I don’t know how, or when, but the boy sleeping in my son’s bed right now is not my lad.
He’s been replaced.
I know this because I have had him on my own for the last three days and things have been…odd.
I should explain. I have always got on better with my daughter than my son. Though I love them both very, very much and we do all get on, if someone is going to rub me up the wrong way it will be my son rather than my daughter. My wife tells me my daughter “can do nothing wrong” in my eyes but that is not entirely true. I think that boys have a habit of being very similar and that can result in friction. It certainly does in my household. My wife finds the same thing with my daughter for probably exactly the same reasons.
It is not unknown in our home for my wife to come to me, exasperated, and say “please take your daughter before I kill her.” I will usually reply with equal annoyance “Gladly – as long as you take your blasted son!” The transaction will take place and peace will reign (well, sort of) once more.
But recently I have noticed an upsetting of such law and order. I can’t remember the last time I had a rant at my son over something – not doing homework, leaving his room in a mess, vanishing for hours at a time just when we need him – although I am sure there have been times. I have noticed myself ranting at my daughter, however, Way off the teenage years as yet, she is doing her damnedest to get ready for the role. I still love her and really enjoy it when I get to talk about stuff we both love – drawing, Egyptology, music (sometimes at least) and so on – but I could, currently, cheerfully kill her at times.
The final proof of this upsetting has been whilst my wife and daughter have been in Dhaka pampering themselves with some girly time whilst I got ‘lumbered’ with the boy and had to bring him back with me in the middle of the week.
It actually turned out to be a pleasure.
We’ve had fun, watched stacks of Star Wars: Clone Wars episodes, read Enid Blyton stories together and I even got into a fascinating discussion about arpeggios and block chords and their usefulness in learning how to improvise as my lad showed me his latest composition on the piano. It was rather good actually. Geeky I know but, hey, you had to be there.
The whole Enid Blyton thing is odd too. He never reads. Not ever. Just what has to be done for school. My daughter, by contrast, rarely has her head out of a book. In that respect, at least, she is just like her dad. But on the train back from Dhaka (a good ten hour stint at least) he read an entire book and loved it! This makes me certain that he is either a Bangladeshi robot planted by the government or an alien spy, come to check out the possibility of taking over the world.
Either way, I’m not going to shout too loud. I rather like this replacement.
But then, I have just popped into his room where he is asleep to discover he has put his AC unit on whilst leaving the window I opened earlier wide open. Whilst attempting to cool down the whole of Bangladesh is a worthy ideal, this will merely succeed in bumping up my electricity bill to new astronomic heights. So maybe he hasn’t been replaced after all. Maybe it is just my same lad, growing up horribly fast and learning how not to seriously wind up his grumpy ogre of a dad.
Either way, I think I’ll keep him. After all, there are still loads of Clone Wars episodes I haven’t seen yet.