I thought that ages 12 and 13 would be years of great transition in my child. I was surprised that adolescence actually seems to start at 10, where girls take delight in complaining about the introduction of bras (“sports brackets” says one of Max’s friends) and discussing who has a crush on who. The boys are farther behind, but even they take pride in being allowed out of the school gate without an adult and now seem to dole out only “pity hugs,” as one mother called them. And the bloody violent things that they like to read and watch like Mazerunner and Hunger Games. Even the school assigned them reading involving a kid being tied up and strangled by his dad (Freak the Mighty)… *Sigh*
The other day I took my 10 y.o. son and his friend, a girl, to Shake Shack for hamburgers. On weekends, people (stupidly) stand in lines out the door for 30minutes to order a meal, which is consumed in 10 minutes. But the kids really, really wanted Shake Shack burgers, so we waited outside (with all the other sheep), bored. I handed Max his copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and told him to read aloud to his friend. She wanted to hear none of it and preferred to literally stick her nose in the book. Every time he pulled the book away to read, she blocked his view by rubbing her face into the pages. Moving up in the line, we reached a bench, where Max promptly sat down with the book open in his lap, and his friend promptly jammed her face into it again, her long hair covering up the pages, her head bobbing up and down over his crotch, and errhhh… “Lucy,” I said. “You know how we were talking about awkward moments? Don’t do that.”
And last night a friend and her daughter—Max’s classmate—spent the night at our apartment. I had planned to have Max sleep with me in my bed and have my friend and her daughter take Max’s bedroom. As my friend and I chatted after dinner, Max wandered into his bedroom where his classmate Marissa was sitting in his bed. From his bedroom, I hear Max ask Marissa, “Are we sleeping together?”
*Sigh* One day that question will mean something very different. Nooooooo… Baby, don’t grow up so fast. Another one of Max’s classmates is now taking the NYC subway by herself. And another classmate, who hangs at Chirping Chicken restaurant on his own after school, waiting for his mom to get off of work, he asks me why I don’t allow Max to walk home by himself when we live so close to the school. I don’t allow it because I have the privilege of mothering him for just a little while longer. It will be—is—hard to let him go.