Well, it's official:
Fraser is taller than me.
I've been expecting this for a while but it's still not right. He's only thirteen - I really should have had another year or two before he started to loom over me. What's worse is that I'm nearly six foot three and he's still growing fast. He looms over everyone. Soon he'll have his own weather system.
Luckily, he has the build of a sunflower so I could still take him in a fight but he'd be recovered and making snarky comments on Facebook within minutes. I, meanwhile, would probably need to go and lie down for a bit and then spend the next month limping about, wincing at various melodramatic moments as different parts of my body complained. It won't be long before he physically overtakes me entirely. If we lived in the wild I'd be getting nervous of finding myself on the wrong end of an 'accident' with a horde of stampeding wildebeest, spinning me off the circle of life as it revolves around.
This is just one more symptom of the strange world I live in. My kids are too big and clever for me to treat them completely like children anymore. They want to be treated like grown ups. Sometimes they even act like them. Fraser asked me if I was OK when Marie had one of her meltdowns recently. It was pleasant but kind of weird. He gave the impression of actually showing some concern and empathy.
Then, other times, it feels like I'm still dealing with a house full of pre-schoolers:
Me: We need to go in five minutes.In many ways, the kids are still kids. In others, they're turning into adults. The transition is confusing for all of us and I suspect it's going to last a long time.
Five minutes later...
Me: Time to get your shoes on.
Lewis (accompanied by bleeping noises): Just a minute.
Marie (running upstairs): I need the toilet.
Fraser (half looking up from his iPod as he lounges on the sofa): Nobody said we were going out.
Me: We've got to go to the shops. Get your shoes on.
Lewis: I need to finish my level.
Marie (distantly): ...tinkle, tinkle...
Fraser: Do I have to go?
Me: I gave you all a five minute warning five minutes ago. Why do you think I did that?
Fraser: Force of habit?
I pause to bang my head off a wall. From far away drifts the sound of a nine-year-old girl whistling The A-Team theme tune.
Me: The whole point of a five minute warning is so you know to finish your levels, go to the toilet and/or argue before it's time to go.
Lewis (as if I haven't EVER explained this before): Oh, right...
Me: Come on, Fraser. Get up. Get your shoes on.
Fraser: It's not like the others are ready to put their shoes on.
Me: Lewis is ready.
Lewis: No, I need to go to the toilet.
Fraser (STILL playing his iPod): See!
Me: I don't care, Fraser, I want you to...
Marie (reappearing): Can I take my sewing machine?
Me: To the shops!? No.
Marie (pulling a face): But I really love it. Why can't I take it?
Me: Er... because it's heavy, breakable and not going to come in very handy while buying groceries?
Me (sighing under my breath): Oh, just kill me now...
Fraser (lining up a horde of stampeding wildebeest): OK.
Me: What? No! Arghhhhh...
Trample... Trample... Trample...
Me (limping away, wincing): Never mind. I'll order a home delivery...
I may need to learn to hum Hakuna Matata as a coping mechanism.
Yours (in a world my children are rapidly inheriting),
PS Do you think buying some shoes with really thick soles would help?