I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.
I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”
In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.
Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.
She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.
Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.
My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.
So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.
I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.
At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.
He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.
His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.
He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.
He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.
He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.
He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)
He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.
He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.
He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)
He has a girlfriend.
This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.
I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?
I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.
He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy
When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.
Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.
He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.
We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.
My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.
But who prepares me?
Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening.