Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I was feeding my 8 1/2 month old baby boy before bed tonight, and kissing his little feet, and pressing one against my eye, and my mouth, as you do, and it suddenly struck me that he was going to grow and stretch into a big hairy man, and the tiny little squishy foot that just covers my mouth will one day be longer than my whole face - and the chances are slim that I'll be wanting to press that size 10, 11, 12? foot to me anymore!

I don't feel that sense of shock about my daughter so much, perhaps because she's so womanly - it's easy to see her as a teenager, as a woman, where her curves are going to fill out. The attitude is certainly there.

But while there are glimpses of the man in my teeny Mr Smallman, he's still pretty much squidgy little not-quite-toddler (the baby is pretty much gone - sob!).

The way children grow fascinates me. When my daughter was a baby I couldn't imagine her at the age she is now, and now her babyhood seems so far away. She's reaching higher almost every day.

I wonder if the otherness of a child who's the opposite sex to you makes person they will be more mysterious? The concept of him growing heavy bone and strong muscle, and elongating, growing hair everywhere is miraculous, astonishing. Mind you, my first boyfriend was so pretty, his skin was like silk and velvet (though that was at fifteen, I'm sure he's lost his untouched glow by now), thinking back, he reminded me of the Anne Rice novels about the Taltos, the race of people who are born fully conscious and grow to adulthood minutes after birth. He was smooth and sweet like a baby quickly stretched into a teenage boy's burgeoning strength and height and, well, all the rest. The gorgeous boy.

I'm so looking forward to having a teenage son, who embodies all that male beauty, holds within him all that gorgeous potential. It's so sad for men, it goes so fast. It's not really fair, I had that conversation with a twenty one year old the other night. What was I thinking? Poor Dave! Being forced to stare down the barrel of the demise of his youth by some aul one in her thirties!


Maggot said...

It's obvious that you have not parented a teenager yet if you are looking forward to the experience!

Save this blog and get back to us in 14 odd years time Jo ;)

jothemama said...

Ah, that old saw. You know, all I heard after I had my daughter was 'oh, it's great now, just wait til she's three months... just wait til she's walking... just wait til she can argue back', BLAH BLAH now it's 'just wait til she's a teenager'.

a)the crap my daughter gives me, she might as well be a teenager already.
b)I know what teens are like, I'm a secondary school teacher, I've seen the best and the worst.
c)Parenting's about making people, not just fluffy babies, or someone to look after you in the nursing home. Sure, it's hard. Sure teens are a trial. They're great as well. I had some difficult moments with my mother and I know I pissed her off (but I did in my twenties too) but generally we go a lot out of eachother through my teens, and I think she was pretty impressed with me.

I know you're only being glib, but I'm having none of it!

jothemama said...

S says:
For some reason blogger always eats my comments on your blog.

I wrote a long comment about teenage boys, basically saying that my boss is mother of a teenage boy, teenage girl and almost teenage girl, and seems really to enjoy it. The boy is sixteen and occasionally difficult, but she says that she really likes him this age.

And then I boasted about how R seems to get better with each passing month. We went and had a make-up lesson together this afternoon, which was kind of fun.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

"It's so sad for men, it goes so fast"

It's interesting to hear you say that because it's always seemed to me that men age better than women.

It's going to be fun for you watching your wee boy growing into a man. The whole thing is fascinating. And heartbreaking at the same time as they need you less and less. Sob.

Tinman18 said...

I know what you mean about the otherness of the opposite sex. I've an 11 year-old daughter and, since I never had sisters, I've never had a clue what she was thinking, never really knew how to talk to her & couldn't understand why she was still so keen to be my little princess. Now she's starting to "fill out" & I don't know where to look.

God, it must be the pinkness - I get on this site & I start "sharing", with not a bad word in sight... (& I'm obviously not a D4 teenager)

jothemama said...

sam, my plan is to make friends with their friends, and they'll all stay round my house for baked goods and advice and the condoms I'll hand out. It'll piss my kids off, but they'll have no choice but to stay close... heh heh.

Tinman, you sound fraught! I must think of a good book for you to read. 'Promiscuities' by Naomi Wolfe is wonderful, but I don't know if its reassuring for dads (it's not what it sounds like, just a study of growing up a girl).

If I may, you are the man she gets to practice her femininity on. You're the safe training wheel of masculinity, in an ideal world. So if you make her feel loved, cherished, safe and worthwhile, respected and important, she'll probably feel those things about herself, and choose men who do the same. Listen to her. And give her insights into what it's like to be a man!

Alleged Comedian said...

I am constantly amazed (and by constantly I can mean day by day by day) at my elder son growing up, making decisions, and friends, and mistakes.

And as interesting and fascinating and sometimes edible as he is each day, what really blows me away is the dynamic he has with my younger son.

There is nothing like it, and if in ten years he has me in a headlock and is calling me an effin B or whatever, so be it.

I love it all right now, and now is all we have really

jothemama said...

Oh no, look what I've done! Rob, you can say fucking bastard as long as it's not gratuitous!

I am moved by your comment.

Alleged Comedian said...

I was aiming for Fucking Bollocks, but as I could not imagine those words from my son, I chose the censored version. I knew I could say it, were it necessary, now that I have proven my bona-fides as a non D4 teenager

Tinman18 said...

I'll try that book thanks Jo, though if she practices her femininity on me, I'll be out the door to the pub like a shot.

jothemama said...

Tinman, you know what I mean :P
Playing rough and tumble games when she was small. Telling her she looks beautiful in new clothes.When you let her dance standing on your feet. Teaching her to drive. That stuff.

aquaasho said...

Love this post Jo. So beautifully written. I'm amazed at the 6 year old boy in our house. He's an alien to me.
And the 16 year old girl, well if there's a more appropriate phrase for being madly in love with your kids then I would use it. She's beautiful and funny and so independent. I'm loving her teenage years. Lovin' it. So you're right to look forward to it Jo, it's a brilliant way to be.

jothemama said...

Thanks, Ash, so glad to hear it!

Midget Wrangler said...

As I had a boy first and he is ten now, I am already getting muddy football boots and stuff thrown around the house, he is never full, and only stops moving when playing a computer game!

My little princess is four and a little woman already, and I Love the special moments we share, when she looks at me realising she is gonna be a woman one day!

My youngest boy is one, and I am just enjoying (when I remember to) his wonderful spirit and energy!

They are all so different and special, but I suppose ever since my first guy was born I've thought of them as little people, aware all the time that they are "other" than just children.