The Learning of the Seven

(Note: This is something I thought might make a nice kickoff for this Blog. I wrote it just over a year ago about living with my Maria and her son, Jagger. He’s close to 9 years old now and as he changes daily I realize that I could write an annual “Learning of the (fill in year #)” as my learning never stops. cheers Jagger – Love ya)

Let me start by stating that I live with a 7 year old. Let me state further that I have never lived with a 7 year old, the only experience I have with such being the one year I spent living with myself in the early seventies. It was the year Frankenberry cereal came out and I was more concerned at the time with prank phone calls and the fun poked at me on the school bus than I was in trying accommodate the none too subtle nuances of living with me or anyone else that was 7. I’m sure if I talk with my mother she would be able to tell me of the similarities between that 7 year old and the one I live with now though I’m also sure that “I wasn’t like this”. This is a phrase that I’ve actually caught myself saying by the way, in the same way that we all catch ourselves repeating what parents laugh about that we will say.  Again, I’ll have to talk to mom. She’ll probably get a kick.

As to the living with a 7 year old that I’ve never done? Well I’m not completely ignorant to the world of small early stage humans, it’s just that I’ve never gotten this far in their evolution. My experience came when sharing a house with my brother and sister starting in 2000 when she informed us of her impending babyness, something we weren’t aware of, her included, at the time we decided to throw our hats into the same ring, a small 3 bedroom soon to be circus in Beacon, NY.

So there my brother and I sat, bachelor #1 and bachelor #2, looking down the barrel of myths, legends and outright falsehoods about pregnancy that would all prove to be true.

Without even a hint of girlfriends, never mind mom to be’s we were thrust into the world of babies. Everything babies, babies all the time, first, second and last thought babies, babies the book, babies the movie, babies the graphic novel, babies in IMAX (my god that pee stream is huge), babies are the world concerts for babies, babies rock for grandma, babies are babies u can’t touch this. And this was all before any baby was actually produced.

Eventually a baby did reach production, after a grueling 18 hours on the line and amid rumbles of a strike from the union workers: namely me. Across four hard plastic benches in the waiting room, with a newspaper over my face not hiding the early dawn and also not hiding the screams from my sister that led to a C-section, I was ready to walk off the job – that of waiting across four hard plastic benches in the waiting room with a newspaper over my face not hiding the early dawn or her screams. Then Jake came, a brand spanking new model replete with a great working engine, racing stripes and a fully functioning horn.

The next five years were a wonderment and support my contention that I’m not completely ignorant to this world of small humans, but I did regress. After getting my own place I quickly reverted back to bachelor #1 status just minus the main trapping of being a bachelor. Dating. Other than that my bachelorness went well. Benny and Shoes were happy. I fed them, rubbed their bellies, hung out in windows with them and scratched their ears. Shoes even learned how to get his own cat treats out of the cabinet and bring them to me while not knocking down the beer can pyramids on the kitchen counter, a lazy cat guys dream. All was good.

Then I met her. The best her ever. Violent regression backslide. Screeching breaks and smoking tires. Beer can pyramid tumble.

Now I live with a 7 year old. As with my first experience with my sisters’ baby product I’m getting used to a new product, one that comes with no directions or warnings, just like the first, requiring me to discover instead how to use it through trial and error and the common sense that I often don’t have. For instance trying to operate said product early in the a.m. may cause auditory damage if not managed correctly, (tarmac headgear helps, refer to directions you don’t have). Or, when trying to dress product, at least 17 different outfits should be offered to assure that at least one of them will be considered the products’ own choice, if not, be prepared for a really long morning and another tardy note. Also know that the desired breakfast may not be available, either through the dreaded immediate advertising of Nick TV or because you just forgot to buy something that you didn’t know you needed and then ran out of.

Like I said earlier, trying to remember what it was like for yourself is fruitless unless you consult mom, who finds this too entertaining, though she does offer advice amidst her giggling. The amazing thing though is that showering doesn’t always come with wet collateral damage, breakfast does happen, outfits gets picked, teeth brushing gets successful unwanted attention, lunch is made, bought or two dollared for the cafeteria, shoelace tying is finally tackled on a daily basis.

It is a slow process and I’ve only touched on mornings. You don’t even want to know, if you don’t already, what carnage the phrase ‘bed time’ causes or what it is like to live in ‘contrary land’, and you’ve probably heard the word ‘meanie’ quite a bit. But I’m living with a 7 year old for the first time and the rewards, though they may seem to be minimal to the outside observer, are huge. Bachelor #1 has this new product tying his shoes the same way he does. Give me one check on that imaginary checklist.