Twelveteen Going on Thirty

March 10, 2010

in no manual for parenting

The best description of what it is like to be a parent is a comment left by suesue on Merrilymarylee’s Weblog:

Having a child was deciding to have your heart walking around outside your body forever

.

My oldest turned 12 this week.

12.

That is a full Zodiac Cycle. I am sure it means something.

I am lucky in the sense that I only have boys; boys mature much later both physically and emotionally than girls, as I was assured by many moms with preteen girls. Therefore we really have not hit the “preteen” stage until recently. Like, a month ago.

The heralding moment? Facebook. As in,

“Mom. Can I have a Facebook account? Why can’t I be on Facebook? EVERYBODY ELSE is on Facebook!”

.

You should be scared. Very very scared when your parents are on Facebook...

.

It took me one month to go through the entire grief cycle and I am finally calm and collected enough to talk about it without sobbing uncontrollably.

It all started when he came home one Friday afternoon when I happened to be working from home. He seemed a bit jumpy. Happy jumpy.

“Mom… Can I tell you something? Hmmm… Well… Something happened at school today… NO. Nothing bad… Hmmm. Uhhhh.”

“Would you like to IM me about it? Would it be easier for you to tell me?”

“Yes!” He ran to the family computer and Ping! <<Begin transmission>>

son: mom
so…
me: yup
what’s going on?
son: um
i didnt tell u b4 but
ive always kinda…
me: i am fat?
son: liked
[this girl]
and
me: ohhhhhh
sorry dude
son: 2day
she said she liked me 2
🙂
me: awwww
son: happy
me: 🙂
son: 🙂
yay
ok
bye <<end transmission>>

.

The 🙂 from me was a big fat lie. Acting skills came in handy in motherhood I learned. All through the exchange I was screaming inside my head. Headless chicken running around. WTF? He’s only in 6th grade! Elementary school. Why is he liking girls already?! Ohhh WOE IS ME! WTF?! Take a deep breath. Try to stay calm. You don’t want to make any wrong move. ’cause if you startle the snakes, you’ll never catch them again…

Thus began the Grief Cycle…

Denial: “No. Not him. Not my son. The 6th grader. Wasn’t he just a baby not too long ago? Aren’t 6th graders supposed to be safe from these things?!! I thought he hated girls. What happened to ‘Ewww. Girls’?! I thought I had to wait until Junior High for this? What’s happening?!”

Unfortunately, this phase lasted about 5 minutes since later when I signed his weekly school report, I saw:

“Dear Parental Unit…The best part is that the most beautiful girl in the scholl like me! Awesomeness!!”

Anger: “WTF? Why is this girl ruining my life?! Why is HE ruining my life?!”

My Facebook status read: “[Son] just said he wants a Facebook account. Then he showed me just HOW MANY of his classmates are on Facebook. 6th graders? With hundreds of friends? Already? Seriously? WT[beep]?! What happened to my baby?! I need to seriously get those evil women away from him…”

.

Ok. Maybe I won't be the worst mother-in-law in the world...

.

Soon the anger was channeled towards my husband who dared to laugh out loud when I informed him of the blossoming puppy love.

Unfortunately, this phase lasted for the longest time. I was mad in advance at the cruelty of my children, forsaking me for THAT OTHER WOMAN in the future. In my most irrational moments, I even called him SOB in my head as in ME being the Biatch. I said I was being irrational… Yeah, I know. I am going to be the worst mother-in-law in history. I can tell already from the boiling blood inside my skull…

Bargaining: “If I am a better mother, maybe he will not become wayward like this.” “I wonder whether supplying him with more video games will help divert his attention away from girls.”

The bargaining goes both ways – Facebook time & privilege has now become a major ACE in my card deck when bargaining with my oldest. I can also threaten him with, “I am going to write on your wall!” <cue evil laughter>

Depression: “Fine. He’s going to leave anyway. He’s going to grow up. My baby….”

This phase actually started from the beginning as I alternated between cursing and sobbing, especially when I went through his baby pictures.

Acceptance: “It’s going to be ok. I can deal with this. We can do this. I will survive without killing anybody.”

By talking to people about their “OMG my child is on Facebook” experiences, I learned that there are ways to tame this monster to your own parental advantages. After some trial and errors, Facebook turned out to be not as evil cradle robber as I expected. I can now spy check on my son and see who he is talking to, and what.

