No one Warned me About 9

My 9 year old can crack some good jokes. Hes got a beautiful little heart.

He can hold a decent conversation with other adults and enjoys a good chat. Hes very worldly for his age.

He respects his elders, he uses his manners and hes polite. Hes “a pleasure” according to other parents. Hes clever – he knows a lot about stuff that I don’t. He does well in school, he doesn’t mind a challenge and I’m very proud of him.

I know that deep down, he is a great kid and I know that reminding myself of that daily is going to help get me through this year because my 9 year old is also a real dick sometimes.

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No one told me about 9.

When I got pregnant, people told me it would be tough.

‘you’ll be sick” they said “and soon enough you won’t recognise your body and it won’t be the same afterwards”

They told me my newborn wouldn’t sleep, my toddler would be a fussy eater and to watch out for those terrible twos.

They told me my 3 year old would wreck my house and that when they start school, I should be prepared for new behaviours and a whole lot of colourful language.

I was warned about those teenage years and told to hold my baby as much as I could because when he turns 13 he won’t want to know me.

I was told 15 would be terrifying and by 18 I would have to relinquish all control whether I was ready to or not.

But no one told me about 9.

No one warned me about the way 9 would look at me when he didn’t get his way.

Or that I would spend so much time feeling hurt by their ability to make me feel guilty about that.

I didn’t know 9 would be so dramatic or get so angry or irrational.

I wasn’t aware 9 would start slamming doors and not bothering to use manners.

I didn’t know that I would start getting the blame for everything.

Im kind of tough, I honestly never thought I would feel like I had nothing to bargain with – like punishments and consequences were irrelevant because nothing works because he just doesn’t seem to give a shit.

If we have a conversation about his behaviour he will tell me he gets it, he tell me hes sorry and then as soon as i’m out the door its forgotten and he wonders why I get so mad the next time.

I didn’t know 9 would argue this way or roll their eyes like that or be so damn lazy when it comes to doing the things they know they’re meant to.

The lack of respect shocked me. I thought that 9 would know better.

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I never knew I would have to repeat myself so much or that they would demand so much independence for people who can’t be bothered to change the toilet roll

I wasn’t prepared for the attitude and the guilt trips that come with being a 9 year old and I didn’t know I would spend so much of this year wondering where I went wrong, how I could fix it and worrying about what was to come.

I didn’t know I would still be “talking it out” with other mums at this age – grasping for answers or some trick to make it all easier but i’m so glad its not just me.

I just wasn’t prepared for this to be a difficult age. I thought I had more time.

When he wants to be, when the stars align and the wind is blowing in the right direction and the temperature is just so – he can be spectacular. Outstanding. Magnificent. The best company. I live for these moments. We have alot of fun and I try, I really try, but so often I genuinely feel like he is more focused on making things difficult than getting along. I hope those fleeting moments are a sign of things to come because mostly, this year, I’ve felt stressed out and defeated. I’ve felt like nothing is good enough and I feel a bit stupid for admitting that because, hes only 9.

Out of all of the ages, stages and phases –  I have found 9 to be the most challenging to date.

I know that my baby is starting to pull away from me. I know he is growing and changing but he still asks to sleep with the light on, still gets caught up in Christmas magic, still makes mud pies and I’m struggling to figure out where that leaves me when he doesn’t seem to want me but he still very much needs me.

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