When Your Tween Son Pays Attention To You Act Natural

When Your Tween Son Pays Attention to You - Act Natural

My sweet amazing baby boy is now a tween. You know, that stage where moms are not quite as smart or cool … or necessary as they once were? Sure, they want you to get them a glass of water when they’re in bed. Sometimes they’ll throw you a bone and ask you to lay with them when they’re freaked out by some scary character they saw in a trailer on YouTube. Yep, they have to settle for horror movie trailers because that same annoying overprotective mother (you) said they weren’t old enough to watch Final Destination or SAW. (Smart choice)

Actually, tween really is the perfect term, as they’re truly somewhere between “Mommy will you come in my room?” and “Mom my room is off limits to you.” They’re between, “Mom I think Katie likes me because she always says ‘Hi,’ so what do I do now?” and Mom overhearing him tell some friends he wants to date Chastity because she puts out. (This is why you should never name your child Chastity … because irony is a bitch.)

I remember when the shift into tweenishness occurred. It was last year when he returned from sleep-away camp. He was able to fall asleep without me coming in. He was able to make decisions without conferring with me first. Damn stupid independence inducing, freethinking fostering camp! This year he’s not going, which I’m secretly thankful for (fingers crossed he’ll regress just a tad).

So the other day, in my son’s foray into tween-hood, he looked at me with those same wide eyes that once asked, “Mommy, when I’m older will you marry me?” and asked “Mom, I’m getting older, doesn’t that mean I should start wearing Hollister?”

I looked back at my boy in his ratty sweatpants and torn Under Armor tee that he’s worn some variation of for 3 years (right about the same time he stopped letting me pick out his clothes) and said, “Yes, yes it does.”

And we headed to the mall. No, my baby didn’t need me to help him blow his nose but as a serious fashionista, he needed me to help him put together outfits that say, “I’m cool and hip, without even trying.” I’m a freakin’ pro at that. We walked the aisles as I explained the joy in finding a great sale and also how to wear a button down in a casual way. I introduced him to shoes that were not athletic. Who knew THEY existed?  Not him. We talked about what the cryptic “Beyond” is, as in Bed Bath and …. We even discussed the girl he likes. Who he’s pretty sure likes him back because she smiles at him.  A lot.

At one point in our day he sidled up to me and grabbed my hand. This may have been the highlight.  But I was careful not to let on. How careful you ask? Well my inner dialogue went like this:

OK Jenny act natural. Whatever you do, do not draw attention to it. Don’t be queer and swing your hands, or goofy and try to spin him, or say what you’re  REALLY thinking which is, “Oh My G-d you’re holding my hand, I don’t know when the last time you did this was, but NEVER NEVER NEVER let go. OK my sweet precious baby boy?” Do NOT say that. Go limp as if you don’t even notice or care … and enjoy.

So I did. You would think I had a tranquilizer shot straight into my palm with the nonchalance my hand conveyed. Oh, but it was a lovely stroll that said, you’re still the best, and I love you, and I’m not all grown up YET.

That evening he wore one of his new outfits to dinner: a Hollister tee under an American Eagle v-neck casual sweater with a pair of long board cargo shorts, a canvas belt, and Vans. Before we left he asked me to dry his hair, which is similar to Justin Bieber’s (from the days when JB was all wholesome and called his mom on stage at concerts to thank her for birthing him).

My husband upon seeing this went into sarcastic man mode, “Ooh you’re having Mommy blow out your hair? You’re so pretty.”

My son and I laughed, I may have overcompensated with my laugh in a desperate attempt to make it seem not at all like a dig or something that would embarrass him into never asking me to blow dry his hair again.

When I was done I walked up to my oh so witty hubby and whispered, “You let me enjoy this mother f#cker, you hear me?”

He nodded and squeaked out an, “uh huh.” I may or may not have been squeezing his balls as I politely whispered. I can’t recall, but I think we’re all good. Though I may let my tween watch Prometheus or maybe Hostile.  You know, for good measure?

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36 thoughts on “When Your Tween Son Pays Attention To You Act Natural

  1. annettejett

    Thank you Jenny for capturing the true heart of moms of boys. Sorry, but moms of girls only, just don’t understand that special relationship that is built with your boy from day one. Come to think of it, as you so humbly mentioned, sometimes our husbands don’t even get it. My son is 3 weeks away from being 6 and already he shows signs of our ever-changing relationship. He will kiss me bye in the car as I drop him at school, but would never do so in front of his classmates. He dresses himself, he even changes his own pj’s in the middle of the night if there is an accident. Okay, I know it is supposed to be this way, but oh how I appreciate those moments when he snuggles up beside me on the couch, when he asks me to play a game with him (“a real life one, mom, not an electronic one”), and how he gets excited when we talk about how we are going to decorate for his birthday party. Those are the moments I adore- call me insecure if you want- but I enjoy being able to be better at somethings than dad is, and take special time to make cookies or pizza for scratch, and fun messy crafts that involve paint, glitter and glue, just to compete with playing football in the backyard! In other words, I get it. I get you – I get this post- and I get that special bond between a mom and her son. Thanks again for bringing it home! Much Love, Annette
    annettejett recently posted…Destination: SustainabiliTea ~ Pilot: Bigelow TeaMy Profile

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  2. Amanda

    My daughter is nine and we’re slowing crawling towards the tween stage. Ugh. Also, will you go shopping with ME? I suck at picking out clothes. I’d wear my Bon Temps tee and jeans every day if I could.

