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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Surprising Rites of Passage

When people start a family, there usually comes a point when they're relatively certain of what parenthood has in store for them. Not entirely, mind you - once those rascals are born there's really no telling how many nights they'll be up at 3 AM screaming in your face or how many times you'll find yourself sitting in the emergency room, counting ceiling tiles while your kid gets something x-rayed (also usually at 3 AM).

But overall, between asking your mom for advice, crazed Googling, a dog-eared copy of every book in the What To Expect  series, and random old ladies at the supermarket telling you your children are going to catch Bubonic plague from not wearing a hat, you start to feel like you have a pretty reasonable overview of what Major Milestones you should be expecting. Namely:
  1. First smile that definitely isn't gas
  2. Rolling over
  3. First step
  4. Some other stuff
  5. College
Aside from a couple other baby firsts you might prefer to forget, if you're like me, you thought that pretty much covered it.

Wrong!

Apparently, kids keep having more rites of passage, even when they aren't babies anymore. (I know! The nerve.) They grow up in subtle ways, somewhere in between that first "Ma-Ma" and the first call home from the dorm to ask sheepishly for money that you know darn well they're just going to spend on beer.


This became painfully clear to me the last time I took the kids to the dentist. First of all, neither one asked me to tag along when the hygienist called them back to the examination room. Nope, they confidently trotted off without me, without even looking back.

Fine, I thought, without a twinge of sadness (lie). No, better than fine.  I was by myself for once, so I settled in to enjoy some time alone with my thoughts. Well, with my thoughts and those of the lady sitting next to me who wouldn't shut up, between hacking coughs, about how she'd already seen the movie they were playing on the TV in the corner. For the first time ever, I would've paid good money to play I Spy with one of the kids.

Finally the little ones were finished, and I was freed from Hacking Cough Lady and the pressure of coming up with my own thoughts to think about. But as I floated out of the office on a cloud of Parental Dental Superiority (No cavities!), I was still feeling a little sentimental that my kids suddenly don't need me to hold their hands all the time. What's a parent to do when their children no longer need protection from a stranger in a mask picking at their teeth with sharp sticks?

That's when the second whammy came along. I informed 10-year-old Jake that it was his turn to push the elevator button, because any parent knows that hell hath no fury like a child whose sibling got to push the button on the way up and on the way down. It makes for a long, pouty trip to the ground floor. But instead of rushing to the button, he surprised me.

"Nah, that's okay. Zoe can push it."

Record screeching.

What? This wasn't in the books. Fine, they can handle sitting in the dentist's chair solo, but nobody warned me about this, the day when my baby would be too mature to derive pleasure from summoning the elevator. What's next? Taking the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall? Walking around  puddles? Skipping dessert???

But, cool, calm and collected as always, I didn't make a big deal out of it. Just a few dozen photos and a little bit of quiet weeping.


I can't help it, it took me by surprise - kids go through so many little changes, too random or insignificant for your pediatrician or the woman at the supermarket to warn you about, so small they're barely noticeable. But when you add them all up, suddenly your little 2-pound-10-ounce preemie baby boy is a young man.

A few days later, he got new boots. He'd outgrown the kid section, and already needed to shop in the men's department. Ouch, my heart! Can it get any worse?

Of course it can. A few days after that, he requested the sex talk.

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36 comments:

  1. I was getting a little weepy reading this and going over in my head all the sweet ways you described these changes/happening and then you mentioned the sex talk and I hid in a corner wishing for all of the kids to stay little forever. The sex talk *shudder*

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    1. I'm shuddering, too! Luckily I already accidentally scarred the oldest girl with my impromptu tampon talk, so I'm leaving this one to the fellas!

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  2. The sex talk is definitely the husband's responsibility!

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  3. Ten year old boys are such a mystery...I had to have the sex talk with mine this year because he just wasn't having the vague answers about how his half brother could look so much like his dad AND his step-mom. But, he still believes in Santa. And he stinks like a man now, so there are deodorant issues. But, he's still in a size 7. I'm pretty sure it will only get worse :(

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    1. So confusing, these little half-kid part-teen critters. Mine doesn't stink yet, but he thinks he does, which means he tries to sneak past me with deodorant on, as if I wouldn't notice him smelling like a vat of Axe body spray exploded onto a frat house. Hold me!

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    2. His is mostly from cross country this year. I love that he still runs up for a hug, but not after a 4 mile run. He's just disgusting! My brother-in-law is a high school coach & PE teacher and is almost physically ill at the smell of Axe. Most boys tend to think it is a substitute for showering. At least we still have some control at this point!

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    3. That's true! Just a little control, of course, but I'll be satisfied as long as I have enough influence to ban Axe!

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  4. That's very sweet, although the OCD in me is thinking he knows it's flu season and didn't want to touch the dirty elevator buttons. Either way, it's kind of a win ;)

    And the cockroach ad on the side of your blog in that ad is kind of creepy...

