My little Adonis

I am of the opinion that my son is handsome. He has large, expressive chocolate brown eyes and long, gorgeous lashes. He is smart, funny, and thoughtful. When he laughs, his whole face beams and those eyes go soft. He'll hold his stomach and shake his head as the giggles pour forth.

My big boy just turned nine at the end of December. We've been ribbing him for a good year about a little girl named Jasmine who he talks about all the time but "she's just a silly girl, mama." This same third-grade boy just spent three days away from home on a school field trip. When he left on Monday, he was the same boy who refused to consider that girls could be pretty and likable, that perhaps he'd like to be near one, or that sometimes a girl trumps a boy.

But then he came home and there were stories of girls begging to hold his hand, of girls loudly professing their interest in him as a boyfriend, and of girls competing with each other for his attention. He told me with disbelief that one little girl asked all the girls in her dorm who liked him and every girl raised her hand. Every girl admitted that he, the boy who is all hard angles and flat planes, is the most handsome boy in third grade. Every girl, mama!

When I asked him why he thought the girls were so interested in him, he said, "'cause I've got this six pack and my arm muscles are the biggest." Seriously. That's what he told me. And as he noted each attribute, he showed it to me. My nine-year-old little boy who cuddles with me in the morning and is afraid of bugs and is trying so hard to hit the 80-pound mark so he can get out of his booster seat in the car. That kid is now dubbed "the girl expert" by his pack of wild third-grade friends.

The girl expert. Who was chased by three girls today when his grade went out to fly kites. Who tripped over his kite string and broke it because he hasn't yet learned how to act cool under the adoring gaze of the opposite sex. Who refused to give a little girl his phone number because he didn't know what they'd talk about on the phone.

My first born. My sweet, sensitive, and impulsive son ... is becoming a man. I joked tonight that I let him go away for two nights and puberty found him. Part of me knows I should be parent-ish about this, but a much larger part of me is just enjoying this awkward transitory phase of his life. He's like a newly born foal just realizing he has legs. I'm watching him stumble around and laugh at himself. He preens in the mirror, smoothing his hair and practicing his smile, and then laughs when I catch him doing it. One day, sooner than I'd like, he'll take himself -- and the world -- too seriously.

I'm letting myself enjoy his new-found confidence because, let's be honest, I've spent vast amounts of time worried about him. I worry that children will make fun of his facial ticks and that he'll give up on the struggle to control himself in class so as not to (again) be the "bad child" of his grade. I lose sleep imagining him on the receiving end of a bully's brutal aim because his brain is wired a bit differently than most and his parents "gave him away." Some days I don't know that he'll make it to adulthood without the scars and bitter disappointments that drove his biological parents down dark and dangerous paths.

And then there are the normal parenting worries: Will his peers accept him? Will he become a social rockstar or pariah? Will he be the teenager who looks forward to morning or the one who hopes to never wake up? When he's a grown up, will I have prepared him for the crushing pressures and realities of "real life"? I'm on my knees most nights praying that he'll learn to be humble and modest yet proud and determined. My mind plays a constant mantra: Let him always feel loved and wanted, by himself, by us, by the world. Every day. Every night.

I should be upset that a group of nine-year-old girls told him he's hot. I should worry that he's the focus of inappropriate attention at such a tender age. I should toss and turn over the possibility that he's rushing too fast into the murky world of girlfriends and sex and its consequences. But I'm not and I won't. Instead, I let him flex his muscles for me and giggled with him when he shrugged his shoulders and held up hands and said, "I guess I was just born this cute."

And, yes, he so totally was. For today, I'll bask in that.


  • amber_mtmc

    Your attitude sounds right on target. I'm sure you already talk to him about sex (as that puberty line indicates) so what if he flexes his muscles a bit?

    You are one awesome momma.

  • The Drama Mama

    if I may, I actually think he favors you from your little pic on your profile. I'm going to take a lesson from this because having a girl at this age is a little different but yet, very much the same. I hope I can approach her puberty (Which is happening way too fast) with the same attitude you are embracing Javi's.

  • Kelly Miller

    Javi is my biological nephew, so people are always surprised when they learn he's adopted since we look a like. Technically, he is the spitting image of his biological father, but no one sees the biodad, so they think he looks like me.

    Also. SEX!!! PUBERTY!!! Two conversations I have NOT had. I mean, not like "We're talking about sex now" had. I talk about it in general terms. Gah. Do I need to? Do I have to?

    I know the answers. I'm gonna go throw up now.

  • heidi @ wonder woman wannabe

    Oh my, you are totally scaring me! ;) I've got TWO boys. My eldest is almost 5.

    Visiting from SITS - have a great day!

