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Home » Family » Parenting just got real!

Parenting just got real!

There is nothing more overwhelming that giving birth. That moment you are handed that screaming little person is possibly one of life’s greatest moments. You are overwhelmed by every emotion there is  – fear, love, panic, wonder, admiration – you feel it all at once every few seconds but the love is rather overwhelming. I don’t you realise it until the second day when the sister comes to do those first vaccinations and you hear your baby scream, I remember wanting to punch the nurse with every single baby. You realise in that moment though, that you would lay down your life for your child without even thinking about it.

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With each milestone you feel an immense sense of pride and joy and excitement.

Look she is rolling – so cute.

Look she can stand – isn’t she clever.

Look she can walk – what a big girl.

Listen she can speak – so smart.

Every milestone arrives and we celebrate. We share. We brag. We document.

Then the excitement dies down a little. They can walk and talk and draw and write and add and read. We celebrate but no one really gets excited when you post a picture of your kid doing his math homework.

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Then they start growing up. Really growing up. Not just reaching new levels on the growth chart kind of growing up but a kind of growing up that pulls really hard on your heart strings. The kind of growing up that makes you cry a different, more real kind of tear to the one you cried they day he walked. It is not only a growing up but also a growing away, which is possibly why it is so emotional.

A few weeks ago Cameron put a password on his phone, I didn’t think much about it until I did and then I realised that he was talking to his friends and didn’t want us to see*. His expressions during the conversations he was having also made it clear that he may very well be talking to a girl, which he neither confirmed nor denied when I asked.

I really was not prepared for it. I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that hit me harder than a bucket of ice. I shared on twitter the night it happened and the more I put into actual words what was happening, the more emotional I became. I wanted to rip the phone away and see who he was talking to and what they were talking about. I then wanted to smash the phone and tell him to sit down and watch Toy Story and declare it his favourite movie and ask for Buzz Lightyear Pajamas! I was not, and still am not, prepared for him to be experiencing “grown up” things like relationships and wanting privacy and separating himself from the family unit. It feels like they move through milestones at a certain pace and then they hit 11/12 and they leap across this abyss without fear to the other side while we, as parents, are still standing trying to catch hold of their feet as fly across because we aren’t ready because we know whats on the other side and we know that once their feet touch that side, we lose a pretty big part of who we are to them. I have never really been one of those moms who says “I wish I could keep them small” until that moment.

Parenting, for me, just got very real.

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It didn’t end there. As you know Cameron is now swimming. He had his second gala this weekend and I couldn’t be there to watch him. As he got out the car, I wished him luck and said “remember we want a faster time”. There is this amazing app that basically allows you to follow the gala in almost real time. So you can see the times pretty much a few minutes after they have swum. I was sitting at home refreshing every five seconds and then there it was Cameron De Klerk, 1st place with an improvement of over 3 seconds on his time. It may have been my proudest mom moment so far.

Not only because he won but because HE did this. HE did it all on his own. Yes we have given him the opportunity, the support and encouragement but HE did it. HE made the decision this is what he wanted and he is putting the hard work in, he is getting into the pool every day even when he is exhausted and he is training his heart out, he is sacrificing time with his friends and lie ins on a Saturday morning. He has a goal and he has determination. It is an incredible thing to watch and to know that in a small way, David and I, as his parents, played a part in his achievements.

Dealing with the sleepless newborn months was tough. Taming toddler tantrums is challenging. Potty training is vomit inducing. Introducing solids is exhausting. Starting school is eye-opening.

Cameron

Parenting a pre-teen will rip your heart right out of your chest. It will make all those early challenges seem like a walk in the park. You will wish for those days where you argued for hours with the toddler over which shoes to wear or how to cut their bread. You will miss the days where the talked non-stop about nothing and everything. You will wish that the next milestone had a start and end date. This stage, for me, is when parenting got real. It is NOW that you start to really be a parent because it is the years that lie ahead of us now that will really determine what he becomes and where he goes.

It has been a very emotional few weeks for me. I suspect it only gets tougher from here on out and I suspect there will be a lot more wine in my future.

This does sound like a very selfish version of things because it is. It is MY story. My emotions. Cameron’s story is now his to tell when and if he wants to one day.

The second photo was taken by Jeanette in I think one of then first family photo shoots she did in 2008.

The last photo was taken by Catherine at our photo shoot in September this year.

*I have no doubt that these are innocent conversations. He is not hiding them because he is selling drugs or having sex or whatever. Its just about him wanting some sort of privacy to be able to talk to his friends and very possibly girls.

