Somewhere in between

I’ve reached an age with my boys that I have come to realize I am ill-equipped to deal with. They are still little boys in many, many ways, but with very big boy brains and attitudes that none of us are really ready to deal with.

Often I wish that I could go back in time and savor their little-ish-ness more than I did when I was first going through it. I suspect there will be a time in the not-too-distant future when I will wish to go back to this time and be more present and aware.

They are learning so much. They are unexpectedly funny. They are too expectedly goofy. They have big ideas and schemes. They still think that sex is kissing. Farts are hilarious. School is starting to be a drag. Family activities are too. They are struggling for independence and yet not truly ready for big responsibilities. Friends are starting to be chosen on the basis of interests and not necessarily proximity or familiarity.

I was a babysitter and a nanny and I have always maintained that I love children. But truly, I love babies and toddlers…when it comes to school-aged kids, I am at a bit of a loss.

Turns out that I have a hard time relating to my kids. I can talk to their friends. I can talk to my niece. But when it comes to my own offspring I feel utterly hopeless and helpless in a lot of ways.

Books remain a fairly constant way to bond. However, I can’t seem to find a T.V. show that we can watch together without reservation unless it is of the discovery channel/food network/history channel variety. Pure fictional entertainment is tough…we are either a little younger than we maybe should be or at a maturity level I don’t feel comfortable with.

Without knowing too much about the show beyond the singing, I thought maybe Glee would be something we could watch (we have it streaming now through netflix or amazon prime or something). But after having to skip through some more questionable scenes, I had to put the kibosh on it…maybe we can try again in a couple of years.

Even watching the Golden Globes the other evening, I was slightly uncomfortable as JLo came out wearing her revealing dress and looking smoking hot and I am watching G out of the corner of my eye to see what kind of reaction he is going to have to a woman dressed so provocatively. He seemed sort of awe-struck (as I was, frankly) but he was kind of awe-struck by the whole thing, so I didn’t worry about it too much.

The fact is, I am not ready for them to enter that big-boy world and they aren’t prepared either. But they are rapidly leaving behind that little boy world. I guess this is what they call the tweens (even though they are only 9) and it sucks.

They clearly aren’t ready to take on responsibility. That is, unless I constantly nag and remind them of their responsibilities they don’t get done; schoolwork, homework, instruments, sports equipment, Cub Scout requirements…all these things should be becoming their purview and yet, they aren’t. They want them to be. They tell me, “I know!” in exasperated, disdainful tones whenever I remind them of anything. Yet, they don’t do it on their own.

So, I continue to annoy them and they continue to annoy me and we go on not understanding one another and oh, how I miss those baby days! I get glimpses of the little boys that in many ways I still want them to be when they are snuggling with me in the morning or at the end of a long day or when they want something or something is weighing on them or they aren’t feeling well; they still come to me sweet and snuggly and agreeable as can be. But mostly, I just get big boy attitude and assertions of independence and I have to remind myself that this too shall pass.

Because they are becoming big boys. And before I know it they will be teenagers. I think that when they finally are, we may relate a little bit better. But for now the transition is rough. Not a little boy, but not quite a big one either. I want to laugh at the fart jokes, but I also want them to get dressed and out the door in time for the bus without constant supervision too.

I have a feeling these tween years are going to be my least favorite. So if anyone has any recommendations for getting through them, I am all ears. Starting with TV shows we can enjoy as a family that won’t cause any and all of us to blush.


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