The pre-teen and teen years come all too soon and, as with all ages and stages, parents have to adapt, but it does feel like the end of an era.
What happens when all your children are pre-teen or teenagers or older? I only ask because only son has gone full pre-teen and is demanding that I don’t interrupt him during calls with his friends and that I am not, under any circumstances, allowed to call him by any of the many affectionate nicknames I have developed over his lifetime. He is much too mature for that. I pointed out that only people who are immature but want to look mature worry about affectionate nicknames. Daughters two and three have no problem with any names I use for them.
Only son has always, being the fourth child, had a thing about being treated seriously and not as a baby. He has no time for young children whatsoever. He says if he has children when he is older he will adopt them at age 10 or older. He once complained loudly about a baby crying on a bus that they were annoying and they just needed ‘to grow up’. I have tried to induce some sense of empathy over the years, but it hasn’t worked very well.
It feels like a kind of mourning to see him leave behind those years when we did lots of things together and he woke up every morning telling me how much he loved me. It was bound not to last, of course, but it is an adjustment. In any event, he’s still tight with his big sisters, who he is constantly trying to impress with his encyclopaedic knowledge of Glee and Radiohead. I got him a Radiohead poster for his room after I ripped off his Harry Potter wallpaper [too immature]. Unfortunately, I misread the dimensions and it is teeny tiny, more like a postcard than a poster – in contravention, I would argue, of the Trades Description Act.
Having disappeared into a world of mother-blocking ear pods and minecraft, a concept I find hard to comprehend, soon only son will only grunt replies at me and I will know nothing much about his life. This is, I guess, just a normal part of growing up. It just seems quite sudden and he’s the last one to go through it. In the meantime, I’m trying to accrue some kind of cool points because one of the students I work with was in Glee and I once shared a flat with someone who was momentarily in Radiohead…