We’re in a good place at the moment my son and I. And I know I’m bringing it on by saying that. But I have to say it.
I have a boy who – without me asking him to do so – got the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard this morning and vacuumed his own room. I couldn’t quite believe it.
Apart from a few silly things he still does – he’s just gorgeous at the moment. He’s doing his jobs in the mornings without me asking him to. I have a system for that. His daily jobs are written down and stuck on the fridge so that he knows what’s expected of him per day, and what days to pack sports and music stuff.
He says some really mature things and I marvel at where it’s coming from. He knows about The Surfer wanting to get back together with me and he’s said things like I should make him wait as long as we’ve been broken up before I tell him one way or the other. He’s also observed that he reckons we’ll get back together.
Other people have noticed his level of maturity as well. He sees the chaplain at school once a week and spends time talking to her and doing various activities and she’s commented on how well he’s doing. His teachers have also commented on it.
He went on a Cub Scout sleepover a couple of weeks ago and when I checked in with one of the leaders upon picking him up she noted that he’d matured lately.
He’s started playing cricket again this season after taking a year off because he didn’t want to wear the protective gear they have to wear when batting. I’ve noticed a big difference in how he approaches it. Previously when he was fielding he’d get a bit bored and roll around on the grass to pass the time. Now he pays attention and he seems to have some natural talent with his bowling and batting.
We went to Womad just over a week ago and this is where I found him after we’d both been to the toilet. Who could resist climbing such a tree? The beauty of Womad is that it is very family-friendly and I was comfortable letting him roam around on his own or with a friend so long as I knew where he was and when he’d be back (roughly). We had a central meeting spot and he had a wristband on with my phone number in case he got lost. Perhaps I should have worn one of those. He was more than comfortable wandering off to buy his dinner or a drink or to just go and have a look. And it was fine. A few years ago he used to be too shy/scared/embarrassed to go and buy stuff from shops or ask questions of shopkeepers but not any more.
He’s also developing a love for growing things and has bought some plants from the school garden and made me buy him some. He goes out and waters them every morning without a reminder from me. This interest will hopefully stand him in good stead when he applies for the agricultural high school that he currently wants to go to.
I was reminded of how horrendous parenting young kids can be – how mundane it is in those early years of looking after them, feeding them, entertaining them before they can do most of these things themselves.
The ‘horrendous’ word above is my own. I didn’t like it much at all. I’ve always loved my son but those early years of parenting never came naturally to me. It probably didn’t help that I did it on my own – completely on my own. No second weekends off for me. I was glad to go back to work when he was just over seven months old to have adult company more often again and use my brain for something other than being a mum. I used to dread the drives home because he wasn’t always a happy passenger and there’s nothing you can do when you’re driving and you’ve got a squealing kid in the back seat.
But I made it through those years, and through the early years of school when his behaviour made me scared to go and pick him up from school or after school care because there was often a detention slip, or a teacher needing to talk to me about what he’d done that day.
So I’m loving this patch of my parenting. He’s at the stage where I can leave him alone for a little while in the mornings so I can go for a run. He loves the independence. He’s at the stage where I don’t mind him walking the dog around the block by himself. He loves doing that too, and it’s all that Monty is capable of these days as she’s well into her retirement years.
I love that I can still give him a hug and a kiss and he doesn’t object too much.
At this stage he’s nearly as tall as me and it won’t be long before he’s looking down on my head and goes through those teenage years but I think he’s had a pretty good grounding for those years.