My almost twelve year old son is trying his best to turn into a man right before my very eyes, no matter how hard I fight it. Case in point, he's merged right into the whole middle school thing without blinking his eyes. He has all his materials organized, completes his assignments without my nagging him to do so, remembers to bring me all the things that have to be signed, and generally carries on the work of being a big kid without any input from me whatsoever. Yes, I'm blessed. And still, it annoys me.
See, I can remember when this kid was a bratty little three year old who refused to be potty-trained. I have very vivid memories of sitting on the stall floor of Chuck E. Cheese's on his third birthday (8 months pregnant with his brother, I might add) begging him to pee in the potty because we were down to the last pull-up in the diaper bag. Both of us were crying. Both of us were hard-headed, strong-willed, and determined to get our way. He finally peed and then refused to leave the bathroom in underwear because he wanted a pull-up. I caved. Life with this child has always been about compromise.
But now, he's showing me glimpses of the man he's going to be and I love it. Today after school, for example, he "graded" his brother's math homework for me because I was busy cleaning out the class pets' tanks.
(Yes, that was "pets," plural. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. This should not surprise you about me.)
Anyway, he was kind, helpful, and encouraging because he knows that math is his greatest academic skill but not necessarily his brother's strength. (Did I mention that this child got a 100 percent in five of the seven Math sections on the TCAP test in 5th grade? Yeah, it freaks me out.) When we got home he offered to play Eight's favorite video game (one that Eleven does not really enjoy) if Eight would practice his "addition with regrouping" skills for a few minutes. See, Eleven and I had a talk last night and I asked him to help me by helping his little brother with homework if I'm busy. He jumped right on that request and became a team player.
But despite all this maturity, he hasn't lost his dry sense of humor because, like his mother, sarcasm is his native language. Tonight it was past his bedtime and I was fussing at him, saying, "I know I'm not the only member of this family who can tell time." He argued that all the clocks were blinking because we'd had a power surge earlier and he didn't know what time it really was. I reminded him that he could consult my iHome clock in our bedroom because it has a battery back-up. Senor Sarcasm responded, "Your bedroom? You mean the Restricted Area? Isn't that like Area 51 for us kids?"
Then, when he finally got in bed, I went in to kiss him goodnight. (Hey, no matter how mature he acts, he's still my baby boy.) I said, "Good night, honey. You're my sweet boy." He responded with, "Yeah. Good night. You're my...uh...Mom." (Insert heavy sarcasm, if you didn't catch that on the initial read-through.)
I love that little goofball. I can't wait to see the man he'll be.