* Foiling Oedipus

Last night I had to get some emergency groceries - you know, the stuff you can' t live without before your next major grocery expedition. Rio came along, and he was tired. He was holding up pretty well, for a tired Rio, until we got to the check-out line. As usual, he jumped in to help load the items from the cart to the conveyor belt, a job he relishes. Right then, the man ahead of us decided to get friendly with the cute, spunky little boy in line behind him. Rio, rockstar that he is, obliged with an impressive stunt: he flung the trio of paper towels up into the air, which crash landed on the display above the tabloid rack. The friendly man suddenly had pressing business with the cashier, and instead of applause Rio received only a stony glare from me.

I held my tongue, but I didn't let him help me anymore, and that was enough to crumple him. Then he insisted on pressing the green "Yes" button on the card machine, but again I turned down his help. I think I should have allowed him at least that much, because he then collapsed on the floor in a pile of tears. I ignored him while I completed my transaction. When I was done, I rolled the cart past him (now lying flat on his back, wailing) and said, "See you later, Rio." That's the only sure way to get Rio to follow me, and it works every time.

In the parking lot I gave him one more chance to change his attitude. I told him that if he could calm down before we got home, I would still go riding with him. He got in the car while I loaded groceries in the trunk, and when I got in I found that he had thrown all of my stuff onto the floor of the car. Bad news: no bike ride tonight, kiddo.

Somehow, we made it through the rest of the night without any more meltdowns. I put him to bed fairly early - 6:30 (I usually shoot for 7, but these days earlier is better). We read a chapter from Prince Caspian, said our prayers and life was good. This morning he woke up cheerful and climbed into bed with me before my alarm went off. He and I have always been keen on morning snuggle time, but my husband has raised some objections. Namely, that Rio's getting too old to be climbing into bed next to his naked mother. And as much as I'd like to object, for the sake of being comfortable with our bodies and learning that nudity is natural, I have to admit he's probably right.

Here's the thing. For a 6 year old boy, Rio's pretty in touch with his sexuality. I hope nobody takes that the wrong way. There's nothing perverse or deviant about a little boy's sexuality. But he definitely loves women, and women's bodies. Yep. For instance, he's always trying to feel up Anlon's ample bosoms (and one can hardly blame him, since they are usually on display and rather tempting even to grown men;). And just this weekend he charged into the bathroom as I was getting into the shower and declared "My mom's the cutest mom and she's cutest when she's NAKED!" Sure, that's great for my ego, but I cringe to think that he might be sharing this observation with his Kindergarten class. Self-censorship is most certainly not one of Rio's strengths.

So, even though I'm loathe to teach him that we should be ashamed of our nakedness, I think I need to find some balance here. First of all, he needs to learn to respect people's privacy while they're in the bathroom, so bursting in is unacceptable. Second of all, it's fine for him to be comfortable with his own body, but perhaps he shouldn't be quite so comfortable with my nudity. I'll have to be more vigilant about that. I guess my worst fear is that someday Rio will be in therapy for an Oedipal fixation on small-breasted redheads.

One thing I do know, whenever Rio reaches puberty, the girls better watch out. The kid's already a lady killer.


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