The Confliction of Five and Ten

What follows is a post I wrote in the fall of 2009.  Sean was five.  He is now ten, on the verge of 11. And once again we again find ourselves wobbling unsteadily between two worlds.  The one constant in the midst of the never ending river of change that is childhood is Mr. Monkey – he is still there, albeit a little frayed and wobbly himself, but still an ever present and never faililng source of comfort.

August 2009 – The  Confliction of Five

As of late, Sean has been trying to convince me that he is over being a baby, that being a baby is so yesterday, that he has moved on, that he has joined the ranks of the big boys.

But like a politician, his actions don’t always line up with his words.

The other day as we were leaving the house for a play date, he ran back to his bedroom and grabbed Mr. Monkey to take with him in the car. As we are walking towards the garage, I notice his grimy little boy fingers, set to automatic, busily working and petting Mr. Monkey’s muzzle.  Mr. Monkey used to have a nose and a mouth. But they have long since been loved off.

His fingers are long and delicate and even pretty.  I remember how I marveled at them, the first time I saw them, how fragile and breakable they felt in my hand, how they moved as though powered by batteries. I was fascinated by his fingernails, miniature and as fine as tissue paper.  The thought of trimming those itty bitty fingernails terrified me.

I still marvel at those fingers although now they are scraped up and have a good amount of dirt under the nails which need to be trimmed.  Even so, they are still long and delicate, and even pretty.

As we walked towards the car, I watched him out of the corner of my eye, his fingers methodically twitching over Mr. Monkey’s muzzle. I wondered if he was feeling anxious about the play date.  Then he turned to me and said, “Mom, I don’t care for cartoons anymore. Those are for babies. I prefer real shows with real people, like The Food Network and Survivor Man.”

“Oh really?” I said more than asked.

I was struck by the composition, the stark contrast between the boy clutching Mr. Monkey and the same boy telling me he has moved beyond childish cartoons.

He is conflicted.  He is a boy wobbling and balancing on a high wire between two worlds.  On one side of the wire is a soft and sweet and safe place, where all the anxiety and ills of life can be soothed by a fraying and well loved monkey. On the other side is a not safe and not soft world that calls to him to come taste new and exciting things.  And he is conflicted. He wants to live in both worlds.

I’m conflicted. I want him to live in both worlds.  And daily we swing wildly between the two.



11 thoughts on “The Confliction of Five and Ten

  1. I check in occasionally to see if you’ve written any more. Since reading the comments I can see why you would take a leave. Very sorry about your mother. Never stop missing mine. I’m sure Sean is approaching the teen years of not already there. Always loved your & his relationship and wisdom you gained from each other. Hope you will be back soon. All the best to you & your family.


  2. Thank you Carol, so kind of you to say. I just leave all this sitting here thinking someday I will get back to it, but I don’t know when. My mother passed away this past February, but prior to that she spent a month in rehab to recover from a quad by-pass. We had given her an ipad and she said in the evenings, she read every single post and it made her happy. If for no other reason than that, I’m glad I wrote it all down.


  3. I miss your posts, too. Your blog is still on my favorites list and I check it every so often in hopes of a surprise. Could you post something once or twice a year? You are so gifted! Anyway, thank you for sharing with us all for the years past.


  4. Dear AM,

    I miss your posts. I miss your writing. Perhaps you are in the throws of writing a book? I wonder how big Sean has gotten. Geez, I hope this doesn’t make me a stalker. I’m really not.

    I hope all is well at the House of Antiques.



  5. What a wonderful post. As a mom of a 7year old boy I can perfectly relate to this struggle. I want my boy to stay the little baby he used to be, hugging his bear, which used to be white but turned grey, I also want him to grow up into this wonderful and brave little man he is now. I am scared to see my children growing but I am excited about their future (maria, http://www.happycrazyfamily)


  6. I’m glad you told me about your blog, really enjoyed reading them. I was a very young mother to my Son then Three daughters followed in my twenties wish I would have had your insite as I was raising them. Now in my Mid-forties I look back and can relate to many of your writings, and I also have my twin grandaughters that now live with me, and I couldn’t imagine raising my children in my forties. I’m exhausted after a Walmart trip. Please continue to write your blog it’s very good and very insiteful, many more good and some struggling times in the next eight years to come, or maybe start a blog with Elizabeth being the inspiration.


  7. Please write more! You’ve always been one of my favorite writers and, when my son came along three months before my 41st birthday, I joined the Antique Mommy ranks and your wit and wisdom became less entertainment and more life raft.

    He’s 6, I’m about to be 47 and I miss the intelligent, thoughtful voice behind this blog!


  8. We are all conflicted in the strange World we inhabit. I started reading your blog when Sean was a baby and here we are ten years later….unchanged, but somehow completely different. I thought I was a young grandma back then, but still thought of myself as 32 or 47 or 58. Now, I am pushing 79 and suddenly feel like a different person from those halcyon years. When we are young, we desire to be older….then suddenly are old and desperately want to be younger. When we look at the other side of life, there is change coming and we want to stay as we were. Tell Sean to hang on, life flys by way to quickly. You’ll never know how many moms you have touched with your wonderful writings of Sean’s life. Kacey from Cookiesoven.


  9. Yes…..I understand the wobbling and balancing act completely.
    Not only in the child’s world; but adult world as well.
    I believe we all go thru life balancing, and juggling something
    from time to time. Knowing that the older our children become,
    the more difficult the juggling act becomes. That
    Is the concern I feel as a parent. We just have to be there to
    Help them along the way as much as possible.
    Hope you, AD, and Sean are doing well.


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