Sunday, July 05, 2009

On the cusp of 10...

Ten years ago today, I was a turmoil of emotions. Excited because I knew tomorrow I was going to meet my baby boy come hook (which came) or come crook! I was also very, very angry (fear does that), because I'd TOLD the stupid staff at the hospital days and days ago that this baby wouldn't be born until they forced him to be born! I'd wished terrible things on the smiling midwife who wouldn't schedule an induction until I was 42 weeks (she ended up in a car accident that weekend, poor thing, she's now my neighbour, LOL!)... I'd spent the last few days on my hands and knees rocking - which considering my baby wasn't engaged and was in fact very high, I probably should have been a bit more upright (the things you learn, too late)...

Well, it's been an interesting 10 years, that's for sure!

Erik's childhood hasn't resembled my own too much. By this age, I was a lot more independant. I had already been going on shopping errands for my parents for several years. I'd been left in charge of my younger brother at home for up to 2-3 hours at a time. Within 3 years of this age, I'd be cooking dinner most nights, doing most of the grocery shopping, household banking and cleaning, while my mum worked extremely long days to support us all. Somehow I can't see Erik doing those things, nor would I want him to have that level of responsibility.

However, last night, I was thinking about how being 10 really is the point at which childhood is left behind. I can sense it on him, as well. He still likes childish things, but at the same time, he's got an air about him now that says he's moving on from childhood, on into a no-man's land that will become adolescence before we know what's hit us.

He's chafing at the bit to have more responsibility and I feel the time has come to let him stretch his legs a bit more...

It's funny, I've been waiting for this time to come, and I'm not at all concerned about it, LOL. I know that I was very responsible, even though - like Erik - I didn't necessarily have emotional maturity in spades (and sometimes I feel I still don't, so there you go!)... I'm excited for him now! Dave, on the other hand, is a bit worried - Dave had so much more freedom than Erik, even when he was 8, but Dave was an old man before his time, and so all of Erik's childlike enthusiasm worries Dave. But I had that enthusiasm, and I still managed to be responsible because I took a lot of self-esteem from the responsibility.

I think that might be the difference between my experiences of Icelandic culture (where children becoming independant at a much younger age than here), and Australia, where if you child does their own laundry or cooks a meal before the age of 15 it's a major event (as opposed to an everyday expectation). At 13, living in Iceland, I worked during the holidays, and I mean real work, factory work. I cooked most of our meals. I cleaned our house. I regularly babysat for friends and family (had been doing that from age 11 when I watched up to 5 kids at a time). No one made a big deal of it because everyone did the same time. These days though people seem to think childhood goes to 18 years and beyond! (I was shocked to see a thread on a forum recently about "kids" being allowed to live at home for however long they wanted/needed... What 23 year old NEEDS to live at home???)

Anyway, I digress.

I'm so excited for Erik, hitting double digits, more than half way to a fully fledged adult member of this household! Of course, if I think that in another 10 years time he'll be 20 (and I really hope by then he'll be confident enough to find his own place!), I do feel a pang of "where did the time go?", but wow! It's all happening now!

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