It’s 10 p.m. and my 15-year-old son Garret is still in the shower. He’s been in there for quite a while. Music is blaring. Loud rap music. Very loud rap music. He is singing along like he’s the only person left on earth and no one can hear him.
For months, I’ve started to see the signs but I tried to ignore them. My sweet baby boy has become a teenager. A few days ago, he was with me in the supermarket and he asked me to buy him a razor. I looked at him puzzled. “What are you going to shave?” I asked him. “That little bit of peach fuzz above your lip?” He smirked a little and said, “I just want a razor.”
Last week, he asked to join a gym. He paid his own money to join for the summer and his brother has been taking him there. Every now and then, I catch him flexing his muscle, trying desperately to bulk up.
And then there’s the non-stop eating. My always hungry growing boy is fully capable of finishing off as an afternoon snack a whole lasagna or a giant sub sandwich that would have been dinner just a few years ago. I have become used to the continual question, “What’s for breakfast?” followed by “What’s for lunch?” and then an hour later, “What’s for dinner?”
A now, there’s the digital era sign of a teenage boy: flirting with girls on Snapchat. I’m driving along when I see my son next to me in the car making flirty faces into his phone. The first time, I questioned him: “What the heck are you doing?” Annoyed, he explained that he was sending a snapchat to some girl. By now, I am immune and don’t even ask anymore. I just assume that every car ride will involve selfies.
Lastly, there is the change in internal body clock. At night, my son goes to bed way later than I do (and I’m a night owl!) In the morning, I can’t get him up. Long gone are the days when he would pop up in the morning ready for the day ahead with a smile on his face. This morning, I woke him up at 10 a.m. and he groggily asked me why I was waking him up so early. I kid you not, when my older son was in high school, one summer day he slept until 3 in the afternoon. I was horrified!
As a mom, I know that watching your son grow up into a young man is a wonderful thing. But at the same time, it’s hard to see your baby boy mature before your eyes. It makes me feel old and miss the days when my son would cuddle with me and want me to tuck him in at night. Some days, I want to hand him his Lightening McQueen toy cars and say “Remember these? Why can’t you be a carefree tot and play with these again?”
So parents, what are the signs you have seen that your son has become a teenager? Are they overt or subtle? As a parent, how have you handled the transition?