All in all, reflecting on this agonizing month, I am glad that I bit my tongue and played it cool. Yes, at the beginning there were a lot of dramas that provided record-high number of WTF moments in one sitting. 6th graders? Lamenting about love lost? Say what? Not to mention the “F” letter scattered throughout the conversations, most of the time unnecessarily. Do you seriously need to use LMFAO? The initial excitement over the “declaration” has apparently worn off.  My son’s Facebook status now consists mainly of game score updates. THAT’s my boy.

As I said to my husband, I feel better that my baby still prefers video games to girls. I don’t mind if my boys are geeks. I am sure that Bill Gates’ mom didn’t mind at all. Not one bit.


{ 32 comments }

Kristen @ Motherese March 20, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Egad! Your feed stopped appearing in my Google Reader so I am way behind on your posts. Fixed it and am catching up now…but before I go, I must comment to say that this post both terrifies me and heartens me. I can’t imagine what the state of technology will be by the time my boys are old enough to start using it, but I love that your son found a way to include you in his world. There’s hope, it seems, for us old fogeys even in the digital age!
.-= Kristen @ Motherese´s last blog…Replacement Ruffles =-.

Jen @ NathanRising March 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm

The thought of Nathan one day growing up and liking girls scares me to death!
.-= Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog…The Ultimate King of ALL Mega Poops =-.

secret agent woman March 12, 2010 at 11:46 am

In some cultures, 12 is the age of adulthood. It’s hard to watch them growing up.
.-= secret agent woman´s last blog…It’s not just the squirrels and birds… =-.

Falling March 12, 2010 at 1:03 am

And this is what makes me so glad I made that deal with that funny little elf that came to me while I was pregnant. Sure, I had to spin straw into gold, but that seems a small price to pay for the fact that my baby will always stay a sweet, pudgy babe who only has eyes for his mama.
.-= Falling´s last blog…This is Why I Don’t Get Invited to More Parties =-.

Amber March 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm

As usual, I laughed and thought during this post. It doesn’t seem right that your little ones grow up, does it?
.-= Amber´s last blog…My Kids Hate Me =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Unfortunately, at a snap of the fingers when you are least expecting it. Boom! They grow up.

The title of your latest post… What’s going on?! Need to go check it out!

Shelli March 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but my Son started out with a MySpace account when he was 10, graduated to a Facebook account when he was 11, had his heart broken in 5th grade, and swore off love in 6th grade (which is middle school here). Now that he’s in 7th grade, and just turned 13, he’s “found” love again, but continues to get his heart broken. I’ve taken it all in stride. I love that he has MS and FB accounts (I can spy that much easier). He’s also been programming his own social networking site for the past couple of years, but has yet to finalize it for the masses. Maybe I’m just ahead of the game, or I’m just a really bad parent … but I like to think that he’s just a very mature kid that I can fully trust to behave himself online, and to always be chivalrous in relationships (not that he’s actually HAD one yet since he keeps getting his heart broken). He even went to his first school dance this year! (ok, that was a bit unnerving for me) OH! Almost forgot … with both of his parents and grandparents being friends of his on FB, I’m not the only one keeping tabs on him. 😉
.-= Shelli´s last blog…Epiphanie Give-Away! =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm

There is no right or wrong way. Every child is different. It is wonderful that your closeness to your son allows the trust between you. First dance eh? I am sure I will be a crying mess when that day comes when he gets dressed up and everything. I cried when the girl across the street went to her first prom and I got a glimpse of her. We are not even close neighbors! Facebook has turned out to be quite useful in the parenting department, I have to admit. It’s like a magical looking glass into their world. Scary too.

Elly Lou March 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

So…is it too soon to ask for his digits? Hubba hubba.
.-= Elly Lou´s last blog…Secret Codes and Tinnitus =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm

LOL. You should wait for Mr. Monk. He loves older ladies. Really. He chats them up. 😉

Stephanie March 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Very impressed with your ability to stay calm – on the outside!
My son isn’t even 6 yet but seriously – how will I ever be able to deal with these things? They’re supposed to stay sweet and innocent forever!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog…Thumbsucker =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Yes they are supposed to! *sigh*

Jennifer Lynn March 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

Wow. Although you were freakin’ out in the noggin’….you handled it like an undercover agent in person…..Majorly Impressed. 007 skills. I am taking notes.
.-= Jennifer Lynn´s last blog…Kentucky has more than banjos! =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm

In this day and age, add it to the list of what a parent has to do to survive their children: Ninja moves. 😉

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities March 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

I adore this post. Even if it scares me the tiniest bit. Okay, hugely. My girls are tiny, but they are growing before my very eyes and I know I will be dealing with this grief cycle in no time. I hope that when I will do, I will have the perspective and enviable humor you evince in these words…

Need to spend some quality time poking through your posts here because this post was priceless… Oh, and the bit about hearts walking around outside our bodies could not be more true. You have smart commenters!

