30/03/2011 07:38 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

My Cute Toddler Is A Teenager: The Imperfect Parent

teenagers So, my boy is now officially a teenager. After weeks of parties, first him and his pals, then the traditional family tea (cake, pressies, game-playing that gets ever more raucous as the wine flows) and finally the actual day itself, yesterday, when I went for dinner with Ben and his mum, he is a kid no longer.

And it's got me thinking, as these transitions do, about all sorts of stuff: the fact that we're all getting older (if having a teenage son doesn't make you feel middle-aged, I don't know what does); how well Ben's mum and I got on during this birthday period, despite our many ups and downs over the years. Maintaining a good relationship with your ex is one of the hardest things about co-parenting, so I'm proud of us.

But mostly I've been thinking about Ben, and how that chunky little toddler turned into this long, lean, skater dude. Sometimes I look at him sprawled out on my sofa and think, 'He's huge! How on earth did he get so damn big?'

Because in my mind Ben's still about three, chasing pigeons around the playground in his sweet little sandals, hair all tufty and face chocolately, wanting to spend all day on the swings (I swear, if that boy could've lived on a swing he would have).

There are so many great stories from when Ben was a little 'un, but I think my favourite is when his grandpa asked him what he wanted for an upcoming birthday.

'We-ll,' said Ben, brow furrowed in concentration. 'Well grandpa, what I would like for my birthday is... a hill!' cute toddler

'A hill?' came the bemused reply. 'Um, why Ben?'

'Oh grandpa,' said Ben, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. 'To roll down, of course!'

It made me laugh so much, but also really, really want to buy him that hill, so we could all roll down it – Ben, his grandpa and me.

How great would that be?