  • Kelly Miller

    Are you sitting down, Heidi? Because I'm about to tell you something that will keep you up at night. Javi's first kiss was in kindergarten when a girl cornered him at the top of a slide. The teacher saw it and sent the girl off for consequences, but I didn't find out for at least three days.

    I'm sorry. I warned you. I used to think boys were aggressive/fast. Now I'm not so sure. (But I have a girl, so I can't commit.)

  • Anonymous

    Yes he was indeed. I hope your birds and the bees talk goes okay. I think you have a very great attitude about the whole situation.

  • TKW

    He is quite a charming and adorable rascal. He's the 9 year-old Clooney!

  • Melanie

    OMG laughing my butt off about his 6pack and biggest arm muscles! My 8yo too, is trying to reach 4'9" so he can get out of the booster seat. He hates it! Ah well, safety first!


  • Kelly Miller

    We are 8 years old or 80 pounds. He has wavered between 67 and 70 pounds for about a year now, despite his "muscles." He has to be 4'9" to sit in the front seat and he's counting down since he's currently 4'8", but we're reserving that for his 12th birthday. Gotta have something to look forward to!

    I did make his head explode by saying even if he's old enough to sit up front, if he doesn't weigh 80 pounds then his booster seat moves with him. ;)

  • Dalia (Generation X Mom)

    That is great that you seem very relaxed about it all. When my son started middle school (at age 10)I admit I had some issues with it all. He seemed to change overnight. All of a sudden his interests changed and I was missing the little boy. It took a few months but I finally decided to go with it instead of fight it. I had to realize that he is growing up and he is doing a good job at it. No matter how much we don't want to see it, it will happen. Now almost 2 years into middle school, everyday brings a new subject. Bring me back to the days of "how am I going to rid of this pacifier!".

  • becca

    This choked me up. I'm not sure why, but it did. I think because I felt the love you feel for your big boy so clearly through my computer screen. Your hopes and fears for him. Your pride. It's all there... and I think it's so wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing this... you are a fabulous mommy!

  • ChefDruck

    This was such a wonderful post. It brought tears to my eyes, because I too have a chocolate eyed little boy who loves to cuddle with me in the morning. He's only six though, and I hope he still will when he turns 9. I think that you should submit this post for publication in a whole bunch of parenting papers. It's amazing and touches on great issues of sexuality and relationships.

  • Lesley

    that is tooo cute....I'd be like...NO...no girls can like you....you're my little guy....they just grow up wayyy to quickly!

  • The Drama Mama

    Ha, I've had THAT talk. *shudders* It was a necessary evil. It didn't go as badly as I thought it would.

    By the way, I've given your blog an award. Stop by and check it out when you've got time.

  • BigLittleWolf

    You can do it! (Our sex talks started soooooo young. OMG. Ridiculous.) And worse case - they get it non-stop in middle school. Still, better that they have some inkling sooner rather than later!

    And those tweens are just around the corner. Yee-haa! That's fun! (The girls will be after him. It's such a shocker when it happens in a big way. But he's a cutie. Better get those birds and bees lined up for that talk.)

  • Anonymous

    I'm with Becca; I had tears in my eyes reading this. This line in particular really got me: "He's like a newly born foal just realizing he has legs." Perfect.

    It is so obvious from the way that you write this what a wonderful mother you are: your pride in your son, your perspective on which worries to embrace and which to let go, and the humor you bring to it all.

    Wonderful post!

  • Janine

    I love this post...I just spent an entire week on vacation just staring at my girls in amazement at how they are maturing. Weird...awesome...beautiful. Nice job!

  • Unknown

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Because he has a six pack and the biggest arm muscles. Too cute : ) That cupcake is awesome!

  • Cole

    Stopping by from the Lady Bloggers Tea Party :)

    How cute! But now I'm scared...my oldest is 8 and I thought I had a lot longer until we hit the girl-crazy stage...

  • Draft Queen

    And then you have to have the sex talk and all of a sudden you cute tween turns into the "sex police" and you are explaining why you are having sex with no intentions of having a child. (Plus, apparently 30 is too old to be having sex.)

    (OMG save me from my kids!)

    Devil's advocate strikes back!

    In all honesty, this was probably a really good ego boost for a kid who probably needed it to feel on par with his peers. That little piece of "belonging" can go a long way.

  • Kelly Miller

    We haven't broached sex yet. This entire weekend was spent with him being immature and impulsive. It's hard to reconcile the child he is with the tween/teen he is becoming.

    It's on the radar, though. I hope we all survive it.

  • Jami

    I love the big cupcake. I have one too. And I hate the sex talk stuff. Even just the getting into girl thing....I am still not ready. Mine are 9 and 10 now. NOT READY. :) Sweet post.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    what a lovely post, kelly!

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