My oldest child is 9. His age group is referred to as a "tween" in our church. Tweens are that mysterious group that are not children, but not quite teenagers. That "between" status that's so difficult for them (and us) to manage. They're too old for the mall play area and too young for the teen arcades. I personally think 9 is still a child, but I wouldn't let my son hear me say it.
The tween years, like everything else, seem to be surfacing earlier and earlier. My boys have had "girlfriends" since preschool. My oldest had the "birds and bees" talk at 5. One of our twins got in trouble for explaining to a little girl at school that "girls have boobs and boys don't". (And before you yell at me for teaching him a slang word, he knows the correct word. Hell, I'm just glad the word 'penis' didn't end up in the conversation. I celebrate the little victories.) Suffice it to say, this can be a little overwhelming to us parental types. I think my husband and I have managed okay so far. He says, "Ask your mom." And I give them answers. (Sorry, dear.)
I'm reading a couple of books right now. One is "How to Hug a Porcupine". It's aimed at those parents of tweens/preteens. And I'm finding much of it applies.
He wants that independence, but still hangs on to the childish toys and rituals of his life. He wants to be left alone one minute and to sit in my lap the next. As confusing as it is for me, it's much more confusing for him. I'm not so old that I can't remember those days! (Now, what was I talking about?...)
He's got hormones surfacing, fears and questions about everything, and wants us near enough to help out, but not so near that we smother him. What a fine line we walk! One minute I'm the best, coolest Mom ever. The next, an embarrassment to the human race. (Note to self: call and apologize to Mom.)
My husband and I joke that, if people knew what they were getting into when they have children, and I mean what they're REALLY getting into, the human race would have ceased to exist long ago. (Haters, don't send me nasty-grams, I love my children. But let's be honest, they're NOT little bundles of sweetness and light ALL the time.)
I suppose we'll make it through this stage in one piece with a portion of sanity left. But I'm pretty sure it's gonna be one heck of a ride!
Thanks for reading!