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By Fatima Kazee, mum to a professor, a super hero and ‎a little princess.  Part-time wife to a fanatical fisherman. She’s addicted to sneakers, anything chocolatey &  is an invaluable member of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.

And so it has arrived… the year my son becomes a teenager.  Looking back to the time he was born, I remember how so many parents were willing to give me all kinds of advice about having a baby.  (Some not so welcomed but taken nonetheless)  But as they get older and reach different phases of their lives (and mine), it seems the advice runs drier.  Grandparents often tell stories about when we were their age but times are so different that it’s as though we’re dealing with a new species of human.

Here are 10 traits I have observed that future parents of teenagers can look out for.

1. They sweat. A lot. Perspire is a soft word in these circumstances. Luckily they also become very aware of self suddenly so that we have an array of deodorants and “anti-sweats” to spray around the house and car as well.

2. Included in this sudden awareness is the need to shower a few times a day. Thankfully we aren’t in Cape Town so it’s OK but I do have to keep knocking to remind him of his time limit.  Every day! (short term memory it seems).

3. We can no longer get away with kiddies meals when we eat out. In fact we’ve cut down on eating out so that we can still save for our retirement.  It’s no longer a kilo of chicken per meal at home either.  This child is always hungry and eats like a full grown bear.

4. I recall buying him a size 7 soccer boot at the beginning of last year. We are now onto a size 9 and those 7’s are pretty brand new still.  I’m hoping his feet don’t grow much more otherwise we’d be able to sail around the world in them… as a family.

5. He gets quite emotional about insignificant things. Like unpacking the dishwasher.  “Why do I always have to do it?” – With actual tears in his eyes.  Or the fact that there’s no ice-cream in the house.  “Why is it that when I want something it’s always finished?  Who eats all the ice-cream all the time!?” – With actual tears in his eyes.

6. He’s got a voice.  Like a sometimes high pitched, sometimes ‘husky’ voice.  “Mama, please test me on my science work”  Sounded like Don Corleone asking for my help.

7. He forgets and loses stuff all the time. His lunch box, his school jacket, his socks.  How do you lose socks!?  And I can’t threaten to not give him lunch anymore; he may just eat a classmate.

8. He usually hates shopping but if it’s for something for him, he’ll have us all reaching our step targets for the month… in a day. Brand names are also a thing now and although we try not to indulge him too much, I find that factory store sales are awesome.  Not normal factory store prices, don’t make that mistake.  Only sales especially since that t-shirt will be too small in 3 weeks’ time.

9. Luckily we have a brother to pass things on to so that helps. What doesn’t help is the constant bickering, arguing, slapping, fighting and ‘dissing’ each other.  I mean who really cares if dabbing is lame in 2018, an argument about it is so pointless! In fact I remember when my second son was born, a year and 9 months after the first, and other mums would reassure me that they’d be best friends when they’re older. When guys, when?

10. He has a phone now on weekends and when he has it, you will not get a word in with him. The house could be on fire and he wouldn’t even flinch.  Unless his xBox was burning, then I think he’d risk his life to save it.

There are so many other teenage traits that I know are normal and that have me cringing when I think about them.  I mean, he’s my baby boy and always will be.  He’s grown into a confident young man with a lovely sense of humour.  I’m glad now that I had him young, I think I’m still cool enough to be hugged before school and that we can chat about cars, Masterchef and soccer.   Wish me luck though for when those interests change and for those awkward moments as I have no idea how I’m going to deal with them!

Click here to find life skills/therapy for teens in Gauteng and here for KZN.

Click here to find parties for teens and tweens in Gauteng and here in KZN.

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