J went to give 7yo kiss goodbye as he dropped at school this morning 7yo:”Eew. No Dad! No kiss it’s not cool!” Aww. A rubicon is crossed!
In a very little while our son will be eight. It doesn't seem possible.
Where did the little boy go? The one who was smaller then than our three year old daughter is now. The one who joined our family, it seems incredulous to say it, five! Yes FIVE. Years ago?
The cheeky little boy has been replaced by an increasingly gangly child. One who pushes against boundaries. Can see the currently forbidden fruit of teenager-hood just over the horizon. Who is desperate to experience the tantalising independence adolescence will bring.
And there are we, attempting to hold him back. Trying desperately to get him to hold on to his childhood for just a few more years. Failing miserably in our assurances that being a kid is so much more fun. Rather like the No campaign in the Scottish Independence Referendum, failing to articulate a good reason why the status quo really is the best option.
So therefore it came as no surprise yesterday morning that we found ourselves crossing another rubicon on our son's journey to being a young adult.
Dropping him at school J went to kiss our little boy goodbye, as he always does.
"No, Dad!" Our son whispered through clenched teeth. "Not cool!"
J, slightly taken aback, stood back and waved goodbye nonchalantly as our son ran into class.
Telling me the story last night I asked our son about it. "I'm too old to be kissed now," he said firmly.
"No you're not," I replied. "You're my little boy and you're never too old to be kissed!" Added as I began to chase him around the kitchen table. "Get lost, Freak!" he said laughing and disappeared upstairs.
"I'm kissing you goodbye tomorrow," I shouted after him.
"Oh no you're not!" replied his disembodied voice.
"Oh yes I am," I answered. Eyes narrowing.
"I know that look," said J. "Be kind!"
"What do you mean?" I said innocently, "I'm always kind!"
So this morning arriving at school our son began to head away across the playground as soon as we were through the gate.
"Ahem," I cleared my throat. "You're forgetting something!" And puckered.
"Eew! No!" Our son replied.
A couple of nearby Mums began to take an interest in the conversation.
"Here!" I said pointing to the ground in front of where I was standing with our daughter. "Give Daddy a nice kiss goodbye."
"No! I'll see you this afternoon," our son replied and began to walk towards the school entrance.
He only realised I was moving when I had covered at least half the ground between us. Catching him he received a big, sloppy kiss on his head and another on his cheek. "Aargh! Get off me," was the muffled response.
By now his sister had caught up with him too and added her kisses to his chest.
The assembled playground Mums laughed. "Bye, we love you, see you later," I called after our quickly retreating son.
"I can't wait until I'm eighteen and I can move out. You're mad!" Our little boy called back, laughing.
"Going to let me give you a nice kiss on the head tomorrow?" I called after him.
He turned and smiled, the blush vivid on his face. "OK, if you insist," he replied.
Another small step back to counter our son's three forwards as he runs headlong away from childhood. One, I feel, that's worth fighting for.