03.01.09

When Did My 13-Year-Old Son Become a 'Player?'

My Son Peik refused to leave the safety of his stroller in the park when he was little. How did he come to be the one roaming New York City with a girl on his arm?

My son Peik refused to leave the safety of his stroller in the park when he was little. How did he come to be the one roaming New York City with a girl on his arm?

Of all my children I never would have pegged my thirteen-year-old son, Peik, to be a player, and certainly not so soon. He comes from a line of late bloomers. I was too busy drawing or sewing to notice there were boys in the room until I was seventeen, and the fact that I resembled Olive Oil, complete with the disproportionally big feet, didn’t have the boys waving their arms to catch my attention. When I found my husband hiding behind a dusty piece of furniture in his office, he was fifty years old and had never been married, the ultimate slow starter.

I’m just having trouble understanding how the little boy who hid between my legs underneath my skirt became interested in someone else’s skirt.

If my six year old had started chatting online with girls and setting up dates tomorrow I wouldn’t be surprised. At four years old Pierson announced, “My face is my fortune” and carefully began choosing his school wardrobe because he said it was important to look “sexy.” But Peik was never that kind. He was a shy and apprehensive boy who refused to leave the safety of his stroller in the park. I had to sit in the library well into January when he started preschool, because he would cry if he realized I wasn’t on the premises. How did he come to be the one roaming New York City with a girl on his arm?

Of all the boys in the house, I’m not sure how he became the stud with his choice of babes. Peik’s computer sits next to mine so I have seen the technique he uses to lure in the next date.

Peik: movee?

Girl: k

Peik: sat?

Girl: k

Peik: lol c u

It is certainly not his flowery prose that is charming the girls. Nor can it be his academic standing. While he is perfectly willing to work during school, his workday ends when the bell rings and his grades suffer from his lack of carry through. His athletic prowess? No, he is more the rocker type; the pasty colored one with slumpy posture in the black skinny jeans with calloused fingers from playing guitar. His handsome face? Perhaps when he grows into those huge teeth and gets that hair out of his eyes. He does have a sense of humor, but so warped is it from too much South Park, I can’t imagine any girl could relate.

It’s not that I worry anything bad is happening. New York City is a great place to raise teens. It may seem like the big bad city but it’s hard for them to get into too much trouble here. They travel in packs, tend to hang out in public places, and best of all, kids here don’t drive.

I realize this has all the signs of a mother lamenting the inevitable independence of her child, grieving the needy toddler so reliant on her. But I swear, it’s not. I have six children; I’ve been through this before with no problem. My daughter is twenty and has been away at college for three years now. There are four more after Peik, so I still have plenty of preschool graduations, Holiday sing-a-longs, and field trips to the circus coming my way. If you see me misty eyed at a promotion ceremony from kindergarten to first grade, it’s probably because I have to be there. I’m just having trouble understanding how the little boy who hid between my legs underneath my skirt became interested in someone else’s skirt.

Laura Bennett was trained as an architect but has since established her career as a fashion designer by becoming a finalist on Season 3 of the Bravo hit television series Project Runway . Bennett lives amid complete chaos in New York City with her husband and six children, Cleo, 20, Peik, 13, Truman, 10, Pierson, 6, Larson, 5, and Finn, 2.