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The Nightmarish 9's (or 8 1/2 or maybe even 10!)

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

First of all, I’m sorry. Thoughts and prayers, sorry. It’s going to be ok. Really, they will come back to you, before they hit tween and then teenager land. Let me tell you a story about the first time 9 joined our family. My easy-as-pie first child hit 9 and turned into a nightmare. She argued about literally everything. She was 9 going on 19 and no that is not funny or cute. Having a threenager was hard, but at least they still were round cuddly toddlers. 9 may smell, 9 won’t let you pick out their clothes. 9 is a nightmare. My first 9 year old went from easy-to-please to an irrational, moody, always angry mess. We went to a local family camp weekend that year. I was so happy to see a group of moms there with 12 year olds. All of these moms were a few years older than me and a few phases past me in motherhood. So I asked them, “Is there something special about this age? Is this normal? It’s cool not to want to be near my own kid, right?” Cue some nervous laughter. I guess they forgot about 9. My husband gently told me that maybe I should stop telling total strangers that I was scared of our kid.

But you know what? I’m not going to stop. Humans are complicated. Raising them is the hardest thing we will ever do. I have a Master's in Education and another half a Master's in Social Work and still, 9 brings me to my knees. My 8½ year old has been ornery lately. I thought, well he’s adjusting back to full day school after a year of half days and remote learning. I thought, he’s playing baseball a few days a week. He’s just tired. But you know what, he’s just 9! Early! He is realizing he can fight back or at least try, on every darn thing!! It’s exhausting. It’s annoying. I don’t like it. Sometimes I don’t like him and I think about running away. Which country is allowing Americans in during the pandemic?

But it’s ok. I still love him like crazy. We still have moments where my squishy cuddle monster comes back to me, jumps in my bed to cuddle and tells me I’m the best mom ever. Three minutes later he tells me he hates me because I set a limit on something, but I’ll just let that one roll right off my back and remember it’s not him, it’s just 9.

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