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Thanks for the kind words. Like I said, quite a few trial and errors. Since I went through the whole gamut of emotions, I hope by writing them down and sharing them at least it could make it easier for when some of you go through the same thing.

TheKitchenWitch March 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

The things you posted on his wall are hilarious!

(((big hugs))) When Miss D. gets to the Facebook stage, I’m sure it will be DRAMA Hell.
.-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog…Facing Down My Nemesis =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm

You mean the things I could have done. LOL. I did show him these Facebook funnies I found on the Interweb and threaten him with the things that I can do if he does not behave. 😉

Robin March 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

I think I’m finally starting to see how my MIL came to be 😉
.-= Robin´s last blog…It’s The Little Things =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Oh yeah. Now we now why they hate us so. LOL.

Barb March 11, 2010 at 7:27 am

Very funny post- I have lived through this myself- my “baby boy” is 16- I check his face-book page a couple of times a week. The nice thing is… once you get past the OMG my kid likes girls (AND they like him) it’s a nice way to covertly see what’s going on in his life- because anyone with a teen-aged son will tell you that most are very tight lipped. When it comes to his social life I am on a need to know basis and quite honestly my son doesn’t think I need to know! 🙂
.-= Barb´s last blog…My Bucket List =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Yup. I think I am on a “need to know” basis too. He was bursting with joy that day. He needed to tell somebody that wouldn’t make fun of him and I was lucky enough to happen to be home. I am beginning to see the good use of Facebook. Fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Nuage March 11, 2010 at 3:05 am

Good. I’ve been wondering what happened since “the day” (I feel privileged to have been right there with you ON FACEBOOK when you were freaking out. As I recall, I might have rubbed it in a bit. Ah~~ what are friends for anyway).
All joking aside, I’m proud of you for handling it like an adult, despite that crazy chick inside as described in this post. I can only hope that I’ll also be able to “play it cool” 12 years from now (maybe I’ll im you then so you can say, ‘in your face’).
Good job, mom!!
.-= Nuage´s last blog… =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Thanks! And I forgive you. (Just kidding. I mean I wasn’t mad. And were you making fun of me? Now I am mad… Just kidding… LOL) Trying to act like an adult is the key here. “Trying” and “ACT” are the operative words here. 😉

Terresa Wellborn March 11, 2010 at 1:30 am

LMAO! This post is the funniest. I’m reading it crying tears and also (somewhere inside my aching head) taking notes for my future kids. Yipes. I guess their time will come someday, too. Good thing one at least is still wearing diapers.
.-= Terresa Wellborn´s last blog…POEM: I fear one day =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I know I am not painting a welcoming picture for all you with younger kids. Believe me: I was not expecting this to happen so early… Yikes indeed.

laurel March 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Hi! Love your bloggy! Found you through the beloved Sulking Amanda. Wow- you write so well and straight from a Mama’s heart! I have four kids three girls and a boy 21 to 5 and I know those feelings all too well.
They are cozying up in your lap one day and the next day they are graduating from college. Fortunately I planned well and have both going on at the same time.
It’s all a grand ride. I have learned that no matter how old they are they always come back to Mom …might just be for a money but they always come back…kidding!
Warm Hugs to you Sweet Girl,
Laurel
.-= laurel´s last blog…Hi my Sweets! =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Welcome to my crazy world, and thank you for leaving a comment! LOL, I won’t delude myself: I know sometimes it is for the money. 😉

Maureen@IslandRoar March 10, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Deep breaths….deep breaths!
This is so cute; be happy he wanted to share.
And all the best boys are geeks.
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog…Trusting My Gut =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Thanks. How I wish it is true, and remains true for my case. I am so grateful that he is willing to share, with me, his uncool mom! Keeping my fingers crossed…

Unknown Mami March 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I find this all terrifying.
.-= Unknown Mami´s last blog…Blog is a Four Letter Word =-.

subWOW March 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I know!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: