Posted by: Hannah | 07/07/2014

silver-haired princess

We all went to Ron’s baseball practice tonight.

One of Harry’s teammates was there; his little sister is the same age as Ron, so our two families cross paths a lot. We parents sat shivering on the bleachers – in the wake of tropical storm Arthur, it’s been quite chilly in Halifax – while the little kids hit the field and the older boys wandered off on some covert mission.

I was idly watching all the action on the field when I noticed Harry and his buddy… and they were talking to girls.

Now, I’m not going to read too much into this, because they are nine year olds. But at that distance, it was like looking through a lens that sped up time about five years. The body language was more teen than little kid. The girls were flipping their hair a lot. The boys were being less gormless than usual. I’m sure that close up the illusion wouldn’t hold, because I’m guessing their conversation was the totally innocent chatter of classmates who haven’t seen each other for a week – but still, it kind of rattled me a little.

I nudged Michael right away and hissed look, I’m pretty sure Harry and Friend are trying to flirt with those girls! Look at that! and he rolled his eyes at me. BUT I KNOW WHAT I SAW. Time makes you bolder / children get older / I’m getting older, too, is what I’m saying.

Within a few minutes they were all playing catch on the sidelines, and just like that they were nine year olds again. And yet. They aren’t little kids anymore. They’re all nearly as tall as I am. Harry twisted his ankle today and while I was wrapping it for him I noticed that his feet are like grown-up feet now – nearly as big as mine, bony and long, with the same crooked toes that my brother has. When he was a baby I used to pretend to nibble on his little wee toes! He does not have those toes anymore.

***

Ron had three invitations to playdates yesterday. THREE. I’ll be lucky if I get three invitations to social events in a six month span. He took a hardball to the nose the other day and when I offered to hold him in my lap with an ice pack he looked at me like I had two heads and said no thanks, I’ll just lie down in my room with a book. Tonight at dinner he told me the pork satay was lovely, really and asked if I’d done something different with the rice because it tasted better than the last time. He doesn’t need any help at bathtime anymore and he got a buzz cut for summer against my objections because it just makes sense, Mom. My head won’t get all sweaty now.

***

George didn’t nap yesterday or today, with no real ill effects. At the lake he kept running into the water at top speed yelling “CANNONBALL!!!” and he keeps pulling his hand out of mine when we walk together. He doesn’t want his stuffie giraffe that plays soothing nature sounds at bedtime anymore, preferring instead an old CD of classical lullabies that he calls his “sleepy music”. He has opinions about his clothes and is starting to reject the Sandra Boynton books in favour of longer stories with more advanced vocabulary.

***

It’s all hitting me, suddenly. I love that they are growing up, turning into their own people that don’t need me every minute of the day. As cheesy as it sounds I really do feel privileged to have a front-row seat to this whole process. It’s fascinating and terrifying and wistful all at once.

But man. Kids. Slow down a little, okay? Mama can only handle so much at once.

 

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Responses

  1. I feel you. My 11 yo daughter is only two inches shorter than I am. She hasn’t had a crush on a boy lately (her previous “crushes” only involved SAYING she had a crush on said boy, not actually TALKING to him) but when a boy her age was playing XBox with her brother and asking about her, she got GIDDY. It took my breath away.

    I am so not ready for this. It’s normal, I’m glad they’re normal, but…oof.

    • Yes. Exactly. I’m also glad they’re normal and this is how it is supposed to happen but MAH BABEE.

  2. I feel the same way about my girls, 9 and 11. I love that they’re growing and becoming independent and stretching their wings, but holy cow, time can slow down just a little bit. I’d like to have more time to enjoy this whole thing.

    • I spend so much time with them, and yet I don’t feel like I have the mental space to appreciate that time, you know? We’re always rushing here, there, and everywhere, chasing after them and getting them to places on time. I feel like I’m always running after them, and their legs are getting longer.

  3. I am right there. In the Fall Oldest starts middle school and Youngest starts kindergarten and everyone is growing up everywhere. AGH.
    One evening last month after dinner two of Oldest’s friends stopped by unexpectedly. They don’t live particularly close, so usually they don’t see Oldest unless we arrange it and one of the parents drives. But this evening out of the blue, they rode their bikes over to see if Oldest wanted to hang out down at the park (at the end of our street). Oldest was thrilled. I suddenly had a flash forward about 5 years when Oldest and friends will be driving and dropping by and going places to hang out unexpectedly all the time. At that point I experienced a collision of two strong emotions: (1) Oldest is so close to being a teenager grown and gone and (2) Oh! I remember how exciting it was to be a teenager and the sweet freedom of driving and seeing my friends whenever I wanted to (within reason). Such a poignant blend of emotions. Parenting. Whew.

    • EXACTLY. This is exactly it. It’s this weird doubling sensation where you can see the baby and the young adult in the same body for a second. It’s as disorienting as being up very high and looking down.

  4. It is going kind of fast isn’t it? 🙂

    • When did this happen? HOW did this happen?

  5. Recently I posted a tbt photo of the kids at the end of preschool. I think Mark came up to my waist. Now they are giant and his feet are the same size as mine and Jake is not far behind. Several little girls have “crushes” on Jake and tell me how cute he is. Mark walks a pair of girls across the field every day after school so that they don’t have to walk alone (they walk home by themselves). LANDSLIDE’LL BRING YOU DOWWWWWN

    • Seriously, I’ve been a basket case the past few days.

  6. Just today, I got a notice about a post I had made 4 years ago about something thing cute my two youngest had done and how having two six year olds was fun. Then, later I worked with 13 kindergarten aged children and when I started interacting with them I literally had tears in my eyes to think how swiftly time is flowing. They were them and now they are ten and tomorrow they will be driving. It seems that quick.

    • Driving! DRIVING. I am already dreading teaching the children to drive. Just last night I told Michael that I would handle all discussions about sex, informed consent, etc. if he taught them how to drive. 😀


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