Alexander’s Big Day

This morning my husband needed to talk to one of his co-workers who lives around the corner, and who has two sons slightly older than Alexander. My husband and Alexander rode their bikes around the corner to go and talk and hang out. After an hour, my husband came home and Alexander stayed and played.

I had lunch alone, Jane went to a friend’s house, my husband played tennis, and then I collected the kids. All told my two kids were gone for about two and a half hours.

The afternoon was fun, we checked out Guitar Center’s new teaching facility, went to Vromans, hung out with friends, and then we went to Versailles for dinner. At dinner, as usual we talked to the kids about their days. Here’s how it went:

MR. G: Alexander, what did you do after I left you at our friend’s house?

ALEXANDER: Well, we played basketball inside the livingroom.

MR. G: Oh, do you think Mom would let you do that at our house?

[I shudder]

ALEXANDER AND JANE: Noooooooo  Jinx you owe me a coke.

MR. G: What did you do after that?

ALEXANDER: I rode my bike, the girl rode her bike and the three boys rode skateboards.

MR. G: And then?

ALEXANDER: One of the boys spilled Jamba Juice on himself because he was skateboarding with a Jamba Juice in his pocket.

MR. G: Who took you to Jamba Juice.

ALEXANDER: We just went.

And then the table was quiet, because we all know that Jamba Juice is about a mile from home and getting there means crossing two major boulevards. Five lanes, to be exact.

My husband paid close attention to his plate and muttered, “I’m not sure how I feel about this.”

Alexander wiseley amped up the sweetness and explained that there were five of them, he was in the middle and they crossed the street just fine.

Inside my head I’m screaming: he did it! My little boy crossed the big boulevard! I knew they could do it. I knew I taught them how. Naturally, I said nothing aloud. These parenting moments must be consensus, and sitting at the the table is not the time for the kids to think that their parents might not agree.

There’s a twinkle in my eye, Alexander is sitting up a bit taller, and Jane is waffling. She’s clearly annoyed that at 11 she’s not been allowed to cross the boulevard, yet she wisely sees that she’s ThisClose to being allowed to go an extra mile on her own.

We all pretend to care about some other topic, when slowly, like the sun rising, my husband lifts his head from his plate.

Well, I guess the kids are allowed to go to Jamba Juice now. I guess we’ve been overprotective.

Alexander, Jane and I exhaled. I beamed. Today was a big day.

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Comments 14

  1. I know we may have our differences, but right here… I agree with you 100% I was so pleased when my children crossed the BIG street on their own to get yogurt, without telling me.

    So many people OVER parent, and are overprotective, it’s refreshing to hear your happiness on your son’s ‘big day’

    I also agree on taking things away when their grades are down (via your twitter) I couldn’t agree more, the minute my kids mess up in school I take stuff away.

    I hope I’m not stepping on toes by commenting in here, I just thought this post was ‘up my alley’ I would have reacted exactely like you did.

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  2. [cough] *kiss ass* [/cough]

    Erhm.

    Oh – whoops. I mean, uh… Going back to the post…

    I love that Alexander. He knows how to walk the line between both mom and dad real well :)

  3. I love to remember the freedoms that come with my childhood and secretly, but only secretively, wish my kids would push the envelope and branch out on something similar to those days of my youth.

  4. Letting go and giving our kids more independence is a difficult process. Learning to cross the street in Los Angeles (a city where no one walks and cars dominate) is not an easy task for kids to master. I love Alexander’s confidence – confidence that comes from parents who have raised him to respect rules, be safe and feel loved.

  5. yep, a big day indeed. for all of you, eh?
    my kids took a walk last summer, all 4 of the older ones. turns out, they walked up to best buy. 1 1/2 miles away and 2 MAJOR streets. i had a nervous breakdown when i found out but i realized that they are responsible enough and the know how to read the lights in order to cross. but still.
    yay alexander. yay g family.

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