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32 Comments

  1. 13 October, 2014 / 10:36 am

    He’s becoming a young man.

    This seems crazy to me – WHEN DID HE GET SO TALL!? I remember him as being the kid in the first and second photos of those post.

    Now, suddenly, it’s really hit me – he’s the cool dude in the last photo.

    Oh my friend, my mamaheart is leaping out of my chest for you. But, also for me. I know this is just around the corner for me, and I don’t even feel a little bit ready… X

    • LauraKim
      Author
      13 October, 2014 / 10:51 am

      Cath – thats what makes this all the more emotional. You KNOW they will walk, talk etc. There are charts about it and books and warning. I checked their clinic cards – nowhere does it warn you about this milestone so it just smashes you hard!

  2. MeeA Parkins
    13 October, 2014 / 10:56 am

    I so get this. I discovered the other day that my daughter has started Veeting her legs. I cannot deal. Where she got the stuff from is another story. I’m still sitting on my anger on this one, until I can force it into a manageable shape, before I talk to anyone about it…

  3. 13 October, 2014 / 11:00 am

    Oh my goodness, I’m not even close to ready for this – going to start really taking in those moments that I won’t get back now!

  4. Bernice
    13 October, 2014 / 11:34 am

    You make me want to cry lady. I totally get it! Daniela is turning into a young lady in front of my eyes and there is nothing I can do about it. From here on out I cannot put a handle or brake on it to slow the process down. It scares me, and for this year she still wants to come hang with me and I embrace it as often as I can, for soon it will be lame to do so.
    I do not look forward to her turning twelve next year. She has always been an emotional child and the onset of puberty is only going to make me moggy in the head. I am sure I will raise my glass of wine often with you.

  5. Ramona
    13 October, 2014 / 12:39 pm

    Reading this post was a real eye opener. Thanks for sharing.
    I have a 7 year old and 4 year old and I am going to make sure that I enjoy the time left I have with them before the Teen years.

  6. 13 October, 2014 / 2:03 pm

    Oh gosh Laura – you had me crying the other day with the song and now this! Things on our side is also moving so fast. Yesterday she asked me if she can wax her legs! She is 9! (ok almost 10). Granted she has VERY hairy legs and I am tempted to give her my electric shaver (is it too soon?)

    Huge congratulations to him! Really he beat Hillcrest and Tuks guys – it clearly was a tough competition. What is his best item?

    • Jenny
      13 October, 2014 / 2:07 pm

      Just read your comment Cat – I am going to let my daughter wax when she’s ready – the hair grows back so much softer than when shaving and eventually you just have none – my nieces were allowed to wax from early teens and they really appreciated it then and now. Just a thought.

    • LauraKim
      Author
      13 October, 2014 / 2:37 pm

      Cat – Kiara will also wax when she is ready for it. I don’t really know if it is too early? Maybe? I spoke to my beautician about this and I think she mentioned 12 but I can’t really remember if there was a reason for it. He was fastest in the freestyle but it looks like his coach is pushing him towards breast as his other stroke which he doesn’t really mind.

      • 15 October, 2014 / 9:37 am

        I think we can start with shaving for the emotional thing – waxing can wait till 12 because gosh, its sore. SHe of course wants to wax

    • 18 October, 2014 / 7:45 pm

      Maybe 10 is a bit young for wax. The electric shaver from my point of view. while I loved the smoother feel from waxing or creams, the electric shaver proved the gentler option. For me out is still the best choice.

  7. Jenny
    13 October, 2014 / 2:10 pm

    Okay contentious question but am genuinely interested in your response – have you and David discussed the password issue? Should he be ‘allowed’ one and to what extent should you be ‘allowed’ to make sure nothing funny is going on? I ask because a lady at my work has an agreement that she can check anytime she wants on what is going on on her son’s phone (she doesn’t but she can) and he is not allowed a password on it. I guess they can just delete whatever they don’t want you to see anyway…

    • LauraKim
      Author
      13 October, 2014 / 2:34 pm

      Jenny and Angel – yes he does know we can check when and if we feel we need to. He is very open about stuff like that despite the password being on. Both Jack and Kiara use his phone to play games on and I think this was his way of stopping that. I have all of the passwords for his Facebook, email etc

      • Jenny
        13 October, 2014 / 2:46 pm

        ha ha yes that makes sense – pesky siblings 🙂 I would like to think that my kids will also be open to me having all their passwords and stuff. I guess if your respect their space, it shouldn’t be an issue. But it’s definitely a modern-day parenting issue that our parents never had to worry about!

