Friday, October 18, 2013

Growing up

Bud and I are going to stay with friends for the weekend.  They are teenage friends - 17 and 13 - whose dad will be out of town.  They don't need supervision, but we're going to keep them company.

I explained the plan to Bud last night.

"We're going to take care of them?" he asked.

"No," I said.  "They're old enough to stay by themselves.  We're just going to spend time with them."

"They're old enough to stay by themselves?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"But I'm not old enough to stay by myself?" he asked.

It wasn't a challenge, but it stopped me in my tracks.  Bud is older than the younger of our friends. But, developmentally - well, no.  He's not old enough to stay by himself.

This is a brand new dynamic - this comparing himself to others.  It has only started emerging in the past couple of months.  It's an important developmental step, I know - and yet, it makes situations like this much trickier than they've been in the past.

"Well, you like to have someone stay with you, don't you?" I asked.

"Like who?" he countered.

I started naming favorite sitters.  "Like Cally," I said. "Or Ashley.  Or Amelia.  Or me!"

"Or you?" he asked.

"Yeah, me!" I cheered.  "I love staying with you."

"Aw, thanks, Mom," he said, leaning over to hug me.

And that was that.  The issue was resolved.  For now.  But it still feels like we've crossed an invisible threshold.  I think we've officially entered the next stage of development.

I just hope I'm ready for it.


kristen spina said...

It's wild, isn't it? I bet things progress quickly... Almost overnight mine went from "don't you dare leave me alone for 5 minutes," to "I don't feel like going to the grocery store, you go and I'll stay home."

I think it all feels weirder for me than for him. When they are ready to take whatever the next step is, our kids tend to just take in stride -- while we quietly freak out. ;-)

David said...

Since you saw it, the invisibility of that threshold doesn't matter. Clearly you are ready for it, as is Bud. What an amazing mom (NOS) you are! Soon it will be time to update the blog's photo montage. I think.

lsl said...

There's also a difference between staying by yourself, and without an adult. Younger siblings often get to do things 'on their own' earlier than first-borns or singletons, because there is an older kid to do it with. If the 13-yr-old didn't have the 17-yr-old to stay with, would the parents think she (or he) was ready?