Holy Sh*t, My Kid's A Tween Overnight

All of a sudden, my 9 year old has become a full-on tween.

A young boy runs against a warm blue sky. A back point of view with oy running away from camera into...
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Look, I know I had it pretty good for a long stretch. I get it. But all of a sudden, my snuggly kid has become a tweenager. And I was completely not ready for it.

I won’t sugarcoat it: He did sleep in our bed pretty much every night since COVID began. It started as a coping mechanism, one my husband and I were both fine with because we could see his anxiety creep up at night. His younger brother will gladly sleep in his own bed, but inevitably makes his way to ours in the middle of the night. It was comforting for all of us to be close these last few years.

Fast forward nearly three years, though, and my back is out of whack and I haven’t slept soundly since... well, since I was pregnant with him in 2012, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s true, I have been complaining about us all being crowded together at night a lot lately. We’re in our 40s now, and sleep is a precious commodity. But I really didn’t anticipate what happened over the past 72 hours in my house.

Friday, October 28th: We all sleep in bed together. Saturday, October 29th: My 9-year-old asks me to sleep in his bed with him that night. Fine. After all, his mattress is softer than mine and I’m happy to oblige a snuggle. Sunday, October 30th: He puts himself to sleep in his own room. Last night, and this could be the long night of running around trick or treating talking, he did the same.

WTF is happening? I thought to myself as I lay in my bed one room over.

This morning, he closed the bathroom door when he brushed his teeth. I knocked and when I opened the door I saw him combing his hair. “What’s going on?” I asked him, innocently. “You’re sleeping alone all of a sudden. Did your friends say something to you?” “No,” he replied. “I just wanted to try it.”

There was no smirk; no tell he conveyed. He then walked into his room to get dressed, and shut the door behind him.

All of a sudden I saw a flash forward to five or six years from now, when he’s a full-blown teenager and probably has terrible acne and permanently smells like his just-practiced-in soccer shin guards. There he is, still primping his hair in the mirror before heading to school in his sweatshirt and shorts. Time is fleeting.

Friends, I am wholly unprepared. I definitely took the nighttime snuggles for granted — it is, after all, practically the only time he’ll already show me any physical affection. But I’m also baffled by the light switch-like change. And it’s true: so much about children’s behavior changes in an instant.

And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to have (part of, my 6-year-old does still come bounding in) my side of the bed back. And wouldn’t even say I long for the days of bed-sharing. Perhaps the anxiety of COVID has receded in his brain, so he’s moving on? Perhaps he sees how his other friends are at their homes and wants to replicate it? I’m all for growth.

But damn. This was fast.

Kate is the Editor-in-Chief at Scary Mommy, helping to bring the stories you know and love to you daily. Before joining BDG, Kate spent 11 years at HuffPost, most recently serving as the Senior Editor for Parenting and Culture, overseeing all parenting and streaming coverage. She has also worked at WSJ. Magazine, House & Garden and InStyle. She’s a native New Yorker and a graduate of Davidson College. She lives in Westchester with her husband, two boys and new puppy (send help!).