Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A New Season of Parenting

I've mentioned here before that I feel old. I think it isn't my age so much that is bothering me, but my kids' age. Because, seriously, I feel about in my prime. My strongest. My 30's have been good to me. I'm a mean and lean fighting machine. Or not.

But, what is getting me is not my 30's but my kids' adolescence. I have two boys on the cusp on teenage-hood. And that is weird.

I no longer have a child in diapers. Meres is almost 100% potty trained. (she still wears a pull up at night) I'm not nursing. I don't have to cut up food super small or schedule life around naps. I'm loving it!

I can actually relax a bit at the beach and enjoy myself. Because, yes, I am a former life guard, so I'm a super watchful at the pool/beach kind of mom. (I have nightmares of my kids drowning) There is no napping or book reading for me.

At least, not until this summer. (and I'm still not napping there) This year the boys are confident and skilled enough in the water to go out a ways, and not need to be constantly within arm's reach. LC is braver, but still doesn't venture far without an adult-which gives me a measure of peace. And Meres is just not a big water person. She loves going to the beach, but she hardly ventures into the water. She is a sand imbiber. Always has been.

I am enjoying the beach this summer. It isn't as stressful a situation for me. I can soak up the sound of the surf and let it sooth my soul. I can read. I can sit in a chair next to Meres and know she is going to be fine.

My parenting is entering a whole new stage, and that has evident at more than the beach this summer.

The boys have outgrown children's areas. They aren't interested in splashing in fountains and playing in the sand. They aren't mesmerized by swinging and parks and slides. Magic shows and such are below them. And BMV, entering junior high in the fall, is even too old for most DVBS's.

My boys are growing up.

We are walking new paths of different interests, plus increased privileges balanced with increased responsibility. Their boundaries are stretching. They bike the half mile loop of our neighborhood without supervision. They like miniature golf and they finally are decent at it. They play board games and read and amuse themselves. They don't need watched 24/7 to make sure they aren't in danger.

Girls are still in the friends' category. (PTL!) No one is anywhere near driving. Their biggest obsession is still legos, followed by Mine Craft, and then Star Wars. Well, maybe their biggest obsession is any area where these three interests converge.

But, it is a definite stirring nonetheless. And I find myself navigating these new waters a bit gingerly. The gawk-wardness, and the fun. The little men in front of me, as well as the little girls.

'Cause Meres and LC are thoroughly still little girls. They are still into little kid stuff. Dolls and snuggles. Story times and children's gardens.

New interests, new activities, new seasons. Still balanced with old interests, activities and seasons. This parenting season is more like early spring or early fall than summer or winter. It is seeable changes, but nothing drastic as yet. Still the warm/cold temps of the past season, but with the visible feel, look (and even smells) of the new.

Are you still solely parenting little kids, or are your kids adolescents, teenagers or beyond? If so, what nutshell of wisdom would you share with me?