As I stand on the edge of my first-borns childhood – I will voluntarily admit I am full of mixed emotions…to say the least! My baby boy – my firstborn – my only son is entering the transitional season into puberty that will spit him out a man. **insert wild, ugly crying right here**
I really feel all the feels when it comes to this topic – a gamut of emotions well up when I start to think about my little man growing up. I swing from super excited, full of hope and happiness then drop into the deep abyss of nostalgia, and dare i admit – deep, deep sadness too. I remember like it were yesterday I was pushing him around in the pram while many people mistook me for the Asian nanny… at 24 I barely looked 18.
Just when I thought we had this parenting thing down pat… like we are on a roll and everything is under some sort of control…Seriously! Can you believe we actually thought we had things under control with this parenting gig? Life begins its slow but sure descent into the great unknown of puberty, and ultimately the downhill leg of parenting a child into adulthood…and don’t get me started at the thought of having three teenage girls in the house!
Our little man is the child of all our parenting firsts. We cut our parenting teeth on our firstborn son and continue to do so as we enter this next season and while it’s exciting in many ways.iIt’s a little scary for him as we literally DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE **beepty beeeeep** we are doing. Next year he starts high-school and becomes a teenager. A TEENAGER! Many may associate puberty with the teenage years – its actually already in motions at his tender age of 11 – almost 12. I see signs of this unknown season looming ahead.
I love catching him “playing” like a child – We try to be mindful with our parenting in that respect. Encouraging hands-off child-led play. You can often find me yelling “get outside.” We have always encouraged risk-taking (moderate risk-taking for a kid), and we try to be intentional with our language (as many times fear is learned behaviour). With a yard full of building supplies, a shipping container next to the trampoline (let your imagination run wild with that one) and cubby house raised meters off the ground with no fence to protect kids from falling off has given our kids plenty of opportunity risk-taking behaviour.
He doesn’t “play” as much these days – nowadays its all about sports and technology/gaming – he already has one foot the world of a grown-up kid but one foot still in childhood.
We try encourage limited tech time and roll our eyes at their claim of boredom. We are smart enough to know that being bored is actually great for a kid. It fosters creativity – so suck it up, kid. You’ll have plenty of time to waste as an adult staring at a screen.
The lucky thing is that even though we are heading full steam ahead into this next season – for now, I’m enjoying my little man. I love having a big kid – he gets our sarcastic sense of humour that we roll with and let’s face it he’s often way more mature than his dad – often rolling his eyes at his dad’s over the top behaviour. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish who is the parent and who is the child. I know having a crazy full on dad will serve him well these coming years and into adulthood – his dad will continually serve as a reminder that we all need to be childlike (not childish) if we want to live life to the fullest. I love that I have a man who grabs life by the balls and wants to squeeze every last drop out of it. In this respect, I really hope that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Even though very soon my little man may be the big kid too old to roleplay – for now, he’s still the baby boy who quietly asks me every night to put him to bed and is always up for bedtime chats and CUDDLES!!
I still get to cuddle this kid for now – who is almost as big as me. So I will sign off by saying to all you mamas out there with kids in single digits – hold them close while you can.
The end is near.
Further Reading Recommendations: If you are looking for some great Aussie parenting stuff – I love everything Maggie Dent, Dr. Justin Coulson & Steve Biddulph have to say on the topic of parenting & raising kids.