Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time and the pressure of growing up

I gave my ten-year-old a digital alarm clock for his birthday last fall (along with a handful of other, more exciting gifts) and when he opened the clock, he went unusually quiet. I said if he didn't like it maybe we could get him a talking clock instead (no response) or one with a helicopter that lifts off and flies around the room and beeps when the alarm goes off? (No reaction to this, either).

We had company and he quietly asked if he could speak to me in dining room (a sure sign we were about to discuss something private). "What's wrong?" I asked. "You don't like the clock?"

"It's not that, Mom," he replied. "I'm just not ready!"

"Ready for what?"

"For the responsibility," he said. "First I have to set it and then if the power goes out I have to re-set it, and when the alarm goes off I need to get up right away and get dressed so I don't miss the bus. I like how it is now, how you wake me up and how you take care of all those things."

"Fair enough," I said. "But at some point you have to grow up and be more responsible. I just thought an alarm clock might be a good way to start."

"It's not," he said. "I don't need the extra pressure right now, okay? I'm not saying you're old, Mom, but you don't know how hard it is being a kid today. Clocks are not our friends!"

P.S. I'm posting this now because last night he took it out, plugged it in, and set it for the first time. "Think you're ready?" I asked, to which he replied (after a dramatic sigh), "Mom, you've really gotta stop babying me. I'm gonna be eleven soon!"