Monday, October 29, 2018

This is Eleven

Aiden: Ugh! I don’t want to. Ugh! No!
Me: You don’t wanna follow directions? Fine. Bedtime.
Aiden: Okay, okay! I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’ll listen.
This is eleven.

Eleven is backtalk and mini tantrums and everything being a biggest deal ever. Eleven is me learning how to deal with these pre-teen hormones while raising a free black boy who owns his feelings while raising a kind and respectful and responsible human.

Eleven is Aiden wanting space, together. Eleven is him wanting to watch YouTube videos on his phone for hours, but in the same room as me. Eleven is going in the next room to facetime his friends, but reading books cuddled up on my bed. Eleven is wanting to be alone, but wanting August to play on his bed.

Aiden: What’s an erection?
Me: It’s when your penis becomes enlarged. Or like, really firm.
Aiden: Is that like a ‘boner’?
Me: I guess that’s what some people call it. Erection is the scientific term.
This is eleven.

Eleven is hearing things from friends and feeling comfortable enough to come to me to get straight answers, clarifying answers. Eleven is asking the trickier questions and me trying my best to normalize and not stigmatize. Eleven is wanting privacy in the shower, but still calling me to condition his hair. Eleven is bath time battles. Still. Eleven is not wanting to take a shower, and then, not wanting to leave the shower.

Eleven is wanting independence and being nervous about said independence. Eleven is being excited to take the subway to school alone and being scared when the day finally arrives to actually take the subway to school alone. Eleven is doing homework alone and needing me to double check. Every. Single. Night. (#sendhelpnow) Eleven is no longer being afraid of the dark, but still sleeping with teddy bears and still wanting hugs and kisses before bedtime.

Aiden: I don’t like it when you and [HEB] tell me to stop dancing. Like, I’m not even bothering anybody.
Me: You’re right. You should dance anytime you feel like it. Just not in front the TV when I’m watching it.
Aiden: Deal!
This is eleven.

Eleven is speaking up and speaking out. All. The. Time. Eleven is me unlearning maladaptive responses and learning responsive discipline. Eleven is different from the way I was raised. Eleven is new for me, but normal for Aiden. I want it that way.

August: More yogurt?
Me: Aiden! Can you get him more yogurt please?
This is eleven. Eleven is having a built-in babysitter. Eleven is being my go-to person for all things August. Twenty times a day. Whether I need a diaper, baby wipes, his cup filled with water, a juice box, more yogurt, more pirate booty’s, more cereal, to turn on Mickey, to turn off Mickey… I call Aiden. Always.

Look at your career, they said.
[Alicia], baby use your head.
But instead I chose to use my heart.
Now the joy of my world lives in [Aiden].
This is eleven. 

Eleven is a perfectly imperfect and beautiful storm and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We made it. We're making it.



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