With all the hours I spend at my important advertising job, I recently realized that I just didn’t know my son as well as I’d like to. These are the growing years a parent never gets back, so I set aside one night a week to spend some quality time with 9-year old Trevin. What I found was that my son is a real weirdo, and kind of a loser.
I first knew there was trouble when I told Trevin that we could have any food he wanted for our father-son night and he picked hard-boiled eggs. Week after week, hard boiled eggs. To test him, I began bringing home Cheetos, fun-sized Snickers, and sodas of every flavor. Those treats went entirely untouched. Trevin only wanted to eat hard boiled eggs, which he held with both hands and nibbled like a squirrel. In observing such specific lamenesses over the next several weeks, I was forced to come to terms with the thing no parent wants to admit: Trevin, my only child, is a weird loser.
To begin, Trevin doesn’t want to play… well, anything, really. I knew better than to force sports on the boy, but Monopoly, Uno, and Jenga alike were dismissed with a roll of his eyes and a blithe shoo-ing away motion with his hand. When I pressed the issue, he meowed like a cat. It’s not entirely unreasonable for a child to not want to play board games with his father, but then offers of video games- even good, super violent ones- were brushed off. Trevin wished only to wear that cape of his and eat eggs. Where did I go wrong?
The cape was not the common ground I’d hoped it would be either. I found that Trevin is not fan of superheroes at all, instead fancying himself the boy prince of an invented fantasy realm called “S’lorr.” From what I gather, S’lorr is a fiefdom populated only by humans- no dragons, orcs, elves, or mythical beasts of any kind. The people of S’lorr work in offices very similar to those in the real world, and he explained that if he- the boy prince- works hard enough, he will one day become the *actual* prince of his sector. My son, Trevin, spends his afternoons effectively role-playing as a corporate middle-manager. I never thought I’d say such a sentence out loud, but here we are. Whose weird, loser child is this?
And if you think that Trevin’s development of the S’lorr-verse is indicative of any creative passion whatsoever, I assure you that is not the case. He doesn’t want to write, he doesn’t want to draw, he doesn’t want to play S’lorr with others. Trevin seems happiest telling other people what their job would be in the land of S’lorr (I would be a tax preparer), then giggling softly and eating another goddamn egg. His snicker is fey and lilting, with an unmistakable air of condescension- Trevin’s games are for his own amusement only, and though he is definitely a weird loser, he delights in wielding some imagined superiority over others.
I have always seen the function of a parent as setting boundaries and supporting a child’s emotional development. With Trevin, I have somehow failed. He gets good grades, and seems to have a friend in that Duncan boy from two houses over, thank goodness. What now then, Montessori school? No. It is time for me to embrace a new function of parenting, one I never read about in any book: having a second kid because my first is a weird loser.
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