January 19, 2016

Life with a {tween}. This is not a drill!

Its official. We have a tween. I was kinda hoping we would just magically skip this period. I have heard the horror stories. I have 5 nephews older than mine, so I should have been better prepared. Good grief!  Its no joke.

Ant and I have always butted heads. As in, since the first time I felt him kick. I knew he would be my strong willed child. The one with opinions on EVERYTHING and the one who thought he could out smart me. Sorry kid, I have had so much more practice at this game.

But there has been a serious shift in the air pressure around here. And for a kid who likes to run on a schedule, this whole thing has him spiraling out of control. The attitude, the distance and oh my God, the eating! We are not even going to talk about the girls.

Every time I want to lose my mind I can hear my Dads voice. "Of course he would do that, hes a boy!" That was dads answer to everything. And lately its been my saving grace. Not that I have been very graceful this far, but I am working on it. I think I am finally really hearing what he was trying to tell me.

There are a lot of changes going on. And the more I think about it, the better I understand this new version of him.  I have to step back a lot and look at the bigger picture.  I don't have to like it, but I do have to work with it.  I'm trying here.

I know he loves me, he just doesn't want anyone else to know. Yesterday at dinner, we had a little "disagreement."  I told him I would have been embarrassed to be so loud in a restaurant. And he said I embarrassed him more when I pick him up from school.  Hello knife, meet my heart. But this morning, when I didn't have anything to say to him, he apologized for hurting my feelings.  It was honest and heartfelt and he did it with out being told.  Today when I dropped him off he looked though the window and mouthed " I love you!"

He still knows how to talk, but I think he is saving the energy it takes to talk in full sentences, for cooler things. His answer to everything has become one word. And sometimes just a grunt or mumble. All day long, his words are non existent. Until its time to eat. Then he is rambling on about this game that they play and expecting me to know who he is talking about, even though I can count the words he has spoke to me all day on one hand. Then when I just stare at him because I am completely lost, he rolls his eyes and says hes done talking to me. And that is ok with me because I know that when he does have a question about anything, he still comes to me and asks. He knows that I don't understand this Minecraft or Roblox talk, but if he ever has questions about anything else, he can ask and I will answer.

He eats everything. Nothing is safe. I have had to raise my grocery budget, twice in a year. And its not that I am getting junk, half of my cart is always fruits and veggies, but by Thursday we are out of applesauce and yogurt. We are out of bread and bananas. And there are zero leftovers. And you should see this kid pack his lunch box, I will put in a sandwich, fruit and a drink. He will add more fruit or veggies with ranch and then ask me what else he can have. A few weeks ago, David was 100% sure I was the one who was stealing all his yogurt. Until we were in the store and Anthony is going on and on about how its been a while since I last got those great granola yogurt things he loves so much. Go-Gurt and string cheese just don't cut it anymore.

He has friends, and I are not one of them. This is something I am struggling with. I love to play with my boys. We joke around and tease and are constantly hiding and scaring each other. And suddenly he is to cool for it all. I played a joke on him and a friend the other night. Scared his friend, made him mad and the whole time the little one was cracking up. My bad. I should probable stick to just the parenting thing for a while. When his friends are around I usually give them as much space as I can.  Sure I still have to remind them to watch the language because Alex is around or remind them that I am not running a zoo.  But as long as they are not being destructive and there is no swearing, I do my best to stay out of it.

He can make his own decisions and form his own opinions. And just because he asks for my input, that doesn't mean he will listen to it. What is that saying about how kids will do the exact opposite of what you tell them to do. Its 100% on the ball. Talk about frustrating. It doesn't matter if its homework or chores or a question about why the sky is blue. Whatever you tell them, they will disagree.  I have gotten in the habit of just asking the question back to him first and going from there. I also try my best to involve him in decisions that we make for the family.  I think its important he know that his opinion matters but also that he doesn't have the final say.

I'm not about to completely overhaul our family structure for this Tween business, but we do have to adjust a bit. And then right about the time he is over it, the little one will be right in the middle of it.  YAY. Someday I am going to miss this right?

There isn't anything I can do to stop it. It was bound to happen sooner or later. But I am still the parent. We still have expectations. Rules are set and there are still consequences. I don't have to be his "friend". I won't die if he gets out of the car and shuts the door before I say I love you, because I know he knows I do. Sure one word answers are not my favorite, but I can learn to live with it. Unless the answer is "whatever." That is still drives me up the wall.

So forward we go. Trying to find a balance. Giving his some space but not letting him get to far. Loving him, but not smothering him. Allowing opinions but not rude behavior. Enjoying the sweet moments and breathing through the not so sweet ones.

I am beyond thankful that even though we are going though this rocky period, he is a great kid. He does so well in school, never a problem there. He is a good friend and is loved by all his friends parents. His heart is for the most part always in the right spot. He loves to help. Anyone else but me, but Ill take it. This is always my reminder that even though I feel like I am sinking, I've done pretty good so far.

Who's going to tell me it gets easier?  Anyone?

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