Almost thirteen. But not quite.

Boy Wonder: “Ok, so if you have to come get me at the park. . . just, uh, kinda stand on the edge and wait to catch my eye. Ok? Because, waving is so not cool.”

It was bound to happen.  That  magic time-release pill you take when your child is born finally goes off in your body. The child you once had to remind hourly, “I’m not a jungle-gym, stop climbing on me!” now, bats away your public attempts to be affectionate. Overnight you are embarrassing. And really, you are. You’re not cool. Don’t let your fashion forward clothing or taste in Alternative music fool you. You are a mother of a teenager and by definition you are NOT. COOL.

Did I mention that this new change in status comes with a new title too? Oh yea, you’re no longer “MOM!” but “Moooother!” Which is apt. Because, let’s face it,  it’s not your job to be cool. It’s your job to mother and that requires a keen eye at noticing all the newly established and yet completely invisible boundaries your child has constructed overnight:

When you can and cannot give hugs or advice. Hugging only when no one is looking and always at bedtime. NEVER when there is a girl around. Advice only when said child is well fed and there are NO  girls around.

What you can and cannot call him. Only by his given name in public. Pet names at bedtime. Nothing, you don’t know who he is if there is a girl around.

Where and when you can be seen together in public. If you’re buying clothes or food or “extras” your wallet is always welcome and probably your company too.  But, only if, you know, there are no GIRLS around.

Did I mention the new boundaries also come with fully installed land mines? Yeah, one of them is called “Not when there are girls around.” It’s not unrealistic that you will lose a few limbs in this process. Don’t worry, they’ll grow back.

This is toddlerhood on testosterone so tread carefully. Respect is  your best guide, humor your road map. But you can rest easy in one little fact: you are not alone in this. His father took that magic pill too and he wears socks with his sandals.