It can of course be argued that children are real people. However, no they’re not. They’re maybe people, almost people, might be people if you keep them out of the road and away from knives. Don’t get me wrong, though. Kids are great. They’re goofy and funny and they make you smile all the time but it’s precisely because they’re NOT people, because they’re little possibilities in little people bodies conducting a bunch of experiments regarding how to be big people and often failing. But then one day your kid is a person. And you realize that the shocking jolts in this parenting gig never stop coming.
One of the first signs that your kid has become a person is that he or she is tired all the time. Real people are tired, man. Kids want to stay up as late as they can, they wake up a few times a night, and then they’re AWAKE awake early enough to piss off roosters. When roosters mutter at your kids to get back to bed, they are not yet people. My son, however, now a person, wants to sleep till noon and isn’t beyond a 4 p.m. siesta. This is a major benefit of your kid becoming a person. You can finally, also like a person, get things done in the morning while your new person sleeps and sleeps and develops frontal lobes. There’s also an increased development in your relationship because you now pause midday, look at each other, and both think Man, I’m TIRED without saying a word. You understand each other, at least on this point. They still like terrible music.
Another sign that your kid is becoming a real person is that you begin having conversations that you’re genuinely, as a real person, interested in. Talking to kids is insane and you know this. My son, before he was a person, would give me 30 minute blow-by-blows of the video game he just played. My daughter, not yet a person, regularly engages me regarding the motives that underlie Barbie’s fashion choices. And sometimes they just completely baffle you stupid with chunks of dialogue that don’t cohere on any rational plane like: I want some waffles this morning because I hate the sky for murdering pigeons. This might serve as a cute anecdote later but, in the moment it’s just, yeah. Anyway, conversations with your kid that you might be having with an adult you like talking to is a major plus in the upgrade of my son from kid to person. We recently talked about Greek philosophy and that’s a far cry from making distinctions between Pokemon.
A final sign that your kid is becoming a real person is that he makes you laugh because he’s actually funny and not just because he’s massively unschooled in being a person. Think about it. Most of the reasons we laugh at children is because they’re doing something that’s completely insane as we sigh about the innocence of youth or what have you. This could be construed as a possibility for us to reflect on the strangeness of Being and how we take adult conduct for granted, but it could also be construed as kids being completely insane. When they become people, they refreshingly emerge into wit and sarcasm and, together, you can now bang on people and make fun of stuff. It’s been well worth the wait.
In spite of all this upside, though, a major drawback to my son becoming a person is that my child is gone forever and, soon, in just four short years, he’ll be off to college. This can induce some pretty hardcore nostalgia in addition to confronting me with the maw of my rapidly approaching death. That’s not cool. This new relationship between us, between people, with him approaching the status of peer is sprinkled with delights. But I’ll miss being everything. Once, I was everything.
3 out of 4 stars.
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