It is here. I have been dreading it for 10 years, but it is here. Puberty has arrived in the Derr household.
I have two much younger sisters who I watched go through their pubescent years, but this is different. My child is a boy. I am in very strange territory.
Now, you may be saying, “Christina, you have a younger brother, you know what pubescent boys are like.”
I do have a younger brother, but he is only four years younger than me. I was a teenager myself when he went through it. I could not see past the end of my own nose. I remember we fought, a lot. And then once he got through it we became the best of friends and have been ever since. I don’t remember much else.
No, this is different. I am in charge this time. I am the one, along with his dad, guiding him through the minefield we call adolescence.
The mood swings, oh sweet lord, the mood swings.
The know-it-all attitude.
The body odor, and the resistance to remedy the body odor.
The eating for four.
Having to buy new clothes every three months because he’s out grown his, again.
The uncomfortable questions about changing bodies.
All of this, I can handle. No sweat.
What can’t I handle?
We won’t even touch on the fact that when I was 10 years old, boys were still pretty gross. I would have never thought about “liking” a boy at 10 years old. Not to sound too much like the get-off-my-lawn lady, but kids are different today.
Let me walk you through the last three days, to give you some appreciation for what I mean.
Wednesday Evening: My son gets a phone call on his cell phone. He decides he needs to take this important phone call outside, away from Mama’s ears. Being, you know, not an idiot, red flags and sirens are going off immediately. I follow him outside, and ask who exactly it is that he is talking to. He tells me the name of a girl who I do not know. I remind him that my rules are that he cannot talk on the phone with anyone I do not know and ask that he hang up. He politely tells Miss Thing that he cannot talk right now and hangs up. I tell him he can text her my number to give to her parents, and once I talk to them he *might* be allowed to talk to her. After the usual “I am your mother, and what I say goes, and no, you cannot make your own decisions until you are 18 and paying your own bills” talk, I look down at my son’s phone and Miss Thing is calling again. My son was very clear that he could not talk, but Miss Thing did not seem to care. She continues to call and call. Finally I tell him to answer it and remind her that she can give his mother’s number to her parents, otherwise he cannot talk. I hear her questioning my rules and why I need to talk to her parents.
See, forever I thought I would be what I believed to be a rational, reasonable mother when we reached this stage. I remember how frustrating it was to have parents always ruining my fun, and I vowed to not be that way with my son. So, maybe I am an idiot.
Thursday Evening: We are sitting at my sister’s choir concert and Miss Thing calls my son 19 times. NINE-TEEN times. I am just glaring at him with the mom look. And he knows. He knows Mom is not happy. We get out to the car and I calmly explain that anyone who calls 19 times after being asked not to is not someone he wants to have in his life. I also explain that having friends who cannot, or choose not to respect his mother is setting himself up for a world of hurt. He tells me that he is going to just block her number.
At this point I am feeling so proud of my parental abilities. I did not even have to suggest that he block her number. I am thinking, “Look at me, I have done such a good job. I am raising this smart, sweet boy who loves and respects his mom, and is making such good choices.” Again, maybe I am an idiot.
Friday Evening: My son is gone to his dad’s for the weekend. I get a call on my cell phone from a number I do not recognize. Thinking that the call may be work related, I answer. It is Miss Thing. Miss Thing wants to know just why I need to talk to her parents. Why I have these rules. Why? She wants to know why. I explain those are just the rules I have for my son. Not only that, but I want to talk to her parents to make sure that my son would not be breaking any of their rules by talking to her. The little girl tells me that she has no one that will talk to me. Her mom is never home, her dad is in jail, and her grandma told her to sit down and leave her alone when she asked her grandma to call me.
I have never felt like a bigger idiot. Do not get me wrong, I do not like the idea of this girl questioning my authority and hounding my son like she is his wife, but this girl is obviously in need of some attention. Now I find myself torn between my sympathies for this little girl, and my instincts to protect my son from people who I see as a potential bad influence.
All I can say is please pray for us.
Pray for my son to continue to make good choices.
Pray for me that I do not lose my sanity over the next few years.
Pray for my son’s father, grandfathers, and uncles whose advice will be invaluable to both of us.
Pray for my friends that are mothers of sons who’ve already gone through this stage, and whose advice I will be seeking around the clock.
And, lastly, pray for all of the Miss Things and little girls out there who will cross my son’s path while struggling to find their own way through this trying stage of their lives.