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You’ll grow up when I’m good and ready

“Hey, baby.” I say to my eleven year-old. It’s what I call my boys, except my middle son, who at four would already reprimand me for calling him baby. “I’m not a baby.” He’d growl, to which I’d reply, “You’re my baby.” He never accepted my answer and would yell at me whenever I slipped.

Not so with my oldest. He’s always embraced both being a baby and being my baby.

I can’t say I don’t love it, but at times I worry if I’ve made his comfort zone too comfortable; if I’ve babied my baby too much.

“You want to call a friend to come over?” I ask.

He’s curled up in his favorite chair, wrapped in a blanket for comfort not warmth, a bowl of popcorn at his feet watching Austin and Ally on television. He barely turns his head toward me when he answers, “Nah. I’m good.”

“Are you sure?” I ask, walking to the chair and squatting down next to him.

At my closeness, he immediately leans over and nuzzles his head against my body. I give him a squeeze and kiss his head. Ah. My baby.

“I’m good.” He says again, opening his arms for a hug, which I happily embrace.

It’s his downtime. He works hard at school, homework and sports, so I don’t mind him relaxing if that’s what makes him happy.

He craves home, while my middle son craves independence. At eight, he’s already a social animal, and has secured a friend to come over. After his play date, it is not unusual for him to ask for another.

Sometimes, I worry a bit that my oldest is too happy nestled in his chair while his more socially developed friends spend more time bonding and making connections. I worry about him being left behind. Even, shallowly, about not being cool. I want, what I think, most parents want, for him to have an easy run through middle and high school. To fit in. To be well-liked.

“Mommy?” He asks, as I give his head one last tousle and rise to leave him. “Can you bring me water?”

I struggle with wanting to push him out there and pull him back in. I struggle with wanting to do things for him and for him to do them himself. Push. Pull.

He’s eleven. Maybe that’s the age where they need to mature. Almost all of his friends are texting and addicted to Instagram. Quite a few are already into girls. At the moment, my beautiful, sweet son remains blissfully unaware of the social tornado going on all around him.

But probably not for very long.

“Okay, baby.” I say.

His chair

His happy place

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

52 responses »

  1. A mom of an 8 yr old once told me that her son asked her, “Can we watch HGTV and snuggle?” I hope my son is still like that at 8! Your title is so true!!

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  2. So true, my oldest is my most cuddly, but not as social outside the home, he’s very focused on his family. And at 12, not yet obsessed with girls. Luckily, he also makes me laugh. 🙂

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  3. I love this. The push and pull, the social tornado. I bet you’re doing it right!

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  4. It’s a delicate balance knowing when to do and when to make them do for themselves. I, however, have faith that you’ll do the right thing and make the right decisions, cuz you’re awesome.

    Reply
  5. This was such a sweet story and while my son is just 20 months, I can see myself having these same struggles. He is our only and I worry that will be a downfall and not a plus. I agree with the others that it sounds like you’re doing it right!

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  6. You are doing great!.

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  7. I think about this every day as it relates to my 7.5 year old! Nicely expressed.

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  8. Aww that’s cute. My mom used to tell me my childhood stories and I was naughty too 😉 Loved reading it.

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  9. Sounds like he’s being himself, which is always the best thing. 🙂

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  10. Love this. It’s a testament to you what a nurturing, warm house you have that he feels so safe and secure. One day he’ll be out and about but he’ll always want to come home.

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  11. I can see my son being cuddly like that. I think a boy who loves his mama is a pretty sweet thing.

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  12. aaww… Iv seen a lot of boys, and girls this age already way too independent and always wanting to be out with friends and absolutely hate being called “baby”,lol. I hope when I have a child he will be just like your little boy, he seems content and happy just being loved and showing affections 🙂

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  13. Enjoy his youthful boyishness while it last. He’ll grow up soon enough.

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  14. I was the kid happier on the couch with a book than out making and having friends. I was basically the same as your son. Through high school it was a bit of a tough road, but ultimately, I think my parents allowing me to be exactly who I was and do exactly what felt good to me, even if it meant staying home when everyone else was out, was just the right thing. I think you’re doing great 🙂

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    • he’s like me… i was always so happy with a book and a box of cereal. we’re all our own people and as a parent i can see mixing up wanting your kid happy and your definition of happy.

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  15. My 10 year old still loves to cuddle and I’m getting all I can. He’s my baby. After he gives up snuggles, I’ll have to rely exclusively on my husband!

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  16. I have no idea how to navigate all of this. The push. The pull. I know it well.

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  17. I can relate as my son’s the same age. He will let me hug and kiss him still, but he doesn’t like it when I linger too long, I have to get my hugs down to just the right amount of time so I don’t embarrass him. It’s a delicate balance.

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  18. My son is eighteen and nothing like yours, b ut that is expected. He kind of pulled away from my wife when he went to school. She laments his lack of connection, but it is what it is. I make him do more than he wants, always getting in his space to tell him I love him. I want to make sure he stays connected to us as much as possible.

    Reply
    • i dread the day he doesn’t want/need my affection. i’m working hard to make them mamma boys but they will be who they are. who am i kidding, i’ll probably just hug em up no matter what they want.

      Reply
    • i dread the day he doesn’t want/need my affection. i’m working hard to make them mamma boys but they will be who they are. who am i kidding, i’ll probably just hug em up no matter what they want.

      Reply
  19. Perfect, perfect, perfect snapshot of what it is like to have growing children.

    “I struggle with wanting to push him out there and pull him back in. I struggle with wanting to do things for him and for him to do them himself. Push. Pull.”

    Yes indeed.

    Reply
  20. I’m there, too – clinging on to whatever few days I have left where my daughter still wants me around. This shall pass, and I won’t regret a minute of that time spent, I don’t think.

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  21. LOVE this so much! I live in those moments with you where I want him to grow up but then I want to grab him and say, no stay here with me longer. Thanks for sharing those thoughts I’ve been feeling.

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  22. I can relate to this so much. Both of my kids are homebodies and the other day my husband and I practically begged our oldest to have some friends over. And my youngest (7) is still cuddly and I cherish that, since I know it won’t last for too long.

    Reply
  23. Pingback: Feature Friday: Ice Scream Mama | Stuphblog

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