This tune is courtesy of my “The Shins” channel on Pandora, which tends to play depressing hipster love songs, and I just had it on while I was writing businessy stuff, but then there was that one moment when I stopped to pay attention.
Anything to make you smile
You are the ever-living ghost of what once was
I never want to hear you say
That you’d be better off
Or you liked it that way
So yeah, this is for you and your ghost.
New Iberia, LA. November, 2001.
Kyle had a playdate today and I thought Stewart was taking Brady out for the day so Kyle and his pal could have 8-year-old time uninterrupted by the little brother, but once the visitor arrived it became clear that Stewart had no intention of leaving his computer. So for a little while the boys all played together nicely but it didn’t last. For the next two hours I had to intervene what felt like every ten minutes as one kid or another got his shorts in a bunch because this one wasn’t being nice, that one was making a mess, the other one didn’t want to play what this one wanted to play. Kyle wound up in a terrible mood and I was praying that the doorbell would ring and the boy’s parents would come and pick him up. To the boy’s credit he was fairly pleasant about the whole thing but Kyle wound up in time out because of his foul attitude which made him also talk back to me.
I tried to explain to him that not every playdate – which once was just called “playing” – can be a winner. You can have times with your friends that are not 100% fun but you can still be friends again. And even though you’re mad, you can’t talk to Mom and Dad that way. So go to your room until you can calm down and speak nicely to us.
Overall I think it is a good teaching moment, but I am exhausted. During the summer there was a day when my friends and I had all of our kids playing together and their disagreements were nearly constant. We mused that when we were little, our parents were not expected to intervene in our arguments with our friends. We went off to play and if there were problems we had to sort them out ourselves. But now every five minutes it’s “He did this, he did that, this one is cheating, whine whine whine” when honestly one of the points of a playdate is to occupy your child so you can get some laundry/housework/reading done for God’s sake. Today I tried to steer them into working out their differences themselves but it was torturous to listen to it.
This is why I think it’s pretty important to be around for my kids now that they are older. I was important in their lives when they were babies, of course, but now they are so impressionable and the scope of bad things that can happen to them if left to their own devices is no longer limited to the physical world. It’s how they think and the way they solve problems and the influences upon them. This shit is getting real, yo.