Chicken is the new penguin
Can't banish the chill

Growling pains

“Hey, Mom, come look at this,” Tre called. He was working on the computer, doing his keyboarding homework from Monday school. He’s been working hard, and has learned all the letters except Z. I stood behind him, watching him carefully type out a line. I would estimate he’s up to a good ten to twelve words per minute.

“You really are getting better,” I told him. My hands rested lightly on his shoulders, and even though there is little in this world more boring than watching words like, “Mike and Ann were in the store by ten,” slowly scroll across the screen, I stood there. There is less and less he wants to show me in this twelve year old era and so I stood, admiring his typing skills, wondering what happened to the days that always ended with him on my lap, his head tucked right under my chin.

Somehow we have gotten out of sync, this firstborn boy of mine and I. I tend to blame this on him, on his ADOLESCENTNESS that is unrelenting. The things he can argue with me about…the things he HAS to argue with me about…it’s unbelievable. At least to me. I’m used to him being Tre, the dependable one, the one who is ok, the easy one who wants us all to be happy. And these days? He’d much rather be right. Scratch that, he IS right, and he wants us all to know it in NO uncertain terms.

The thing is, our conflict is as much about my surprise at his attitude as it is about his attitude. I don’t understand it, I don’t know how to talk to him, and I want him to go back to being the kid I knew. I want him to just LISTEN to me, with the same basic assumption he used to have, that Mom probably knows. Instead we argue, each bewildered at the other’s refusal to understand. I am sometimes harsh and angry and walk away, hating my feebleness in this new land

I hear myself telling people, often, the story of when Tre turned two. How he stood up in his high chair one day, and when I told him to sit down, or I would take away his lunch, he glared at me and said in a fiercely piping little voice, “You will NOT.” And I was shocked and hurt and ha ha ha, because he was just turning two, like every perfect firstborn child has before him.

I laugh at myself now, but I can still feel the wrench there was, like a physical tearing in my chest, when I realize he was growing away from me.

I know it’s good, it’s normal and right that he detach in this way. He’s finding his own voice, spreading his wings, blah blah blah.

I looked at him, my fingertips on his shoulders. I studied the whorl of hair at the crown of his head, and remembered when it was drawn in the medium of misty fine baby hair. He painstakingly typed out a line, then two, and turned to grin at me.

“Not bad, huh?”

“Not bad at all. You’re doing just fine.”


Lisa in NJ

This post made me cry. Why did it make me cry, cause I have a young boy just like your first born. I still cherish how he likes to snuggle. I know those times are going to go away and be replaced with a teenager. I don't like it one bit. So this made it all real to me.


I have my own 12 almost 13 yr old son, who is also my first born. I can't remember the exact date, but i do remember the feeling in my heart when i realized that he was no longer my little boy. Second guessing everything his father and i do, arguing because..well, i don't know why.
The voice changing and the mustache all seems to be happening way to fast for me.
But when he comes to show me something he has created from his lego (that is his thing) i realize that my little boy is still in there somewhere, and he is probably just as scared about all the changes as I am.
It can't last forever right? They do eventually lose the "puberty brain"? I am sure it will be just in time for the second born, a girl, to start going through it least i know what to expect with her...


My first born's a girl. I barely remember her as my little girl. It seems she was PMS from about 8 on. But her brain fell out when she turned 13. So I Was ready when my son's brain fell out at 13, about the same time the mustache started. Yes, I still see enough glimpses of my cuddly boy to keep me from locking him away till he's 18 (for his own good, you understand).

Emily R

It is never going to stop, is it? This frustration I feel with my 3 year old is so much about him having his own voice.

Beautiful post.

Antique Mommy

Your writing is so lovely. My boy is four and I already feel this growing away you write about.


oh my. i just wrote something similar today, too. my baby is 13 and is realizing HERSELF that she is growing up. *sniff weep cry*


You are the mom I want to be one day.


mary margaret

Oh, Kira, this post made me cry. I remember all those days. Good news is, it gets better. Bad news is, it gets worse. Best news is that one day Tre will use both his roots and wings, and be a man! It goes by far too quickly.

My oldest was married last May. She is now a fine young woman, and has that place in my heart that your firstborn always does. I cried when she went to kindergarten, I cried when she was hurt by her friends in middle school, I cried when she graduated from high school, I cried (a lot) when I dropped her off at college, I cried when she graduated from college, I cried when she married a fantastic young man two weeks later. And now, her younger sister and I are finally going to see her again in about two weeks, and I will probably cry when I see her. (I miss her so much--she now lives much too far away for my taste). The best part is that she is really excited about us coming to her home (I think she misses us, too, and if you knew Andrea, this would be a surprise to you as it is to me.) Enjoy the ride, my dear. It is worth it all. It has been a joyous journey for me (there was more laughing than crying--really, there was! And IS!)


memo to self: copy kira's recent post to my blog, delete "Tre" and replace with "Samantha", and insert bouts of crying


I so enjoyed reading this entry. Thanks!

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