Ever wondered why your boy, the cute kid who would be running around the house once upon a time, has now become aloof and rebellious? A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up tells you: a fun guide for boys growing up from tweens to teens, this book has all the facts you need to know, and the answers to most questions you might have about growing up. Kiran Manral writes about what was going on in her mind when her son started to grow up:
It all began with the feet. The offspring had been squawking for a while that his shoes and sandals were too tight. “I cannot wear them, and my toes are dying,” and more of such on a loop. Like every self-respecting mother who just spent a king’s ransom on a new pair of neon-orange shoes by a fancy brand, I ignored him soundly.
Then the corns and the shoe bites began, at which point I was compelled to take a good hard look at the offending feet. They were, much to my consternation, suddenly huge. I measured them against mine. At least two sizes bigger, and the critter was still a few inches shorter than me. His feet, though, hadn’t got the memo to stay in proportion and were now one size away from his father’s foot size. And I need high heels to reach the shoulders of his father.
What had happened? When did he begin growing in bits and spurts, I wondered? Would the rest of him grow to make his feet proportionate ever, or was he doomed to spending the rest of his life waddling around like a duck, with flipper-like feet?
“Eh? When did your feet grow so much?” I asked him, and rushed to the store to get him new sandals, shoes and slippers. “Mamma, why am I not growing, why are only my feet growing so big?” he asked me. I assured him, to the best of my ability and invoking my gravest, most serious tone, that of course his body would grow as well and catch up with his feet soon. It didn’t help that some of his classmates had suddenly accelerated to become looming potential basketball players in the span of a single summer vacation.
Then there was that morning when the critter spent an inordinately long time in the bathroom, and finally emerged with a suspiciously smooth upper lip. Sure enough, the sink was a detritus of shaving foam remnants and a haphazardly rinsed razor. “I had hair,” he fessed up under duress. “I shaved it.” After I thanked my stars that he hadn’t slit his cheek open in the process, he was direly warned to stay away from sharp objects without training and supervision.
But it hit me then — that he was just a few years away from officially needing to shave, from growing up. And then there were the mood swings. There was no telling what would change his mood from sunny to sultry to outright stormy, and then the extreme of “I’m not talking to you” levels of backchat.
The change, I realised, was upon us, right now. He is twelve, on the verge of thirteen in a few months. His body is a maelstrom of hormones and changes. After I sat down and howled for a bit, grumbling about who gave him leave to start becoming an adult when I’d barely gotten used to him being a grown boy, the questions began to hit me. Then more questions. And then some more. All I could do, as a mom, was to try to answer them to the best of my ability.
“Does this happen to everyone?”
“Did this happen to Pappa?”
“What will happen now?”
And of course, the inevitable yuck chee eww gross that would follow some explanations. Finally, “So when do I become a big person?” There’s time yet for that, I wanted to tell him. Stay my little boy for a wee bit longer, what was your hurry to grow up?
But grow up he will, and all I can do is to be here, hold his hand through it all, and hope to remain sane. And of course, keep the nerve medicine handy. For me. Not for him.