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    1. Gross, I'm on my phone so I'm mercifully spared, but I apologize to your eyeballs! Nasty! Though speaking of nasty, I did instill in the boy an obsessive love of hand washing, so there might be something to your germ theory. Wouldn't that be nice, as opposed to the growing up thing???

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  5. What is it with the pre-teen boys and Axe body spray? And why the entire can in one dose? sigh.

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    1. Plus the body wash, shampoo, deodorant... Like just one isn't strong enough!

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    2. And that all starts the day after you are complaining that their hair stinks like armpit because they never wash it.

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  6. My five year old is tying his own shoes and putting his dishes in the dishwasher. I thought he was just lightening my workload, but you're telling me he's growing up?! This changes everything.
    -Amy

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    1. That's how it starts! It's like gateway growing up - soon they move on to bigger (less helpful) things. ;)

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  7. Why are they doing this to us? Here I've been encouraging the baby to walk when all she is going to do with that skill is walk right out the door. *sniff*
    Impromptu tampon talk? That got my attention. After your period post discussion, I found myself preparing to have such a talk with my little 3 1/2 year bathroom intruder.

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    1. Brace yourself! They never leave you alone in the bathroom, and they come in armed with questions.

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  8. Awe, they are super cute!! And yeah, I will have to agree, boy sex talks are for the daddy! I got a pretty strange look when I accidentally told my 6 year old daughter that babies come out of a hole that's between your pee and poop holes, so yeah, daddy may do her sex talk when that time comes. <3 Devan

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    1. That's way more detail than I'm prepared to offer.

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    2. I find the more I talk the more damage I do - just when you think you're keeping it simple, you just open yourself up to more questions ("There's ANOTHER hole???").

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    3. LOL!! I was driving today thinking "I wonder if that was TMI??" Sorry Mr Hollow Tree. :)

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    4. No, no such thing as TMI around here - I think the Mr. was just saying that's more detail than he'd discuss with our daughters. I might be on my own with the girls. With the boys, though? It's all about the pee and poop holes. Wait, you know what I mean.

      P.S. thanks for your sweet comment on YKIHAYHT's Facebook page - I wanted to respond, but fb won't let me tag you when I'm on there as the blog and not my person self. It really made me smile, though. :)

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  9. I'm awed that you were able to keep your cool so well. You've so got this parenting older kids thing down, Robyn! Smooth sailing from here on out, right? ;)

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    1. Ha! I'd like to think so, but you can tell by the look on his face in the pic that I'm already not handling it so well. ;)

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  10. We're good with the dentist and elevator buttons...so I guess I should be expecting to have The Talk any time now. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. You're probably right - I advise avoiding your kids until they already have kids of their own. Then you know you're in the clear, sex-talk-wise.

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  11. The first time 15 said "It's okay, 13 can push the elevator button" I immediately checked the basement for pods.

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    1. Aaaack, I didn't think to look for pods! **runs to basement**

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  12. Contrary to your opinion, I'm looking forward to the day when my kids no longer care to summon the elevator. Because it means I'll finally get a turn at it!!! It looks so fun!

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    1. I have a long time to wait, since I keep having kids and I'm pretty sure I have to wait until the youngest is in her thirties before I get a turn.

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  13. Everyone seems hung up on the sex talk thing. Personally, I loved the "Some other stuff" between "First Step" and "College." I lol'ed. That's about right, though.

    I've already had that talk with two other boys. No biggie. It gives me a semi-valid excuse to mention all the colloquialisms for pee-pees and hoo-hoos.

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    1. Thanks babe, I thought you might like that. ;) Almost as much as I like it when you talk about pee-pees and hoo-hoos.

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  14. I am utterly fascinated by my 8 year old's ability to walk in 2 different worlds of maturity. Arm farts? still completely hilarious. Tease your younger sisters - hours of fun. But also followed up with "hey mom, can I write a letter to the President about this gun control stuff? I have something to say."
    .....the heck?
    First, um, we're Canadian so not sure how that would affect American policy. and second...
    ....the heck?

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    1. Wow, impressive! Your 8yo is WAY more mature than I am already - I rarely think about global politics, yet I snickered at my husband's comment above about pee-pees and hoo-hoos. This is why they won't let me be in charge down here in the States. ;)

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  15. The baby just rolled over today. He's not allowed to do it again. I forbid it. All I can see now is crawling, walking, marrying someone and moving away. It's too much, Sister-wife. It's too much.

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    1. Aww, congratulations - and I'm so, so terribly sorry. Please, don't let the baby near the twins - older siblings are another leading cause of Figuring Things Out and Growing Up. Or bring the baby over for a visit - this environment is enough to stunt almost anyone's growth.

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