Not a little kid any more

There’s no escaping the fact that Isaac is not a little kid any more.

In truth he hasn’t been ‘little’ for quite some time. He has always been tall for his age and mature beyond his years in a manner that befits his role as ‘the responsible one’, the eldest of three siblings.

This last six months or so, however, the changes have been more fundamental. He’s become noticeably more moody. His behaviour has deteriorated – not all the time but often enough. He can be disobedient and defiant in a way he never used to be, challenging every decision we make and complaining about the monumental unfairness of it all.Β Sometimes I don’t recognise him at all from the sweet little boy he used to be.

Why has this happened? In a word: hormones. Puberty is coming. Actually it’s already here.

He’s in that awkward phase at the moment. Not just a child. Nowhere near being a man. Entering the ‘tweenage’ years.

Gone are the days when the most manly discussion we would ever have was about cars. We passed another milestone last week: having ‘the talk’. (That one got delegated to me faster than Heather you can say, “If you think I’m talking to him about sex, you are very much mistaken.”)

We’d had an initial chat about puberty a few weeks ago but this time – prompted by PSHE classes at school – we plunged straight into a world of hormones, bodily fluids and conversation such as, “No, babies aren’t actually delivered by storks. Or by Amazon.”

Yep, he’s growing up fast. There’s no going back.

But every now and then his old self shines through and we’ll get a reminder of how he used to be: kind, carefree, happy, relaxed – a bit like in the photo above. Actually, that’s not fair. Most of the time, he still is all those things. It’s just that sometimes he is selfish, careworn, sad and uptight.

In other words, he’s a nine-year-old boy.

He’s already only an inch shorter than his Grandma. In two years’ time he’ll be heading off to secondary school.Β It won’t be long before I’m picking him up, drunk, from the pub. Or driving him up to university for the first time.

He’s growing up so fast. I wish I could bottle up the essence of a seven-year-old Isaac and keep it safe on a shelf. I know I can’t and it’s not fair for me to want him not to change. Of course I want him to evolve – it’s the only way he will grow into the fine man I am sure he will become. I just hope that deep down there will always be a part of him who remains a kid at heart. And that he doesn’t turn into a grunting, monosyllabic teenager too soon. You know, like this …

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