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Yeah girls are tough. You lose them for a while and then hope they come back to you. Mine is 8 and it’s all attitude and yes, shopping jeans everyday are perfect, just pair them with a cute heel and some mascara and you’re good to go. I promise!

      Reply
  3. My Half Assed Life

    When your husband piped up in sarcastic man mode I was all “I hope you booted him in the nuts”. I mean I know he’s your husband and all but men just never know when to keep it shut. Then I hit the last paragraph and you completely validated my bitchy thought.

    Honest – sons will always have a special place in their hearts reserved solely for Mom.
    My Half Assed Life recently posted…Thank You’s, Personnel Appraisals and The QuestionMy Profile

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  4. cherie

    Great post.!! I guess, I can’t relate because I am a mother of an only daughter. Although, I will say having only one girl, that the feelings were similar. Especially when she hit her tweens, because at that time, I felt like I had been kicked out of the club and was no longer worthy of all the attention she was now showering on her girl friends and boy friends. But everything that gois around comes arround and she came back when she had her first child. I like to think we BFF’s

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    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Who wrote this?

      Just kidding, mom, you made me tear up. Though I think I came back way before that, there were a few sketchy years where you were more fun to hang out with in the privacy of my home, but you were always my BFF!

      Reply
  5. Trudi

    Ah Jenny, you nailed it, as always. Those tiny manchildrens have a way of making us yearn for the days of triple checking the closet for stuffed animals that may come to life, vs the tweens that find ways to watch Ted behind our backs.

    Just so you know, your son’s newfound fashion sense will wax and wane — my son (now 13) got a kinda groovy Puma sweatshirt a year or so back when he was first gettin’ some swaggah. Cut to today: it’s a dumpy, torn, stained shell of it’s old self. Then again, he’s closer to looking like an actual man now than ever before…

    Still, I let him wear it out the door if he gives me a hug. I know that’s some psycho mommy blackmail, but yes, I will stoop that low just for a chance to smell his hair.

    Was that a whiff of Johnson’s baby shampoo I caught? Lord I hope so….
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  6. Jennfier

    Yes.
    I have two boys. One is 12, the other 9. The tweenfest is even tougher because my 9 year-old is super, over the top, affectionate still – making my older son’s withrawl more pronounced. The other day we were walking along the street downtown and my tween tried to pull away from me when I leaned in to give him a peck on the cheek good-bye. I whispered in his ear: “you are still shorter than me. I will take you down to the ground, pull up your shirt, and blow a raspberry on your belly if you don’t let me kiss you right now”. He died laughing and stood still.

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  7. Emily

    As a mom to THREE boys, I so get what you’re describing here…2 of my 3 are now teenagers so I’ve been through that transition and believe me, I’m trying to keep my 9-year old as my baby boy as long as possible but of course I see him racing to catch up to his big brothers…sigh. The good news is that my teen boys are still willing to go for a long hug from mom…
    Emily recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Geronimo!!My Profile

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  9. Stacey

    We’d always noticed that my mom had a special bond with my brother that was different than the one she had with us. It was like she never wanted him to grow up. Recently, at 26, he finally moved out of her basement and into his own place with his fiance. And of course he’s a man so he never calls. He just disappeared. I think I understand her whole not wanting him to grow up thing now.
    Stacey recently posted…One & DoneMy Profile

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  10. Barry

    This morning, BEFORE READING THIS ARTICLE. , I spoke with my only daughter who is now 40. I texted her soon after saying how much I loved and appreciated our talk. Holding hands is up another level, Wonderful,; as you expressed. When handholding happens, It’s difficult acting nonchalant. Your heart and soul are warm and loving.

    Reply
  11. Melonie McCoy

    Jenny, thank you soooo much…once again, like the letter to a daughter in law, you’ve captured my feelings about my son and I…and he’s only 16 months! My deepest wish on this topic is that you would merge those two stories, while adding possible commentary on the unfortunately common problem of daughter in laws restricting their hubby’s/MIL relationships, and submit it to some high profile ladies magazines! I’m not kidding…women need to read these!! :).

    Reply
  12. Katarina

    You’re post made me a little teary eyed. My soon to be 6 year old son recently asked me if he has to get married when he grows up. I didn’t have a chance to answer. He let me know that he has no intentions of leaving the family he has. I gobble those moments up.

    Of course if my husband were there, I’m sure he would have yelled “NO. NO. NO. YOU DON’T EVER EVER HAVE TO GET MARRIED! EVER!”

    Reply
  13. Hillary

    What a wonderful post. I have a 10-year-old son. Sometimes he’ll let me hold his hand at church, but that’s about it for PDAs. When I drop him off at school, I cherish the wave he gives me when he turns around for a brief moment. Ah, our baby boys! I’m going to be the worst mom-in-law ever – though I hope not.
    Hillary recently posted…ConquerMy Profile

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  14. Lana

    Aw! The picture of your son is so sweet! Just last night I was looking at pictures of Grace and realized she’s getting tall and losing all her baby fat. I went into panic mode and in a moment of total desperation asked my husband if we should have another baby. I just miss the baby part so much, but then I realized I must be temporarily insane. :)

    Reply
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