This year has been quite a learning journey for me; I have the opportunity to interact briefly with 7 year-olds, offering me a little insight into what Matthew can develop into in less than a year’s time.
I am then presented with another opportunity to interact and watch tweens in action! It is truly an eye-opener, and a great way to be spending my time.
So many developmental milestones lie ahead, as I daydream about my kids grow from little kids as they are now, to tweens. And what huge differences there are within the tween age group too!
The most striking developmental leap between ages is from 11 to 12 years old.
Appearance wise, I could tell the 12 year-olds from the rest straight away; the girls tower over my seated self, and the boys have more maturity in their demeanor, compared to their juniors. The girls are less carefree compared to their juniors; awkwardness and uncertainty are mirrored in their eyes. The boys are more confident compared to the girls; they challenge one another, and the fierce need to win is reflected in their gleaming eyes.
But oh, some of these boys are cheeky! A group of 12 year-old boys rushed toward the table I was seated at, and a taller one just missed banging into the corner of the table. “Be careful!” I said, concerned. “Ouch, my balls!” he exclaimed loudly, causing me to look up again. He then gave me a lop-sided grin, actually proud of what he said. “Oh yes, THEY are very precious!” I replied, giving him a knowing-look. He grinned widely.
Another called me “Auntie!!” very loudly, the moment he was in the door. I was quite taken aback, never imagining I could be called that, by a 12 year-old! Yes, I do have an 18 year-old nephew but he doesn’t call me Auntie, and I am used to little kids calling me Auntie, I just didn’t think a 12 year-old could call me that too. “Why do you call me Auntie?” I asked in a vain bid to bandish the word “OLD” in bold and neon colours flashing in my head.
“Call her JieJie (Elder Sister) lah!” the offending boy’s friend said. “No! You should call her 美女! (pretty girl)”, another boy said with the cockiness of an ah Beng. I was shocked; given my next to nil interaction with 12 year-olds till now, I just couldn’t imagine I am witnessing this.
Recovering my wits and embarrassment, I said “Woah, you have such a, a sweet tongue!” “Thank you! My mum also tells me the same thing!”, he replied with the same cocky smile. (Thanks, I’m now your mum… but I wouldn’t really mind if I was my age now and my son is already his age.)
These boys and girls are generally well-behaved too, except for this boy who keeps exclaiming “Shit!” everytime the ball missed the table. Well, at least I haven’t heard “f**k” as I am half expecting from the older boys and girls.
I was commenting that these kids are well-behaved and not as rowdy as I imagined, when my bubble burst. “Oh, those here are the more well-behaved ones. The wild ones are downstairs.”
So much for imagining the rose-tinted, well-behaved world my kids will be entering into. It’s going to be a jungle out there!