On a ride with my son

All this week, my daughter was scheduled for Zoo Camp. My son didn't have anything scheduled.

I had to work, and my mom was willing to have him stay for four days.

Got him back Thursday night, and wasn't sure what to do. Then decided to cut work and spend Friday with just him.

He's 11, and signs are accruing that puberty encroaches. Height increasing. Closes the door to his room a lot. More guarded about changing his clothes, bathing, growing sense of privacy.

We dropped his sister off at Zoo Camp, then strolled around the Zoo for several hours. I gave him the map and let him navigate. We weren't in a hurry.

We boarded the Zoo Train (I hadn't been on for a decade or so) and I noticed dark hairs on his legs. I said (quietly) "You're growing up. Your leg hairs are darker." "Not as dark as yours" "You're getting there, though. It's good to see you growing up." He smiled. We talked about growing up and being able to drive, and going to college, and other milestones only 5-7 years away.

See the bag of green candy? Sour Skittles. He was MISERLY with them. I only got four, once he gave me three. A second time, one. He worked on that regular-size bag for about two hours. Hope he holds to that Golden Mean.

From the Zoo we went downtown. I let him pick lunch (noodles), and we went for ice cream. We read for about an hour and a half in the library (Me - reading on an artwork to write about, J - Fellowship of the Ring). Then he wanted to see if there were books on martial arts. I made him ask at the information desk and he was directed to a shelf of them. After about 20 minutes of browsing, he picked one. Checked it out, we were on our way.

Outside of the library, he asked me what sixth, seventh, and eighth grades were like for me. I told him they were tough for almost everybody. Puberty, confusion, frustration, kids getting more concerned about the body changes and new feelings, and not as attuned to the feelings and needs of others. I also mentioned around 6th grade is when my parents divorced. He listened thoughtfully. I told him he would someday go through those body and feeling changes, and I said I hoped he would come to us with any questions. "I will probably come to you, " he said, "as it'll be about boy and man changes."

Took the light rail back to the Zoo, then sat in the cafeteria and read some more. All four of us met there after my daughter's Zoo Camp was finished.

Throughout the day, he ran his arm around mine and we walked together arm-in-arm. He said "I don't feel like holding your hand much anymore, but I do feel like doing this." I nodded, absorbing the moments.

Later at night, he was speaking with his mom about cell phones. One of his friends recently got one. He wants one, too. "Other kids in class have them, too." My wife asked: "Do you want one for talking with them?" "No, only my friends." "Don't you mean the kids in your class?" "No, I'm not friends with EVERYone in my class."

Then she discovered he was only friends with the boys in his class. She observed: "That will probably change."

"Yeah." He guessed around age 13 he would use the phone to talk with girls. Then around 17 he would be old enough to drive, and then use his phone and car to go pick the girls up.

My man.