November 9th, 2009

Can I Keep the Flying Monkey in the Nest?


There have been times when I’ve used the term “Tweenager” to refer to our sixth grade son.  I use it half-heartedly, as I use all relatively trendy terms, like Bridezilla, Metrosexual and Dunkaccino, secretly hoping that one day the English language will return to normal.

However, I’ve lately come to realize just how appropriate that phrase is.  We are truly in an in-between stage; stuck somewhere in limbo between parenting a child and something that might resemble a young *gasp* adult.  Some of our son’s friends have already made the jump; spending most of their time texting one another and updating their facebook pages, and playing Mortal Combat 16 – Total Disembowelment, all the while looking bored with it all.  Kids who were chatty and sweet have narrowed their vocabulary to two or three syllable sentences.  It’s remarkable how far one can get with “yeah”, “nah”, “huh”, and “I dunno”.   

It makes me feel old.  And old-fashioned.  I’m one sugar-packet-tucked-in-my-sleeve away from standing on the porch, waving my fist and yelling “What’s the matter with you kids today?!”

The Monkey isn’t quite there yet, and I’m not sure how eager he is to get there.  Or, perhaps, it’s my hesitation to let him go there.  He loves his childhood toys—he and some of his like-minded buddies can still spend hours in his room building with Legos.  On the flipside, he’s in a garage band.  He has a phone—but only brings it in dire emergencies, is not allowed to text and usually forgets to keep it charged anyway.  He still loves Star Wars and Harry Potter, but is really dying to see Paranormal Activity.  

Life has become a new balancing act of expanding boundaries and tightening up the border patrol.   It’s tricky to sort out what he wants and is ready for and what I’m not ready to give up.  I find myself longing for play groups and story hours and sippy cups, but instead am faced with school dances, instant messages and Mountain Dew. 

Even writing this, I have to wonder how long I can call him my Monkey.   He’s still sweet and patient and puts up with a lot of my mothering, but I don’t want to push him to the point of embarrassment.   Maybe I can come up with a new name that reflects the aesthetics of a teenage boy.  Gorilla, perhaps?

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This Weeks Tip

How to remove last night’s hardened candle wax from your table or tablecloth? For wood surfaces, try heating it up with a hairdryer, then removing melted wax with a damp towel. For fabric, place a piece of newspaper on either side of the fabric, then iron over the newspaper with a medium-hot iron. The paper will soak up the melted wax.