Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dear Future Larry Potter

My Dearest First Born Son:

I write this letter to you in hopes I can give this to you in 30 or so years.

Someday, I'm sure you will be a parent, and someday, you will have a 9 year-old son or daughter. For argument's sake, let's assume you have a 9 year-old son.

My condolences.

It's not that you aren't wonderful in your delightfully weird ways right now, it's that it's so hard to see the wonderfulness through the attitude, backtalk, resistance to hygiene, and nosy nature. I feel bad that I get so annoyed with you right now, but honestly son, you could tone it down a bit.

I'm not sure how to make this clear to you until you yourself have to deal with your 9 year-old offspring someday. I'm not sure what's worse--having you be 9 around me or knowing that I was the exact same way and reliving my childhood through my parents' eyes, through my parenting of you.

You should know exactly what I mean by now. Assuming your son is a chip off the old genetically-malfunctioning block, you are experiencing the same air-quoted joys of the 4th grade child. Your grandfather used to say there was nothing worse than a 9 year-old, and as you are my eldest, it's true so far. I thought it was bad at 1 when you wouldn't walk, but could get in trouble in 2.5 seconds. Or when your brother was 3 and we had to call Poison Control 5 times that year. Or when your sister, at age 4, threw a fit so big, I uploaded it to YouTube and got over 1,000 hits.

It's 9 that, so far, makes me want to ship you off to relatives I don't like.

We seem to be in the middle of a Bermuda triangle that is made by you testing your boundaries with your dad and me,  the love of wearing the same pair of pants for a month, and a flair for the dramatic side of life (honestly, when you screams at your siblings, it's so loud and shrill, the dog next door starts howling. TRUE STORY).

And then there's your hair. You have beautiful, thick, fast growing chestnut hair with just a little shine of copper to it in the sun. You were born with so much of this hair, you had a part in your one day picture. I gave you your first haircut at 3 weeks old.

Which leads me to now. You haven't had a haircut since August. I'm calling this the "choose your battles" style of parenting. Your karate instructor has long, one length hair to his chin, and I know this is who you're emulating. When it's all grown out, it will be fine. But right now, you look like an after school special from the early 80s about bullying; you would be playing the bully. All you need is the puffy coat with the multi-colored striped around your chest and a pack of hooligan brothers.

This is pretty much what it looks like. How did I get this picture? I googled "extra from Oliver Twist." The hair is almost exact.

How do I know that 9 is the end-all be-all to disgusting hygiene and questionable behavior? I don't. Did you ever see the movie Bridesmaids? That one lady with the three boys who says she cracked a blanket in half..,that keeps me up at night. I'm not ready to deal with that subject matter. That's a whole 'nother ball of used Kleenex. But I know by that time, you will have other motivators (like girls) that will make you shower daily.

(Yes, I get both meanings of that.)

And now that presumably you are dealing with this as a father, I am going to offer you the advice my mother gave me to me when you were this age:

"Get him a haircut and wipe that grin off his smart mouth."

And you will find, as I did, it's much easier said than done.

Only 7 months and 14 days until you turn 10. I'm crossing my fingers that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.



  1. So funny! I recently wrote a post on my blog about fighting with my nine year old daughter about getting a haircut. Check it out here:

    All of what you said is so true - even for my girl!

  2. Oh jeez! I didn't even know I had a stage to look forward to between the terrible toddlerhood and the teen years. Looking forward to it...yaaay.