Going Through “The Change,” For The First Time

by POPSIE 1956

I knew it was only a matter of time, but I still wasn’t ready for it.

He’s just a child!

It’s just not fair.

But it has to happen to everyone eventually.

Grandson Number 1 Christopher Matthew is starting to grow up.

He turns 12 in August, and while he still has a long time till he’s out on his own, I’m starting to see the signs the young man is slowly taking over the young boy.

Let’s start with what he calls “Me Time.”

I’m not sure if he does this at home, but nine times out of ten when he and his brother Zach come over for a visit, in less than ten minutes he’s headed to our “computer room,” proclaiming it’s time for his “Me Time”.

He shuts the door and starts playing on the computer, on occasion I hear some giggles, but by and large he’s quiet.

He has asked (nicely) that we should knock on the door and wait till he tells us to come in before entering.

Putting aside the fact that it’s our house and not his, we comply out of respect for his privacy. Besides, up till now, we’ve had no cases of not knocking and “walking in during an inopportune moment.”

I know I can handle it if/when it happens (since Chris and I have had the discussion about…new hair growth and enlarged body parts), but my wife would probably stroke out (pun intended).

Then there’s conversation, or lack thereof, or sporadic listening on his part.

This is especially true when we are on the phone with Chris; we will ask a question, and after a few moments of silence we have to remind him to get away from the video game and respond to the question.

When driving around, he barely speaks a word anymore, since he’s deep into game playing from one of our phones.

Again, the quiet makes it easier on us, but from time to time he needs to be reminded of manners. One time he gets in my car and just says “Phone.” No “Hi Popsie,” or anything like that, just “Phone.” I simply respond “Yes, I have one and it’s a beauty,” and wait for him to ask (including the word “please”) for it.

He’s at the age where he’s testing the waters…as well as the patience of the two of us as well as his parents, his other grandparents, and I’m pretty sure teachers at school.

As long as everyone realizes it’s a phase that we all have gone through and he’ll get over it eventually, we must all learn to take a breath and count to ten before we lower the boom.

Have to admit, that’s very tough for me, admittedly I have a hair trigger temper.

For example, one night we’re at basketball practice; I hand him a bottle of water and he takes off to join his team.

The gym is crowded and he’s not sure what side he’s supposed to be on; he comes back and tells me, and not asks me, to take the water.

I tell him it’s his water, his team, his practice, he has to ask someone where he’s supposed to go.

He then, out of frustration, just tosses me the bottle.

In a somewhat loud voice, I suggest he take the water back and find his team or there’s no cell phone, computer, “Me Time” etc for a year if he doesn’t take responsibility.

He gets all grumpy and mad, shouting “Jesu# *****” (think Biblical)

I stop him immediately with “NOW!,” he turns and sees his coach, who points him in the right direction; an hour later, practice is over and he’s all smiles again.

This is rare behavior for him, but it’s something we’ll see from time to time.

All kids have to go through the rite of passage.

I did, and so did his mother…and if I survived dealing with a teenage girl, this will be nothing.

Still, it makes me a bit older thinking about how our little grandson ain’t so little any more.

There will come a day, and it’s not that far away, where it just won’t be cool to hang with Donnie and Popsie anymore.

Doesn’t mean he loves us any less, it’s just the next phase of his life.

Besides, with Zach turning 7 in March, and Mason not even 2 yet, I still have some time to be the goofy grandpa for a few more years.

At that point, I’ll be ready for the change..

And by change, I mean changing into adult protective garments.

Lastly, and Chris doesn’t know this, but I have blackmail I can use on him one day.

That will be the day he’s all grown up, has moved out, and started a life of his own, including whoever he picks as his partner for life.

On that day, in front of Chris and that special someone, I will whip out a picture we have of Chris on his very first day of school..

It shows a smiling happy Chris, wearing a nice shirt….

And only a shirt…

Yes, “Little Chris” got in the picture too.

Popsie ALWAYS has a Plan B!