Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Whine

look, an apple butt
Ah fall, the crisp air, the smell of fireplaces burning, pumpkin spice everything. Apple picking. Oh yeah, that. My husband wants to go apple picking upstate this year. In the past, we have gone out on the north fork of Long Island. The apples were meh, but the apple cider donuts were really tasty and we would end our trip with a visit to the notoriously overrated Lobster Roll restaurant and declare the fall season officially in full swing.
Only last year, we did not go apple picking. I was ok with that. Why didn't we go? Well, first of all, my son has zero interest in apple picking. We tried to make it fun and interesting, in spite of that. The last year we went, he was particularly difficult. He wanted a woolly bear caterpillar, like the one he found the year before. The one he oddly named "Gary". We tried to find a woolly bear caterpillar but there were none. He was disinterested and pretty much made it impossible to enjoy the day, and coupled with the unusually copious amounts of yellow jackets, it was not fun.
That day, we tried to salvage what was left of it and as we left the orchard with our overpriced, unattractive, names I have never heard of apples, I mentioned how I was looking forward to enjoying a nice glass ofLong Island wine at the Lobster Roll restaurant with my meal.
My 9 year old son sitting, of course, in the back seat chimed in. "I'd like a glass of wine with my meal", he said, matter of factly. After 9 years on this planet, I am fairly certain we have discussed that alcohol is a grown up drink only to be enjoyed in moderation (and never while operating a vehicle).  Of course, I gave him my 'wine is for grown up's honey' spiel. My husband and I shared a glance, with a little smirk that said 'he is so funny'. That quickly morphed into 'Good God, make him stop' as he continued to carry on about how he wanted a glass of wine. Why couldn't he have a glass of wine with his lunch, especially since I was having one, he yelled. He sounded like a passionate lawyer. Like he took this to a level of it being disturbing.
He pretty much made it clear that he had zero idea why a 9 year old could not drink an alcoholic beverage with his chicken fingers at lunch.
At that point, we drove past the Lobster Roll, my desire for my overpriced lunch long gone. We drove home in silence, of course after my husband gave my son the 'see what you did to mom' speech as I sat there , plotting how I was going to run away from the two of them.

That day, we realized that as parents, in spite of our best of intentions and love, we had created a monster. Our only child, at 9 years old felt he was our equal. He felt like a 3rd partner in the relationship, with his vote counting just as much, if not more than ours. Things had to change. I am not entirely proud to admit that it was not something that happened overnight, and it's something we still struggle with. The nature of my son's issues also make it a little more complicated, however, instituting boundaries, consequences and rules, with a lot of 'because I said so's' thrown in, it has gotten better.

So, as we plan out our latest apple picking adventure, we are cautiously optimistic. My son won't go apple picking unless we throw in some rock hounding (his latest passion). We already know that apples are going to play sloppy seconds to rocks. As long as he does not insist on a scotch in a dirty glass at lunch though, I will consider it a success.

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