I have this hypothesis -- after having spent many hours interacting with boys at son's school as PTA member/secretary/chairperson -- that boys undergo a 'silly stage' at ages about nine to eleven.
And then as they edge towards 12 and 13 they suddenly learn responsibility, it seems, and become very sensible, thoughtful, and for most at his school, polite.
This is why I think it is better to transfer boys to senior/secondary schools at 13 rather than 11. The extra two years, as the teachers in his school tell me, make such a difference.
When son tells us the jokes that his History teacher tells, for example, and how the boys laugh, I said, "Yes, he's a 9-11 boy."
He laughs at the most silly things, banal jokes and is repetitive to the point of tedium at times. But what is familiar is also comforting. He seems a bundle of contradictions.
Sometimes he loses sleep over the credit crunch and was once found in tears before bed worrying about the world economy, war, etc. Yet he still enjoys Spongebob Squarepants. Right now he's watching -- again -- Indiana Jones, chuckling over the funnies, commentating on the action, and hiding behind cushions when it gets gory.
Then he goes mad over a helium balloon. When we were on holiday he pestered his dad to buy him his first beach ball. (We didn't notice that he's never been given a beach ball as he had all kinds of floats and stuff for use prior to this. A beach ball was what he really, really wanted.)
Thankfully he is still very, very sensible despite being 9-11. He's learning to be very helpful especially after dinner when he helps to clear the dining table. He looks after himself more and more and I am really pleased. I do not wish to mollycoddle him.
He also has this 9-year-old tendency to burp loudly.
Is there anything physiological in this? Someone please tell me.
I remember my nephew who at about eight and nine also used to burp rather frequently and loudly. His visits to us were memorable by the number of times he went, "Pardon me."
Ah, but at least he was polite enough to say that.
My son? He's usually OK, but sometimes he is so comfortable with us his parents he does not remember his manners. Reminding him to form a good H-A-B-IT is another important task.
I don't think parents can ignore the relationship between the physiological and the emotional.
I remember that face when he first sat up (propped up, actually) at four months. Suddenly it seemed he could see so much further and so much more. Life is a bit more than the lights on the ceiling and the stuff that hang from the cot, etc.
As he matures physically, as he is able to handle more practical tasks, he also needs to mature emotionally and learn to use those practical abilities.
I mean what use is a nine-year-old who could handle a sharp knife if mum does all the cooking for him?
After dinner tonight husband said "He is growing up" and it makes him feel old.
I said we must learn to live with it. I anticipate missing him a lot when he goes to boarding school (should he decide to go to boarding school), but that's what I need to get used to. Eventually he would have to leave home.
There comes a time when every parent has to let go. And as I say to my Christian friends we have to "let go and let God".