Truett

Truett is 11!

Truett turned 11 last week. I’m now at the point where I’m losing track of how old my kids are, like “Tru, you’re 12…, no, 10…, no, 11? Wait, you were born in 2008, which means…yeah ok 11.” And the kids will just look at me with sympathy like I am the epitome of old people problems.

I love this kid so much though, and 11 is such a great age. Look at how big this boy is now.

It’s been a whole decade ago since he was this squishy little baby face.

By all accounts, the terrible teens will be upon us in a year or so and I can’t say that I’m entirely ready for it. In preparation for this very difficult time in my life, I’ve been reading up on techniques to deal with the teenage transition.

Be prepared for mood swings, angst, frustration, emotional withdrawal, and all of the wisecracky retorts, they say. Give them space but always be there for them. Understand them but be firm at the same time. Set boundaries but provide opportunities for them to discover their own way. Know when to be a parent and when to be a friend and don’t take it personally when everything you try blows up right in your face. Basically all of the things I do not enjoy doing.

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But for now, 11 is looking pretty sweet.

11-years-old gives the best piggy back rides.

11-years-old knows how to talk about his feelings. This is a huge jump for a boy who would bury his teary face into my shirt and refuse to talk whenever he got upset. It used to be so difficult getting him to give words to how he felt; he would just power down and keep everything inside like a locked vault. Now that he’s 11, he has become more forthcoming about how he feels. It’s like all these years of telling him that we’re here for him and he can talk to us is finally paying off. And if he’s unable to vocalise his feelings, he writes them down in long letters which I’m always happy to receive.

11-years-old still goes for the hugs and kisses. I have to say that this surprised me. I wasn’t a very huggy-kissy 11-year-old and I was fully prepared for my kids to be all “Ewww mom, please stop” but Tru still leans in for a hug and kiss when I drop him off at school or at bedtime and this always makes me smile. “I love you, mom!” he says, before running off. I’ll enjoy this for as long as it lasts.

11-years-old makes an amazing fruit salad.

11-years-old is the best company. Sometimes we talk about his favourite Avengers characters or trade new jokes, sometimes he joins me for a run even though he hates running, sometimes we split a strawberry cake and sometimes we just sit together because that’s fun too.

11-years-old is great at conflict management. He knows when to take the hit and look suitably remorseful, and when to talk his way out of a situation, and when to skilfully negotiate for what he wants.

He also uses these skills to mediate between his siblings’ squabbles and if I haven’t made this clear before, watching him intervene when the younger kids are quibbling brings me so much joy. “Ok, what happened? Theo, you talk first.” he’ll tell them. The small kids will take turns explaining themselves and he will give them the same look of exasperation he’s seen so frequently on my face, then sigh and be all like “This is not a big deal guys, ok Finn, you just say sorry for hitting his Politoed so hard and Theo, the Politoed has no nerves, he’ll be fine.

Happy birthday, Truett! Being your mom for the past 11 years has been the raddest ride.

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