Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The invisible son

Should I worry that my seven-year-old doesn't seem to want to come home anymore?

Let me start by telling you how lucky we are (he is). One of his best friends from school lives around the corner. Literally. Around the corner. Three houses down, one house over. So close that when W needs to be picked up I can send E by himself to get him. This is ideal for impromptu playdates, carpool, and trading kids on non-school days.

Most of the time, however, W goes to his friend's house, rather than the opposite. For one thing, W's friend has a two-year-old brother, who is greatly amused and occupied when W is there. The two seven-year-olds can entertain the two-year-old long enough that the mom can make dinner, return a few phone calls, and possibly even catch a nap. She tells me it's much easier for her when W goes there. And for another thing, W prefers to go there. Always.

Two problems with this. One, I feel guilty for pawning off my kid (even though she prefers it that way - guilt just shows up, whether it's justified or not). And two, this means that there are at least a few days a week when W doesn't get home until 6:30pm, at which point he practices the violin, takes a shower, plays a little Pokemon on his DS, and goes to bed.

I kind of miss him. But I remember how important it was to spend time with my friends when I was a kid. I certainly don't want to deprive him of that.

Is he going to grow up and say "You never wanted me around - that's why I spent so much time at X's house"? Really hope not.

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