From hugs and smiles to grumblings and groans

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It never fails to surprise me how drastically children can change in a few short years.

On Sunday, I visited a friend whose grandson Aiden had popped in for some lunch.

He’s 13 and well, let’s just say, the conversation wasn’t exactly flowing.

For most of the afternoon, I saw nothing but the top of his spikey head and his thumbs moving at lighting speed.

“What’s that you’ve got there then?” I asked.

“A Blackberry,” he answered like I was from another planet.

“Oh, I see. And what does that do?”

“Just stuff,” he said.

“And how’s school? You’ll be at the big school now,” I said, instantly regretting the term ‘big school’.

“It’s o’right,” he sighed.

As the noise of frantic finger tapping continued, I searched for a more trendy line of chat.

“So, is there a girlfriend on the go?”

“Eh, no,” he groaned.

What an ordeal it was.

I remember Aiden when he was just a tot. Great little boy.

He used to watch ‘Thunderbirds’, screaming with delight whenever he saw Brains.

He loved everyone, wrapping his arms around complete strangers and kissing their noses.

My own wee grandson Jack is the same.

These days, he treats the supermarket trolley like a personal exhibition carriage.

Everyone within a five-aisle radius will get the word ‘Hiya’ blasted at them.

At two, he’s a boy of few words, but he uses them to maximum effect.

His favourite thing to do at the moment is point and say ‘Dada’, to every 30ish-year-old man he sees.

Myself and my daughter have had a few odd looks from perplexed girlfriends and wives who quickly shoot a suspicious look at their male partners.

Jack, however, is in his element, and throws his head back, giggling with such force that the trolley tilts.

But in 10 years’ time, will he hate the sight of people and prefer nothing more than a solitary existence with a Blackberry?

I can’t imagine it, and decided that, just like when my own two were small, I’d enjoy the young years and cross the teenage bridge when it appeared.

As for Aiden, he entertained himself for the rest of the day with something called ‘instant messenger’ and only opened his mouth again to fill it with a sausage roll.

When it was time for him to go, my friend instructed him to “say goodbye to Mrs Livingstone” which resulted in a pleasant smile and a quick “Bye”.

“Now, kiss gran,” my friend asked Aiden, who turned and hugged her and gave her a tender kiss on the cheek.

He looked at her fondly until a ‘beep beep’ noise from his black contraption returned him to teenagerdom.

Ah, he was still the same loving wee boy, just trapped in the body of a peer-pressured youth.