The Baby

Since the day she was born and every day after, girl midget has been the baby of the family. This moniker has remained despite her being nearly 12 years old. 

Last week she sprained her ankle while skiing, which I still do not understand. Wouldn’t ski boots prevent her ankle from bending?  The result is painful walking for her. She walks but not far and not quickly. In my head I decided to let her be a baby this week due to her ankle. What does this mean? It means this week I drive her to places I would usually expect her to walk. What does ‘usually’ mean? It means if she whines enough or looks pathetic enough or if she is running late, she can sometimes convince me to give her a ride. Other times, if she has pissed me off by not doing a task I asked her to do, or if she has used my makeup without telling me, or if I feel like she should be more mature than she is acting, I make her walk. Sometimes I will walk with her, for example to school. 

Now that it’s all on paper? I can see she’s spoiled. This is because she will always be the Baby. Boy midget pointed out to me this afternoon that I’m too easy on her. I take this statement with a grain of salt. 

My little bro, 4 years younger than me, is still a Baby, even though he is married and had a baby daughter of his own. In practical terms this means expectations for him are lower. I am so proud of him for being a great husband, father and provider, but is this so exceptional? Isn’t this what is expected of a 40-yr old man in a long term relationship? I’m happy for him but maybe I should tone down the fanfare. Is anyone particularly impressed that I am gainfully employed with a successful marriage and children who will (probably) not grow up to be axe-murdering psychopaths? No. 

Is anyone impressed that boy midget gets himself to weekend classes via subway? At first yes but not anymore. Once when he forgot his glasses on a field trip to a museum, he went to pick them up on his own on the following weekend. He also takes great care to live up to expectations for cat sitting for friends, getting himself there and back on his own steam. Now he will need to do something else independently to make me take notice. 

This July I expect girl midget will work part time at husband’s store, if for no other reason than to keep her busy and cut down on the debauchery (sleeping in until 11, logging many hours of computer time and grazing. That girl can go through a box of crackers like a woodchipper goes through tree limbs.)  A question arises from this plan: how will she get to and from his store? What would my expectations be of boy midget? Would I expect him to take the bus and subway on his own at that age? I don’t know. Plus, he isn’t a pretty little girl. Not that boys are exempt from molesters, murderers, and kidnappers; they are just as vulnerable. So why do I hesitate to treat them equally? 

(I must confess when boy started getting to scout meetings on his own, I followed him in my car. He didn’t see me because he wasn’t meant to. He made good choices; looked both ways at every intersection and was overall careful. His independence came at a price. But I sucked it up for the greater good of his increased maturity.)

It’s easier for me to do things for my children than it is to explain how to do it themselves. It’s easier, mentally, for me to drive them everywhere and monitor their every move. But that’s not practical or healthy for any of us. Pain = gain. Some day I’ll thank myself for this.  



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