just knew he did it because he didn't want this girl to be the one at the end with no partner. The last one picked. Which is awful, as I remember well. The teacher told me she was SO glad she had him in her classroom that day. He thinks of others before himself. Have I mentioned that he's 10?

His teacher also revealed that he will stand up to the boys, when they are needling the girls, and will tell them to bug off. He's just not afraid to go against the crowd, when it must be done to protect someone. And I love that about him. He's exactly the kind of big brother I always wanted. (I was the oldest child.)

He never tells me about any of this, either. He doesn't do it for some reward, or even praise. It's just part of the quiet course of his daily life. I wonder how many other random acts of kindness he practices without speaking of it?

He is seriously one of the kindest human beings I've ever met. Just innately. I didn't do anything on purpose to try to foster this. He simply came out that way. All zen and calm and thoughtful and sensitive. Yesterday he told me that I was beautiful. Just out of the blue! He said I was one of those moms who will always look young. And I PROMISE you, he was not trying to butter me up for something. He is totally guileless. He's just that sweet.

Sometimes, I think that I want to be him when I grow up.

Because he is so different from many boys his age, and so special and valuable as a human being, I have fiercely guarded his innocence. Sometimes my brothers give me shit about stuff like him being in choir instead of soccer, and being somehow less of a boy because of it, but I don't buy that and I won't force him to conform to some limiting, unfair model of masculinity. Sometimes I think they hint around that he might be gay, which would be SO FINE WITH ME! I would totally be the BEST mom for a little gay boy. But he's not. So not. No self-respecting gay boy would wipe his boogers on the wall, or wear the same pair of socks every single day unless reminded to change them. He's just a very sweet, musically inclined straight boy, which is sometimes, I think, a more difficult road. There really aren't many socially accepted role models for this sort of male, are there?

But the little girls know his worth. They get it, already. I keep watching for some sort of Scorpio passion to assert itself, or rebellion, but as of yet, nothing. I think high school girlfriends are going to be another story. But hey, all they'll have to do is pass an IQ test, and everything will be fine. Heh.


Blogger yucaree said...

i have a feeling your ethan and my boy are pretty similar. except that ethan's mom is much more articulate when it comes to describing her son!

i really praise you for raising a kind boy and not falling into the trap of raising him into the image of what the world sees as being "boy"ish.

i sometimes get the impression that some people think my boy is a tad on the frou-frou side, but i wouldn't care if he was gay either. i'd MUCH rather he was a gay nice person than a mean hetero. but the bottom line is that i want my children to grow up to be decent human beings.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Elijah said...

The guy is definitely just, and there's no doubt.
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5:47 AM  

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