If I didn't know better, I'd honestly wonder about M1 lately. I've heard other moms talk about the moodiness that can accompany the advent of hormones, and since I remember my teenage years I really had believed them, but in parenting you never really know anything until you experience it for yourself.
A few weeks ago, M1 stormed down the hall and hollered back at me, "YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!!!"
If this had come out of M2's mouth, I wouldn't have blinked, but since it came out of M1, it was a bit surprising.
With the attitude has also come the boredom. It's very specific boredom, too - the kind of boredom that can only be alleviated by certain activities... specifically, watching TV or playing on the computer. It most definitely can't be helped by doing chores (heaven help the person who even thinks about bringing that up as an option) or playing with siblings, and using his imagination is also deemed 'babyish.' While he's never been the type to spend a lot of time using his imagination in play, he used to enjoy playing campground with his sister in the hallway. Now, everything depends on his mood.
This isn't to say he can't be pleasant, of course. He can be. The other night he crawled onto my lap, snuggled up, and begged to be cuddled. Cuddling a roughly 5'2", 90-something-pound 9 1/2-year-old is not easy, but I'll be damned if I'm going to say no to my boy when he asks to be treated like a wee baby instead of a young man.
He had been keeping his attitude problems private; however, these issues are slowly but surely becoming public as well as private. He snarled at me during a family barbecue last Sunday, which earned him a quick pop back into reality, and today when we went to a birthday party for one of M2's little girlfriends, the boredom and attitude combined. Within five minutes, he had parked himself at my shoulder and declared himself all done. When I separated him to talk about some ideas about what to do, all he really wanted to do was whine. The birthday girl's dad heard me and came over to investigate. He came up with several activity ideas, all of which M1 rejected.
I smiled at the dad's frustration. "It's okay," I assured him. "It's just that he's 9 and bound and determined to be bored and drag the rest of us down with him. I ruin his life on a regular basis these days."
The dad nodded and smiled back, only slightly reassured, before he left me to deal with M1 on my own. It took a little bit, but after a while, M1 did snap out of it and actually participated in the party, playing with some of the girls and the other two boys present.
This whole back and forth thing is disconcerting, but I guess it's better than a total swap all at once. A slow transition is definitely better. Teen years, here we come!