Monday, January 10, 2011

The inevitable snuck in today

Today was the day that Atticus brought home the seven year old version of "Mom, I'm dropping out of school and moving in with my girlfriend!" news. Many of you think that what I'm about to tell you is not that bad, but if you really knew me and my husband you would realize that for us, this is it. The worst news that a seven year old could possibly bring home. Well, maybe not the worst. There is always worse stuff than what you think is the worst.

He said that he wants to go back to America and never leave again. We asked him why, because he's never said that before. He's always been excited to know where we would go next. He responded, " I just like America better because I hate, hate, hate living in a place where people speak Arabic!" And he didn't say it like he meant it either. The worst thing about his statement is that it was totally rehearsed. After he said it I said,"Now tell me who really thinks that because I know you heard it from someone at school." He said, "Michael". Should I be grateful that my child doesn't really think these things? Or should I be devastated that he tricks himself into thinking that he is the same as these other kids at school. Up until now, Atticus has never told us he hated anything. I have noticed that a lot of his friends complain a lot and use the word "hate" a lot. Well, I hate it! Because it's rubbing off on my wonderful boy who used to never complain.

He then added this. "Arabic is stupid! And you know what I hate most about it? The writing. It's just black and white and black and white." Whatever that means. I know the writing is difficult. I've taken a class myself. But again, I know he's been listening to the other Western boys in his class.

And to top it all off, guess where he goes next. "Mom, I want an X box. I mean an Indiana Jones game thing." He doesn't even know the terminology. I know he means to say "I want a Wii" but again, he's just repeating the other kids. "I also want a phone just for me to put my own games on." Does my son ever talk on the phone? I asked him that. "Yeah. I talk to Grandma and Isaiah," he responded. We had to drag him to the phone both times.(no offense to the family)

How can my son go down this path?!!!!!! Well, I wasn't really that distraught over it because I knew in my heart that he isn't that person. Later on in the day he came into our bedroom while Jonathan and I were laying on the bed, lifeless, without a speck of energy left in our bodies, and wanted to pounce on us, which is always the case when Mom and Dad are on the bed. I said, "Atticus, what would you rather have, a Wii, or a canoe and a fishing rod?" His response was, "Well, I don't want to fall in the water, so I'd rather have a boat like the one Steve has to go to the mangroves in." Whew! That was what I wanted to hear. He didn't even give the question a second thought.
I know I'm so silly for worrying about this. It's just hard to transition from being completely in charge of someone's decisions to letting them make their own choices, whether they're choosing something just to be like everybody else or not. It's a shame Atticus has to put up with all the mistakes we make as parents. Poor kiddo! I hope he pulls through okay.


Sunny said...

Atticus is too cute! How is it possible that you have a 7 yr old? I swear he was just barely 4.

I'm sure he will turn out just fine - you and Jonathon are amazing parents!

Sonja said...

Ditto to everything Sunny said.

(but it did make me chuckle...)

Peter and Wendy said...

QuiQui it looks like America has successfully colonized the world with all those parts of our western consumer/entertainment/leisure culture that rob life of its true joy. It is almost inescapable. Fortunately our homes can be places of refuge. You guys are awesome. Miss you all.

Lauren said...

I love how you questioned him and allowed him to explain himself rather than jumping on him. It allowed him to start to figure out what he really thinks instead of just getting judged and slapped down when he is trying to express himself.
Ben and I have discussed this issue because parents have so much influence, and then the influence is split at a certain age. We saw a lot of complaining in Qatar, it is the culture of the expats there, but not everyone joined in. We watched those that didn't join in and tried to see what they did with their kids to teach them how amazing their experience is. Talking to your kids like you are doing is always so much more successful.