Being that Thumper is quite the performer, we always thought he would try to get the leading role in his school play. Apparently, he prefers to perform off stage. Every year I think, this could be the year where he shines and every year I try to hide my disappointment when he comes onto the stage as an apple or a tree but this year, this year may be the year, that is if he listens to me and changes his tryout from reading the poem Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater to singing his favorite song, Brighter Side by OPM.
The difference between the ages of eight and nine are incredible:
Never wanting to attempt anything new unless he feels confident about his abilities, Thumper allows for his high anxiety to sabotage any attempts at trying. Thus, we did not pursue music lessons, basketball, hockey or any other sport we did not start him early on. But his anxiety seems to be dissipating a bit as he becomes more comfortable with himself and his physicality. His teachers have even been able to remove the gel hand exercise ball that they cleverly gave him when his fidgeting, and clowning around, became too disruptive in the classroom.
It is not just Thumper’s teachers that have learned how to manage him. It is also his friends that accept his high energy and his undying affection, allowing him to drape his arm around their shoulders and speak fidgety gibberish as they walk around the school campus.
The Angel and the Devil:
All his life Thumper has vacillated between being an angel and a devil. As an angel, he flutters about with huge, beautiful white feathery wings protruding from his tiny shoulder blades and a halo glowing above his head, showering his love on his brothers and all babies and animals. As the devil, the wings detract and he becomes intolerable to us all with smoking, stubbly horns protruding from his head and an arrow of a tail growing from his bottom. When I am teetering on the edge of patience, I warn him that if I don’t see the wings soon I will make a field goal out of his smoldering body or wrestle him to the floor until he consents to behave better. As he grows like a weed I am finding better ways of communicating, before the reversal happens.
When he was six my mother and I took him to dinner in Florida with some of her friends. His behavior was so atrocious that I sent him outside to calm down. He sheepishly returned to the table and whispered in my ear that he needed to speak with me. We went to the other side of the restaurant, away from all the noise, and talked for an hour. His true theatrical abilities were revealed as he pleaded with me to understand all of the injustices that have happened to him in his life. At parenting class they warned me not to buy in to these dramatics.
I’m certain that his placement in the family as the oldest child, in addition to being a Virgo like his father, and my father, helps to explain part of his character. Now with a more capable, athletic body and a greater ability to focus he is more ready for the challenges to come his way. He knows how to use his charm to get what he wants but he has yet to learn how to charm those who have no tolerance for his antics.
Next winter he is going to enter the world of free-style skiing. I am filled with dread but realize that he is going to find the perfect place to expend all of his energy, into thin air.