YK has been returning to his old school this week to watch over the younger boys in the beach cleaning exercise. "These secondary one boys are so enthusiastic, they're picking up rubbish like treasures. And they're so territorial, they even fight over trash like That's mine, I saw it first!"
"They're barely 13 years old afterall. You were once like that too." I reminded him.
"Nooo, never! Our school is wise to milk their enthusiasm while they're still young. By the time they turn 15, it's hard to get them to do anything!" Says YK, speaking from experience.
As a parent, I've watched the kids transform slowly from Energiser bunnies (chasing butterflies and grasshoppers for hours and hours) into noctournal creatures who stay up all night listening to music.
I remember their primary school days where I would get a splitting headache standing at the foyer amongst hundreds of little school boys scurrying around like wombats. The discipline master had a tough job keeping these energetic kids under control.
By the time they progress to secondary school, it's a totally different story. They hang around in groups, walk slowy and act cool. Image is everything. They do imaginative things with the standard school uniform to stand out from the crowd. Skirts become shorter, pants narrower and hair teased in a multitude of styles.
Whilst it is interesting to watch them go through the different phases of growth, we parents transform along with them too.
My maternal instincts developed only after I had kids. Prior to that, I had never held a baby in my life. When my kids were born, I instinctively knew how to care for them. In fact I enjoyed motherhood so much that they were joined at my hip, the stroller became a white elephant.
From little babies, they grew into active boys. I still wonder where I found all that energy to bring them to the park, beach and pool every weekend. I learned so much during their growing up years. I read nursery rhymes, all about dinosaurs and sea creatures (bet you don't know what Humu Humu Nuku Nuku apua a is!) and watched Land Before Time a million times. Bush Vark's First Day Out was their all-time favourite book. (Never knew such animals - bush pigs- existed)
When they were on the cusp of teenagehood, I learned to cope with their tandrums and mood swings. Thank goodness that phase flew by very quickly. Now that they're mellow and grown up, I'm learning to treat them like friends.
See, parents go through phases too.