Early one morning, just before the sun peeked its face over the horizon, #8 pushed open our bedroom door. He sidled up to the bed, staring at his sleeping mother and began to say very softly, “Mom… Mom… Mom… Mom…” until she woke up.
“What?” Wife said groggily.
“Mom, why you wake me up?”
Wife squinted at him through sheets of sleep. “I didn’t wake you up. You woke me up. If you want to go back to bed, then go.”
#8 stood at the bedside for a moment of indecision, and then he said, “Okay, I get dwessed,” and trotted out of the room.
Wife settled back into her pillow, thoughts of teaching that little boy responsibility for himself drifting into a fog of sleep.
It is funny how most children have to be taught to take responsibility for themselves. They seem to pop out of the womb blaming and pointing fingers. They can always inform me of who did what, provided that the someone was not the child who was asked. In that case, a long silence with shifting eyes can be expected.
#8 has been especially problematic when it comes to self-responsibility. Not matter what happened, he is ready and willing to point out anyone, no matter how unlikely.
While visiting my parents, he approached his grandmother after finding her cookie jar empty. At her knee, he looked up at her with the horror of observing a vast nuclear wasteland. “Gamma, why you eat all the animal cookies?”
“I didn’t. You and your brothers and sisters ate them.”
“Oh,” #8 said slowly, frowning with suspicion.
“Grandma will buy more when she goes to the store.”
#8 walked away, looking over his shoulder as if to question his grandmother’s validity. Was she sure he helped to empty the cookie jar? He did not seem to remember that part.
Oh, the hard-headedness of children.
Wife and I have to work years with the children to teach them to be responsible. And even then, hammering into them self-responsibility feels like breaking down a brick building with our foreheads. If they would just own-up to whatever they did then Wife would not get woken up before sunrise, and Gamma would not be accused of gorging herself on animal cookies.