  8. 13 October, 2014 / 2:18 pm

    I must admit – I’m with Jenny on this one.
    The contract, the phone and the insurance is in my name and as the parent I reserved the right to be able to check what was on his phone whenever I felt the need to do so.
    It was a part of ensuring he didn’t see or download something he was too young for – the same way I managed his internet use and access.

  9. 13 October, 2014 / 2:37 pm

    This post made me ugly cry as I read it and kept flicking my eyes towards Charly asleep on my lap. I LOVE the way you express your feelings and share so openly. The hugest of hugs to you my friend xxx

  10. 13 October, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    Am crying a bit! Argh, this sounds so hard and it is all waiting for me…

  11. 13 October, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    I was just discussing this with Julia and Shayne the other day on twitter – the baby years vs the teen years. I see how my niece is changing – she never used to keep secrets from me and now she is a teen she is more selective about what she shares and the depth thereof. (she used to tell me everything!) it certainly is a sucker punch to my gut with her so can only imagine how it’s going to be with my own kids…

    It must be such a weird place for you my friend, parenting a pre-teen AND dealing with the baby years all rolled into one! No wonder you’re the “harassed mom”

    Sending you love as you navigate this new path!

    xxx

  12. Julia
    13 October, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    Feeling you more than you realise. We can NEVER be ready enough. Xx

  13. 13 October, 2014 / 5:23 pm

    Your post really hits home…Aidan isn’t even two yet but I have a sense of alarm like I want to put him in one of those oxygen chamber things to keep him from ageing,hehe. It’s a good reminder to value the little things and who knows you might grow closer, this was certainly the case with me and my parents…we became closer than ever after high school

    • LauraKim
      Author
      13 October, 2014 / 7:16 pm

      Eleanor – our relationship is still pretty good and for now he is still ok to be around us/with us. The fact is though that even if we stay close, he is on his own journey now to becoming his own person. Its life and its good and its healthy BUT for me, as the parent, its hard

  14. Heather
    13 October, 2014 / 7:36 pm

    I think each age has its challenges. Good luck with these times, and I have confidence in you, I’m sure you can do this if you’ve handled all that’s gone before, 🙂

  15. stephanie graves
    13 October, 2014 / 7:36 pm

    Scary how fast they grow, it feels like just thee other day my baby was born but that was already 18 months ago, How does the saying go Stop and smell the rose , were always in such a rush just enjoy the moments as there gone way to fast

  16. 13 October, 2014 / 7:38 pm

    I will definitely not be ready for this AT all. My worst thing is the fact I have trouble letting go 🙂

    As for Cam, CONGRATS on that first place! What an awesome achievement- I love it when the practice pays off and there is the sweeeeeeet smell of success.

    If you’re interested (reply by email) there’s an excellent post I read – I can find it – on passwords and phones and internets and all these things we now have to think about using intentionally.

  17. 14 October, 2014 / 4:53 am

    Ouch…that is a big milestone. Good luck Laura.

  18. 14 October, 2014 / 9:41 am

    Oh man, I’m so glad I have a good few years to prepare for this but it seems a mama will never be prepared for her kids growing up. I guess it’s a big change from where they need you for everything and then they slowly need you less and less.

  19. 14 October, 2014 / 11:18 pm

    Sigh…. It does change and for me it got worse. The worry is more intense. The consequences are bigger. I often look at my kids now, wishing they had just started walking.

  20. Rebecca
    15 October, 2014 / 8:44 pm

    This is one of the most poignant posts I have ever read. Not just on this blog ever, but on all blogs I have ever read ever. Amazing LKLR, just amazing.

  21. 16 October, 2014 / 7:39 am

    I can see the age gap between Logan (immature 8 yo) and WD (super mature 9 yo) and although in a couple of months I know the gap will be a lot smaller. I cannot help but appreciate Logan’s immaturity. Life is so short and when you move into a new phase of parenting it is such a real reminder of how short it is.

    xx

  22. 18 October, 2014 / 7:42 pm

    Oh my. We are only at the but this post makes me sad at how quickly they grow up. People always say how fast the little ones are growing but this really brings it home.

  23. 10 February, 2015 / 6:29 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from – my eldest is 7 and I overheard her talking to some of her friends about which boys they like…at 7, so it begins. The conversation was such innocent chitchat but It touched a nerve for me, my little girl is growing up. Luckily she is mainly childlike still – I plan to treasure this time with her.
    Xx
    JoyandPops recently posted…12 Ways To Celebrate Your Wedding AnniversaryMy Profile

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