Pepper NomNom

My 7 month old daughter is at the stage where she thinks holding a piece of broccoli or red pepper in her hand and moving it to her mouth is the most fascinating thing in the world. Her eyes widen like a butterfly taking flight. She shakily grips the vegetable I give her like a knight taking his first sword.

My 4 year old is at this weird stage where he asks copious amounts of questions whose answers are evident. Just listen to my voice, I want to play with words like they are a musical instrument. That’s what I think he is thinking. At times it is annoying like a bad pop song, but it’s equally hilarious.

My 8 year old is in many fascinating stages. One of my favourites (and one I secretly encouraged) is the comic book stage. As a kid myself, I inhaled comics. Watching Yumi munch through them like a termite has been delightful. I can’t help but get giddy about it.

What I find so funny about these periods in their lives is the way it’s obvious they will outgrow them. Lucy will soon find the act of holding broccoli completely ordinary; Jackson will stop sounding like a walking Dora question machine; and Yumi will likely not find time to read her manga.

As a teacher of 13 year olds, I encounter a relatively mercurial and mysterious group of students. The mood swings, the seemingly random bouts of misbehaviour, the quiet anger. The changes they have gone through this school year are startling when you really break it down. It’s no wonder vampire novels touch such a chord; they’re wonderful monsters themselves, trying to make meaning of new found power, weakness, and complexity.

Some are to be savoured, while others endured, but all of life’s stages have their meaning and value.



  1. I’m glad to know that my four year-old’s incessant questions aren’t the only ones to annoy. But I do agree. All stages of learning during all stages of life are necessary, regardless of what others may perceive them as. I will be honest, I do get frustrated with the quirks of my 5th graders and I often lose patience with my children’s never-ending questions upon questions upon questions upon questions. A good reflection though. It helps to see others’ perspectives and know I’m not alone.

  2. Hey Royan,

    What a thoughtful post – I also work in the classroom with 13 year olds, so I can appreciate the many stages those kiddos go through. What an important reminder in your final line about stages: “Some are to be savoured, while others endured, but all of life’s stages have their meaning and value.”

    I love how you often link the personal and professional in your posts, by the way. Nicely done.


  3. Wow Royan! What a wonderful post. I think of the students that I teach (Grades 1/2), the students in our reading buddy class (Grade 4), and the students that often help around the school (Grade 8), and the various stages that each of them go through. It’s great to think about how each of them learn, grow, and change.


  4. Royan,
    Nicely worded post. You have a lovely style. I too am a teacher of junior highers. I have 7th and 8th graders, ages 12-14. Some are even driving to school at age 14. Yikes!

    I like the way you connect the young teens’ love for vampire books with their own wonderful monster personas–“trying to make meaning of new found power, weakness, and complexity.”

    My own children are 19 and 22, and they are home for the summer. We are navigating whole new stages now as four adults live together again for the first time in awhile. Always something new!

    Keep up the beautiful writing,

  5. My older child is the perfect example of a tween – cuddling and crying one minute, screaming in a fury the next. It’s the most fascinating thing I’ve ever witnessed. This may be because I’ve taught all grades K-12 and I enjoy children of all ages – I say this because my husband is not fascinated, and is struggling to figure out who our son is at any moment in time. Yes, savour and endure, and above all else, let them know (at the end of the screaming or the crying or whatever emotion they’re caught up in) that you still care about them and value them as a person.

    Nice post! Enjoyable writing style!

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