JP and I are on vacation this week, visiting my mother and stepfather. It’s a good time for both of us—I get a week of round-the-clock babysitting, and JP gets seven days of blissful 100 percent attention from all the people around (not to mention about twenty desserts per day). My mother has also redone her house to tempt me and my brother to bring the grandkids to her: lots of toys, kid-friendly bedrooms, and, best of all, a pool.
Yesterday JP and I are having fun outside, swimming in the pool, and he slips and falls on the wet cement, lands on his head, and cuts himself pretty good. A bit of blood, lots of tears, some bacetracin, and all was eventually well. Today he’s going around bragging to everyone about his boo-boo, and telling all who will listen about the dangers of running around a pool.
The only issue here is that I had to discuss it with JP’s mother. Point of fact, she and I are in something of a détente phase, so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world to call her up and describe his injury, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant. No mother likes to hear the word blood used in reference to her child. She was upset, wanted to know why I wasn’t supervising him (I was), but calmed down pretty quickly.
It just served as a reminder that having kids means giving up your life in ways you might not always think of. We all know that children control you utterly—that’s a given. But perhaps we don’t always think about how much we are tied to the person with whom we have the kid, even if, as in my case, I don’t want to be. I can’t just go my own way with JP with the freedom I really want, able to make my own decisions for him. I have to find ways to cooperate with a person with whom I never managed to find ways to cooperate. It’s a challenge, and more importantly, a total drag.
JP, for his part, couldn’t care less. He was back in the pool again, not running, thank you very much, but having fun. We’re on vacation, and he’s getting away from it all.