I have a son whose 12 years old. Every day with him is a new adventure in parenting–that I am rarely ready for. Last year was his first year of middle school and the entire year he was trying to find himself. He was the “new kid” at school so it took him a while to get used to the other kids, his new teachers and just middle school in general. The entire year I was on “edge” making sure he didn’t get sucked into the black hole that is middle school. In the end he survived–well he did more than survive. He made all A’s all year long and at the end of the year he was ranked #14 out of 300 six graders. I was ecstatic, he was happy, Dad was happy–everything was good.
Well this year things have changed. He’s decided that in addition to making good grades, he wants to get into more social activities this year and just be (in his words) “cool”. When I heard this I took a deep breath before I lost it but I decided that I would give him a little freedom to “find himself”. I remember being that kid who just wanted “a little bit” of freedom and my mother being like, “heck no”. So I decided to take a “chill pill”.
His transformation started this summer when he got a new phone. You see for his entire 5th and 6th grade year I got him an old flip phone that didn’t text or take pictures–all it was good for was answering calls. I also got tired of his old ‘flip phone’ randomly working and me not being able to text him when I needed to talk to him. So still ‘high’ about his stellar academic year, I bought him a new phone (and installed some safety software) and he literally has become that teen that is OBSESSED with their phone.
He texts on it, eats with it, sleeps with it and even puts it in the bathroom with him when he’s in the shower. I’ve had to literally take it from him for hours at a time just to make sure it doesn’t blend in his skin.
This is the first thing that’s threatening to drive me crazy.
Then toward the end of the summer he decided that he was going to grow his hair out. So no more hair cuts instead he just wants his hair “lined”. I wanted to scream, “NO!” but the mother inside me told me that I just needed to be quiet and let him go. So he’s walking around with a bushy hairstyle (that’s still nicely lined) but he spends hours in the mirror brushing/combing it until it’s “just right”. My husband laughed when I told him I wanted to hold him down and cut it and said, “All little boys go through that.”
Then the phone calls started. Don’t ask me HOW all of his friends from school, summer and debate camp got his number but they CALL all evening this summer. I’ve lurked outside his door to hear the conversation (don’t judge me) and it’s all silly stuff- video games, Disney movies, and of course girls. But when he has more people calling the house then me–that’s a problem. No girls have called the house yet but one time when I was going through his text messages I did find out that some girl liked him but (thankfully) he said she was “crazy” and that he’d pass. I thought I was going to have to take my investigative skills to this girl and her family.
Take the girls and cell phones foolishness aside, I’ve caught him (several times) staring at himself in the mirror and trolling the Internet looking for clothes that he says fit his style (i.e. he’s done with Gap Kids) such as Abercrombie, Nike & Fitch and Aeropostale. Whenever we go into the mall he’s so PARTICULAR about what I buy that I’m exhausted when we leave. Despite all of this, we made it through the summer without me going crazy but now he’s decided that he wants to try out for the soccer and basketball team at his middle school.
When he first told me I wasn’t surprised because he played sports for the community center for the past couple of years but I was surprised that he was willing to “try out” to be on a team. Still I supported him and told him I’d pick him up from tryouts. So today I watched him try out for his school’s soccer team. I could have been mad that he made me wait for him but instead I was proud. Proud that he was confident enough to “put himself out there” to try out for the team, proud that he was responsible enough to get all the materials he needed to be able to try out and proud that he said he’s going to go to the next four days of trying out. He’s even commented that if he doesn’t make the soccer team he’s going to try out for the basketball team.
All I could think on the way home was, “that’s my boy.”
I know I’m over here rambling but I’m going CRAZY on how to deal with my baby “growing up”! Do you guys have any advice for me?