In high school, I took on babysitting as a means to earn money for, mainly, CDs and coffee at Dennys. There were a few families for which I was their number one sitter. One family I recall had two boys who were about four and six. I remember having to chase them around their house and endure head butts and outbursts of squabbling between the two. I remember thinking how out of control little boys are.
When I was a college freshman, I came home during summer and took a job at a summer day camp. I was assigned second and third graders: eight and nine year olds. Vague, hazey memories remain, now, of what those kids acted like and how they interacted with adults. One boy, Evan, really took to me and always made me watch him do back handsprings. I struggle to wrap my head around what drives a seven year old boy.
In the new Batman and Robin, Robin is a ten year old boy named Damian, who is technically Bruce’s son (he was test-tubed, but still blood.) Although it’s fiction, I keep trying to picture what it is ten year old boys can do. In Damian’s case, he was raised by the League of Assasins so his background is slightly different but it’s still a mystery to me what ten year old boys are like. As I’ve been watching the Little League World Series lately, I look at these boys, all around this age, and wonder if they could kick ass like Damian. Ha ha.
I went to my friend’s apartment to drop off a going away present a couple weeks ago. He and his family were moving to Baltimore where he got hired on as a professor. While I waited for my friend – who’d been called to the apartment front office – I sat in their living room watching his twelve year old son play a game on Xbox. The boy explained the intricate details of game play and the secrets he had found, the various ways to beat bosses and gain new items. As we talked, I kept thinking about what Elliot might be like at 12, what games he’ll play and ideas we’ll share.
Tomorrow, Elliot will turn two. In the grand scheme of things, he is still such a youngin’. But thinking back over those past two years, I am amazed at just how much progress a person makes. Then, looking forward, I am so excited to see how he’ll change and form ideas and bond with me and others; how my boy will go through all these stages that will both hurt and be joyful, heartbreaking and triumphant. Happy early birthday, Elliot Michael.