Growing Up and Getting Older

Kids: They grow up so damn fast don’t they?

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming. Both of my children are miraculously growing up. One minute you’re frantically rubbing your temples, hoping and praying for the chance to sneak a glass of whiskey in the fraction of time that you have between putting the tykes down for the night and getting some much needed sleep yourself. However, whilst you’re doing so, unbeknown to you, your kids are growing. They often grow by inches every week, pushing their way out of socks and shoes, like unruly houseplants, but it’s their inner growth that can be what really catches you out.

After years of backseat kicking, tantrum throwing and dinner launching, both my boys seem to have metamorphosed into the next stage of their development. Although I know I should be proud, pleased even, I’ve ended up feeling even more stressed than I was before. I thought that I understood how my boys behaved, their behaviour was predictable at the very least, but now they’re straying off the beaten track, they’re asking questions with a sharper line of enquiry. They’re evaluating the nature of the world and querying how it could be in the state that it currently is.

Toys and games that were once cherished playthings have been callously left to the dust mites and now more time than ever is being spent staring curiously into personal screens and studying. When I was their age, I was hell bent on avoiding home work at all costs, my parents were happy to see me avoid my studies as long as I was outside getting some fresh air. I ended up being (relatively) successful so I suppose their parenting style wasn’t totally horrible. Still, I dare not disturb my two lads from their studies now. They’ve not played Fortnite in…well a fortnight, and that’s enough reason to be thankful.

The fact that they are both wilfully learning in their spare time, as opposed to blasting each other’s heads off in a virtual reality is something that I should be really grateful for but I can’t help feeling that I’ve missed out on seeing this transformation for myself. It was simply as if one day they’d decided to forsake childish things and embrace adulthood with the fervent consistency of a religious zealot. If I was a man prone to conspiracy theories then I’d be setting up cameras in the house to check that they weren’t racing down to the living room each night to play their games, but I don’t think that’s the case.

After nearly a decade of hassling and haranguing, it looks like the era of the ‘wet flannel’ has ended and not with a bang but whimper. Now I come downstairs each morning to find them both dressed, eating their breakfasts, books open next to their bowls of cereal.

I can still remember spooning mushed up Weetabix into their mouths and avoiding the occasional hurled spoonful of peas, those days are now firmly in the past and I’m unsure as to why I’m not celebrating…