My elder boy is turning 12 in a couple of weeks. He now stands taller than me, wears bigger size shoes and could barely squeeze into my old jeans! My ex colleagues thought I had a new boyfriend when I brought him along for our annual gathering during Chinese New Year. It’s a give away of my age just having him next to me and calling me mom.
I find myself revisiting the parenting section in the library and I think I have read more parenting books in the last couple of months than I’ve read in the last decade since I became a mom. It suddenly dawned on me that parenting a tween boy requires more wisdom than teaching him how to treat his first zit.
The things you read about puberty, hormones change and mood swings are all real. I now have someone who wants to win me in everything, from swimming, cycling to climbing, which really isn’t all that bad, especially when winning includes beating mom at her PSLE scores. I certainly have no qualms about losing to him.
There are unspoken rules growing up as a tween boy. Apparently, hardly anyone reads in school and even if they do read, they are usually fiction and not some books that talk about the History of Mathematics. So no matter how much you love the present you received from last Christmas, you wouldn’t be caught dead reading it. Bottomline, it isn’t always cool to be geeky. You need to be with the right company to display your nerdy side.
I appreciate the fact that boys are more straightforward, less emotional and they don’t stay angry for long. They are nonchalant to most things but can be sensitive to the feelings of the people they love.
A couple of weeks ago when my husband was not in town to celebrate our wedding anniversary, my elder boy took over the kitchen and cooked us (me and his brother) a meal instead. He basically cooked what he likes to eat. French bread, ribs and spaghetti.
He already knew how to cook spaghetti so the only recipe he got from me was for the ribs. I gave him my recipe for making chicken wings. He had probably drizzled too much honey and caused the liquid to be burnt. He was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any sauce left to dip his bread. The ribs were a bit charred but still tender inside.
I was surprised that he actually took the trouble to make the bread. He had used the recipe that came with the bread maker machine and it turned out beautifully and went perfectly well with olive oil, pepper and salt.
Of course the meal wouldn’t be possible without my trusty oven and bread maker machine. Still, his effort was commendable and I heaved a sigh of relief that he didn’t burn down the house.
I took a picture of what he cooked and sent it to his Dad and told him it was the best wedding anniversary present I’ve ever received, ironically it wasn’t from him but from our 12 year-old-to-be. I felt so loved and I told him I could get used to eating charred ribs.
It really isn’t all that bad parenting tween boy, if you look past the shopping part (or the lack of it). They only need half a luggage space when we travel because they only pack the bare minimum. They can live with 1 bar of soap because that’s all they need from head to toes. Mirrors are decorative because they don’t use them so you can hog them for all you want. They spend more time thinking about what to play than fretting over what to wear and how they look. They could put up a big fight one moment, kiss and say I love you the next and mean it.
Having grown up with sisters playing masak masak and dressing up, it is refreshing to be parenting a tween boy. The time we invested and the bonds we built over the years certainly helps. It really isn’t all that bad and scary and I am enjoying every bit of it.
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