Sometimes when a mom chooses to stay at home, she worries that her education will go to waste. Little by little caring for little ones kills off brains cells. We cut everything at the dinner table into tiny pieces. We're doomed to forever speak in the third person.
And then your child turns ten-years old.
He soaks up every detail of every subject that interests him like a human sponge. And he informs you about those topics every chance he gets. At first this makes the remaining years of parenting seem like three consecutive life sentences.
I've taken to calling my ten-year old Encyclopedia Brown. Want to know about sharks? Ask my son. He knows the difference between each type dating back to pre-historic times. I can't remember the brand of orange juice I buy.
Want to know about the solar system? My son can tell you about God's work in such detail that you'd think he was God's personal assistant when the world was created. Yet, this is the same child that can't remember to zip up his pants.
But if you want to know exactly how to jump through the molten lava in the Mario game, he will tell you step-by-step. I know. Once we walked to the church and he didn't take one breath the entire forty-five minute journey. I can play Mario in my sleep, yet I've never once actually played the game in real life.
The secret is to look as if I am busy and enjoying what I am doing. Sure enough, my boy will interrupt because he has something sensational to share with me.
Every stage of childhood is unique with its own challenges and blessings. Sometimes my ten-year old and I simply annoy each other. I nag because he has to do chores. Ugh. But more often than not, he's my right hand man. He wants to please. He wants more responsibility. He wants to soak up that praise more than any trivia he's memorized.
So one day I slipped a love note in his lunch. It had been a particularly hard week and he'd made it difficult for me to ‘catch him doing good.' So I told him how much I loved him and that I was sure that we could work through this time together.
My son floated on air once he read the note.
Sure, he can talk a leg off a donkey, but that endless chatter in my ear while I drive, walk or cook is the sound of a happy kid. I don't worry anymore about dying brain cells. Encyclopedia Brown here is restocking my supply like there's no tomorrow.