They always say, "Oh, it happens so fast." You know, kids
growing up. And having just celebrated my son's 13th birthday, I couldn't
agree more. It's almost bizarre how quickly they go from mommy's little snuggle
bear to "OK, OK, whatever, Mom" (said in a slightly annoyed, slightly affectionate,
jokey, yet irritating tone).
Of course, I think I will always see my son as my
sweet little boy. And thankfully, he's hasn't quite grown taller than me and he doesn't need to shave (yet). But recently, things have shifted a bit. And I have
to be honest with myself: The teenage years are here. And things are starting
to look different.
Before this teen phase, my son always smelled like
alternating smells of Purell and Jell-O pudding. Sure, I knew the day would
come when my nostrils would be violated by teen boy funk, but it is still
strange when it happens. Now, if he doesn't shower for a few days, he smells like
competing scents of Axe body spray, raw onions and beef jerky.
2. He is less public about his affection toward me.
Whenever I open my arms and shout, "Give mommy a kiss" in the middle of a large crowd, he doesn't.
Just a year ago, he would hold my hand when we'd walk to and
from school or even through the mall. He'd lean up against me and affectionately
put his head on my shoulder when we sat next to each other at a restaurant.
Now, he walks either 20 feet in front of or behind the rest of the family and pretends like he doesn't hear us when we call out his name. Rude. Needless to
say, whenever I open my arms and shout, "Give mommy a kiss" in the middle of a
large crowd, he doesn't.
3. He actually uses mirrors now.
Before the teen years, my son would have tried to leave the
house in the mornings not giving any rips about whether or not his hair was laying
down, whether he had dried drool across his cheek, or whether he was wearing
matching shoes. Now, he can't leave home without thoroughly working product
into his tresses and moisturizer onto his freshly showered face (what?!). And he cares way too much about his socks.
You know, the Nike socks that are pulled to the knees that have forever banished all white, ankle-length, Target-brand socks from his dresser. Those damn socks.
4. He isn't stuck to me anymore (sad face).
I swear up until just a few months ago, he would still
follow me around the house, from room to room, almost to the point of
irritating his unappreciative mother. Yeah, he used to be all up in my grill. Now,
he would rather sit in his room on the computer for hours. He doesn't want to
help me cook or walk with me to the store or ask me hundreds of questions about
whatever it is that I'm doing at the moment. No, now he would rather watch
skateboarding videos on YouTube, Vine after Vine, or listen to music
alone—without me—in his room. And my heart hurts.
It's no longer snails and puppy dog tails over here. It's more like Snapchat and dirty cereal bowls now.
5. His ears don't work as well.
Before, my son would hear me call his name from four rooms
away and come running to his mama. But now that he's a teenager, his ears have
become headphones. They have taken on the shape of headphones. If they don't change back soon, he'll be running from his mama.
6. Any showings of sloppiness is MUCH more noticeable.
Before he was a teen, my son drove me crazy by stuffing his
socks into the couch, which I would find days later. Now that he's 13, and a
bit more pungent, I find those socks within minutes.
7. Chances of him eating a well-balanced meal goes from poor to
My son has gotten pickier as the years have gone by. He went
from eating fairly well as a toddler to being a picky little boy with acceptable
eating habits to a lot of "you will sit at the table until you eat all of it!"
while I pulled out my hair sitting across from him. Now,
he cares so little about eating healthy that when he's out of my sight and left
to his own devices, he actually eats at 7/11. Yep, he's reached convenience-store meal status. Which probably explains the beef jerky smell.
I'm starting to see that it's no longer snails and
puppy dog tails over here. It's more like Snapchat and dirty cereal bowls now. He's
morphing quickly, and before I know it, he will look more man than boy. But no
matter how tall he gets or how much beef jerky he consumes, he'll always be my
little snuggle bear.