GoofBoy turned 11 recently. Eleven is big - like ten but more so. It puts you squarely into double digits and into your second decade. I’ve written before that seven is the beginning of a golden age for parents. Eleven, I fear is the glorious sunset, before the long dark night of puberty descends.
Still, at seven GoofBoy is pretty awesome. Sure, he gets mad and frustrated with himself and with the limitations we put on him. He gets anxious. He forgets about homework assignments and then panics. (This is far better then I was as a kid, I didn’t forget – I just didn’t do homework. Now, ironically, I am a grad student and a writer – my life is homework. My hobbies are blogging and exercise – more homework.)
But still, he is a great kid who just takes most of what comes his way really well. He loves comic books and computer games. He loves to play ball and to dance. He wants to go fishing and camping. Whatever is going down, GoofBoy is in.
We went to a local middle school play – he loved it. I let him stay up a little late to watch the ball game, he’s happy. I make him a quesadilla, and he says it is as good as mommy’s (obviously a lie, but I appreciate it.)
When he appeals to me for dessert, he does it humbly. “Dad, I’d like to split that chocolate diamond with my sister. I’m not complaining, but you know you haven’t given us dessert in four days.”
And that’s another thing, he includes his sister in his planning. He looks out for her, is thrilled to go to her activities at school and encourages her. Sure, sometimes they spat – but not often, all things considered.
We haven’t gotten his birthday party organized yet, but he’s ok with that. Also his plan to gather dozens of friends and battle across a school building with Nerf weapons may require legal counsel.
When I told him that while he and his sister are away this summer mommy and I will go to the beach and be in walking distance to our beloved Dogfish Head Brewery, he responded, “That’s good. You guys deserve it.”
And he’s getting smart. He read Moneyball (and says he understood it) and can ask about and understand some pretty serious concepts.
At 11 I see the terrific person he is becoming – sweet, sensitive, and smart. But I also know that person is about a decade away because the other thing about 11 is that 12 (with all the attendant chemistry) is right around the corner.