When I accused Child of giving me bronchitis, he speculated this might be a hitherto unknown yet strangely compelling superpower. I told him that the reason we don't have cats is because I didn't want it proven he was a future serial killer. He seemed surprised I used the word 'future'. The really sad part, that's not even the incipient fever type of conversation.
I have picked up a bad habit due to the internet and Child; he gets in the mood to ask me questions (like, unanswerable ones: "Are there any female Reavers? How does that work if they rape and eat everyone?" What the fuck, Child? Don't make me think about that.) in endless barrages of 'why'. This was fine before he was literate and the existence of wikipedia, but now it's just to annoy me. My most recent go-to answer is "Because they hate you", which by the way, doesn't actually work except in changing the nature of the questions, at least as it relates to Firefly as Child observed, "Joss Whedon kind of his entire audience" which I cannot say isn't true, so that went well.
Child's bff and my sister's first ex-husband's son is over for a few days before he goes back home, which is always kind of disastrously adorable, as they're both teenagers and yet have been friends since the age of four, so regression is both inevitable and hysterical. Step-Nephew is also at the hilarious age of discovering girls and the shocked realization after years of comfortable acquaintance that my youngest sister, me, and his father's female friends are, y'know, girls. Child has been fucking ruthless about noticing really verbally whenever possible despite retaliation during X-Box tournaments. This doesn't end well for Child. He really doesn't seem to care.
Things that are true; it's really disconcerting to see how much he's like me, habits and personality and thoughts and dreams and quirks, settling and connecting in the vastness of him that's so fundamentally different. To say I know my own strengths and weaknesses is laughable, humanity isn't that objective and I'm even less so, but I can speculate and looking at him, the surprise is how he wears them so differently. There's something in him that isn't in anyone I've ever met but I see a little in my middle sister; the lack of caring what other people think of them. In her, she might genuinely not care, but she is aware of other people's judgment even if it's immaterial to her; with Child, if there's any awareness of it when directed at him, he vaguely judges them for the audacity of doing so.
I'm grateful that he got that from her, because God knows, I don't have it at all; it's always a deliberate act to not care, and it's so very hard, and I fail at it more often than not. If it survives adolescence--and from what I can tell, this is a fundamental part of his personality, enough so that in the absence of something traumatically life-changing, it's going to stick--I wonder how that will work out for him long term.
I don't necessarily believe the power of social pressure can make you a good person, but it sure as hell does help depending on the company you keep: on one hand, I don't have to worry about bad peers influencing him to rob banks so much as if he suddenly decides to fall in with peers of bank robbers, naturally it's because he already wanted to rob a bank and needed help; on the other, have I instilled in him the fundamental values that will preclude robbing banks as a lifestyle choice, which probably, but only by implication that stealing is bad in general and maybe I should have like, been more specific.
On the subject of similarities of personality or possibly a very interesting argument on the power of nurture:
It kind of hit me--in a really uncomfortable way--that he rarely goes to other people's houses for anything, even birthday parties or for the afternoon. In my defense, I didn't notice because I grew up in a rural area and so I didn't very often either as a kid, and also, I was a very introverted kid with very, very few friends. Or so I spent many years assuming.
Child leans introverted but not as much as I was, and also, we're in an urban area. That's two reasons this should not be reoccurring. I worried maybe he just didn't have many friends, but his text log on his phone and his email and his chat are a hive of activity, most of them from school, a few from X-box gaming, and when I go to PTA meetings (rarely) or school meetings where there are other parents with their kids, he's co-oped by roving bands of kids almost as soon as the car door is opened, so--odd. I can't even say Step-Nephew is an anomaly, because Step-Nephew when he's staying with his dad always comes over to stay with us for a few days at a time; it's habit. Child goes over to stay with them while he's here as well. But I can count on one hand the number of times Child's wanted to go to a friend's house or have them over, and the number of invitations I know of is on an order of magnitude greater.
I have no idea how to broach this subject even a little, because seeing it in him made me realize that I did the same thing, but growing up in a rural setting and being happy to go to conventions and on trips kind of blinded me to it, because as a kid, when I went to spend the night with someone, it could be a fifteen mile trip so I had to know them really, really well and they had to be a really, really good friend for my parents to agree and for me to want to. I had an effective limit of two nights before I desperately wanted to be home, with the exception of my cousins that I'd known from birth, whose home I'd visited pretty much from birth, and always stayed over with--from habit. Like Step-Nephew's presence here, come to think.
And having people over to my home was actually really similar; my cousins, always, it wasn't even something I thought about, but other than the big birthday sleepovers age seven to around twelve, there were five people in fourteen years that I invited over or went to stay with, all best friends, none overlapping each other (I treated best friend like a combination of marriage and Highlander; there could be only one, and until moving across the state/out of the state do us part, with the exception of one acrimonious breakup; except for the moving part, this is still painfully true).
Thinking about this (I mean, why not, I have fucking bronchitis again, and introspection is what happens when you run out of Teen Wolf and Supernatural fanfic to read), through the view of Child's actually terrifyingly large breadth of school friendships and lack of frequent home visiting, I'm wondering if I was wrong about being vaguely antisocial or just some form of shy and just deeply weird about people in my living space or being in theirs. I love conventions and trips and hanging out with people when hotels are involved just fine; Child does in fact meet or go with friends skating or who knows, maybe he's robbing banks with them.
Well, not robbing banks, obviously, at least not as a lifestyle choice. I'm not actually all that worried about him taking up a criminal lifestyle, but that's more grounded in the fact he'd be so bad at it. Love him I do, respect him I do, and he has many talents, but stealth is not a word in his vocabulary. And honestly, I just don't see him having enough patience to stand stoically waiting for the money to be bagged with nothing to do but look threatening, though I have to admit, his phone has some pretty good games to while away the fraught minutes, so that might be less of a problem that one might hope. Though I would give a lot to see Child's idea of looking threatening when at last glance, he's still refusing to go near the rabbits due to an unfortunate incident with his finger, a mound of hay, and their tiny yet strong teeth.
I am less amused than anything at picking up bronchitis up now. I haven't actually been feverish as it's been just a really goddamn irritating cough and surprisingly mild congestion, which is actually fairly typical at work right now with everyone. It's much, much worse when I want to do stupid things like sleep, but seems to go away completely when I have to work or talk to people, which is the most inconvenient illness in history. I honestly don't see the goddamn point of being just ill enough to not sleep well and have a sore throat but can still test a program and have to carry on conversations. It's just stupid.
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