Last night, Friday night, a night that is often a night of celebration - where there's no work for a couple of days, no homework, a break - my eleven-year-old asked me if he could go to the mall with his friends (in particular, a girl who's in eighth grade in comparison to his sixth). I slammed shut the door on that possibility without any hesitation.
"No, you're too young."
Woweeeeee...whining and upset followed. I explained he can go to the mall when accompanied by parents, parents we know. Us. But unfortunately, being that I was feeling (and still am) under the weather with a cold-gone-wild and his father had long settled into the couch for a relaxing tour of the television's line-up, we had no intention of hanging out at any mall.
More whining ensued, yelling that we never let him go anywhere, impassioned claims that we "don't trust" him! To which I couldn't help but laugh because everyone knows it's not that we don't "trust" the eleven-year-old but that we don't trust all the child killers who stalk the malls on Friday nights and are just waiting at every Hot Topic store and dank bathroom hallways for yummy, vulnerable eleven-year-old prey.
So the six o'clock hour stretched into seven with J on the phone, then eight rolled around, and near eight-thirty he stumbled into our room and said in the sleepiest voice, "I'm going to bed, mama."
When he collapsed into sleep, along with his brother and sister in their respective beds, I glanced at the clock and saw it was a minute or so to nine.
So much for that party-party night. He's still so little, so young.
"There's plenty of time for all of that, my little chickadee."