On raising kids – and kids

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As the children grow and change I have really enjoyed watching how the interaction between adult and child changes. Where once their “help” was heartwarming but not necessarily “helpful,” now they are a crucial part of getting us through the day.

Girlwonder is in charge of animal care and making sure the menfolk are appropriately attired when they step out. It is her job to say “are you really going to wear that?” Ditto “people know we are related. You are most definitely not going to wear that.”

Dogged

BoyWonder is officially in charge of canine medications and goat wrangling.

Our largest dog has found his waistline, thanks to BoyWonder’s judicious attention to the dog’s thyroid meds.

Meanwhile, our littlest goat has decided that his new motto is “don’t fence me in.” Not content to wait until we bring the food to him, he has been meeting us at the back door. Just as a reminder I guess.

The menfolk have been working up a fence worthy of a Houdini escape. Billy the goat, in turn, spends his days ducking through it whenever he feels like it.

Escape artist

The boys keep repairing it, the deer keep crashing through it, and the goat (note we have two but only one felt the need to take advantage) keeps wandering out.

The fence was patched, propped and otherwise put to rights, only to have one small grey goat with a gleam in his eye deftly escape (can he fly?) and wander around the back yard.

Keep in mind that at this point our goat containment committee consists of one college-educated adult, two honor roll students, and a former Boy Scout — all being outwitted by a goat. That doesn’t hurt the ego. Much.

Mutual respect

The one person the goat somewhat respects and responds to is BoyWonder. When he steps outside Billy the goat (yes, we are just that original) ducks back under the fence. It’s all very “nothing to see here.”

For me, I think that goat would wave and just keep heading for the pool deck. BoyWonder he respects as the person in charge. Also as the person who will run out barefoot and barehanded to catch him and lift him neatly back in while I flap my hands ineffectively and give the goat stern looks. How do you ground a goat anyway?

BoyWonder could easily raise himself and his little sister if necessary. I hope it doesn’t come to that but I’m confident he could. He is handy, responsible and good with money.

He can repair almost anything, is a hard worker, isn’t afraid of heavy lifting and is confident and capable. He also has never willingly put dirty laundry in a hamper in his life.

Certainly they would live in squalor unless his sister cleaned. But on the upside, goats would stay in, the dog would never miss a dose and he would run out of clean socks inside of a week.

GirlWonder is neat, tidy and very responsible. She gets good grades, is kind to people and animals, and if she were to see a spider she would flee the house and leave it to the insect — never to return.

Around the bend

Speaking to friends with older children, I get a glimpse of what is to come, God willing. I’m told that one day you are managing their every move and the next they are living on their own and inviting you over for dinner.

One friend has big plans to visit his grown son, open the refrigerator, and just stare at the food until all the chill leaks out.

When that grows old, he intends to empty an entire bottle of ketchup on his plate, dip two fries and leave the rest in the sink.

Open ranch dressing and repeat.

He also has big plans to turn on all the lights and then leave.

In our case, I know that if I am ever so blessed, I intend to go to BoyWonder’s house and leave my socks under his couch.

I don’t know if that will get his goat, but it’s good to know that we’ve raised a child who can get mine.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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