I am now at a stage where I get stricter by the day. My son, Rovik, on the other hand, is at a stage where he starts to try dipping his feet on stuff tweens get themselves into. I will point out 11 things that stand out:

1. His taste for clothes has changed! He no longer wants to wear shirts with cartoon character. He has also started to whine over wearing the same type of shirt as his younger brother’s.Where before, he used to be delighted when Mom dressed him up like a twin of his younger bro, it is now a taboo to him, “Mommy, I don’t like to wear uniform shirt with Orvik, ha?”

2. He has bought two tubes of hair-styling gel from Bench in just a month. He doesn’t go out without his top looking like the plates of a Stegosaurus –standing stiff and ready to pierce anything that gets in its way.

3. When we go the mall, he is drawn to the high-end shops of Crocs, and Haviannas while I cringe and bite my tongue (to prevent it from cursing) every time I flip open the price tags. (One time, I saw a pair of flip flops for P2,500.00, making my blood boil that I almost slapped the sales lady’s face (poor girl!) had sanity not intervened.)

4. He’s in danger of being lured by the deceptions of product branding. He drools over pricey items when his empty wallet cries for a fill.

5. His pouting gets frequent. When I look at him making a long face, I remember the yellow Edmark steamer whose long, pointed nozzle could make an M-16 armalite shrink in shame. I am tempted at times to hang in his spout the poopish-colored Prada bag (as in Pradak of China) handed down by his Tita.

6. He’s a sucker for soccer. After clinching three gold medals in the swimming event in the Pasig city division meet, he took a side turn and started to go gaga over the newest sport sensation in the country. Recently, he managed to convince Dad to buy him an Adidas soccer ball. Now, he wants a new pair of soccer shoes as his old pair was left in Singapore when we returned to the Philippines in March 2010.

7. He is now into men’s colognes. He has been begging Dad to buy him deocologne for men despite my discouragement that it smelled of armpit. He recently got what he wanted.

8. He gets accusative at times, reminding me of some of the things I did when I lost my temper with him. He said, once, I threatened him that I would make him eat the paper containing the home school rules he had to abide by, if he did not follow. Honestly, I don’t remember at all having done that (Was I that mean?). May be I did. When I lose my temper, (which happens rarely) reason takes a backseat. I sometimes think I have the capacity to go berserk and, in mad rush, do a Rambo against anyone who’d snap the chord of sanity out of me. However, I don’t let a day pass by without letting the steam cool down, until things are light and airy.

9. On a positive note, he is getting more responsible as days go by. He gets to wash his own clothes (so he’ll think twice before changing clothes two to three times a day), clean the dishes, mop the bedroom floor (I just get pissed off at times when even at midnight, he mops the floor), and fix the bedding. Dad even commented Rovik is now qualified to receive an NCII certification for housekeeping services. He also takes care of his younger brother whenever Dad and Mom are not around. (He nonetheless relishes on teasing and provoking the little man to tears.)

10. He loves spending time in front of his notebook watching you tube videos of Bill Nye, the Science Guy; chatting with friends on Facebook; writing his contributions to the Junior Inquirer; and tinkering with Flash animations.

11. He is a chicken lad. He loves KFC, Jollibee and McDonalds to bits. I guess I need to monitor his fastfood intake lest he starts to cackle these days.

My conclusion? My once chubby baby who clung to Dad and Mom like there was no tomorrow, believed and obeyed our words, and followed our every step and turn, is now on the verge of flapping his own wings. Not that it’s a cause for concern. After all, our role as parents is precisely to guide our kids toward maturity and independence. Hubby dear has always emphasized that we should look at our kids as future husbands and fathers, and that our role is to prepare them spiritually, emotionally, and physically to tackle their future roles.

On hind sight, there’s still a lot of fine tuning to do with the first born.