Parenting a Nearly Pre-Teen

Canaan...you know, that sweet, chubby cheeked boy that has been cooking alongside me at the counter since he was in diapers? Yeah, that chubby cheeked diaper boy is growing up. Quickly.

Much too quickly than anyone ever told me. I know, I know...it goes by fast. Blink of an eye. Babies are driving cars and going to prom. It happens fast, so I was told. But not this fast. This is beyond lightening speed.



So here I am, a far too young (ah-hem) of a mom with this nearly pre-teen on my hands that has found the art of eye rolling, occasional snarky remarks and attitude.Yikes.

Its an interesting time of his (our) life. Watching a child waiver between childhood and teenage years. The struggle between innocence and reality. Their yearning to still wear cozy pajamas and want to curl up on the couch for a snuggle and sensing the desire to pull away and read in a corner for hours with headphones on, without interruption.



The other night he and I had a long heart-to-heart. There had been a string of bad attitude days and ,lets just say, it was time for Canaan to become a bit more self-aware. It ended up being a really great conversation.

Yet, I could sense myself as the parent of a now maturing person, feeling unsure of how to wade into this new relationship. We've read some great books on the topic of raising boys, but I've found over the course of these years of parenting, I would rather know my child deeply and navigate based on our particular relationship and their particular nuances, than follow the ABC's of another's journey or studies.

We take it all day by day. Some days I still get that sweet chubby cheeked boy standing at the kitchen counter cooking alongside me. And as great as those days were in his early years, they are even better now. Great conversation and discussion, laughs and fun.
Other days he needs his space and we try to give it.

Recently I've branched out to a new form of communication with this guy; email. He has an account through school, so a couple of weeks ago I began sending along a note and "Questions of the Day." This little practice has become a fun part in our daily relationship. As you will see below, Canaan is (and has always been) very serious and to the point. He knows what he knows (or at least thinks he does) which makes me chuckle all the more given the ridiculousness of the questions and his oversight on their ridiculousness.

Each day, he comes in from school and asks if I've read his response. Its a small thing, but its a open door to another way of building relationship with this little guy that's not so little anymore. I imagine, in time I can throw in a few more thoughtful, personal questions in there (us moms are sneaky like that) to stay close to the heart of my son and remind him of my love as we continue to head into these tricky teen years ahead.

Here's the recent email chain~ 



Mom:
Hi Canaan!
Thought I'd send you an email since you now have an email account. Getting all grown up and stuff :)

Questions of the day:

In the song Yankee Doodle, is he calling the horse or the feather "macaroni"?
Why do people say "heads up" when you should duck?

Canaan:
It is meant as a warning and they are talking about the feather.

Mom:
Hello Canaan~
I hope you are having a great day at school.

Here are your questions of the day:

When lightning strikes the ocean why don't all the fish die?
How old are you before it can be said you died of old age?

Canaan:
It spreads out and loses its power before it can reach the fish. You have to be 80+.

Mom:
Good Morning Canaan! Just went and helped out in Ezra's class. It was fun.
Hope you are having a good day!
I love you!

Questions of the day:

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?

Canaan:
The right one, and as soon as you read them it expires. 

Love,
Canaan


Mom:
Good Morning Canaan! I hope you have a great day at school today. I love you so much and am so proud of you....for just being sweet, lovable you :)

Questions of the day:

Why is it that on a phone or calculator the number five has a little dot on it?
How can something be "new" and "improved"? if it's new, what was it improving on?

Canaan:
For blind people. I couldn't figure out the second one.





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2 comments:

  1. As a parent of a teen (mine will turn 14 in April) I want to say, you're in for a real treat!! Take it as it comes. I like your idea about the email. Teenagers are definitely different and need to be dealt with differently. But I still haven't quite figured it out, yet. It's even more difficult when they're bright, because they have the advanced knowledge of an older teen/young adult, but their emotional intelligence and common sense sort of lag behind. It's definitely a learning experience that I hope we survive to tell the tale about. Lord willing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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  2. Sweet post! We are totally there - already with some eye rolling and occasional attitude, but then the sweetest moments in between. Truth is, they still need and want us. Although we're just ramping up to preteen/tween/middle school, we're already preparing and I have a recommendation great for parents with kids this age or even a little younger. It's never too early to start equipping yourself! We've been reading a great new book that we are really excited about, so I just have to share. It's called "MiddleSchool: The Inside Story- What Kids Tell Us, But Don't Tell You," by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna. It has interviews and feedback from middle schoolers, parents and teachers (and a little humor) to help us deal with faith, purity, puberty, communication, independence, discipline and accountability, tackling social media, technology, Internet, gaming, and deepening and strengthening positive, loving relationship. It's so rich in valuable help as we face these transitional years with our kids. I think everyone with a middle schooler or who will have a middle schooler will benefit from it. I highly recommend it! http://www.tyndale.com/Middle-School-The-Inside-Story/9781589977778#.U8R_Gl4Q7wI

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