Is this normal?

Alex, my son, has always been very playful. Some people may call him mischievous. You know when people balance a cup of water over a door so that it splashes as you open the door? that would be his kind of prank.

Although I love to see him happy, and I think being playful is a sign of being relaxed and content, sometimes his pranks are a bit tiresome. I have to be on the lookout all the time. He may hide something from me and then roll in laughter when I am going half mad trying to find the object.  If I step outside for a few minutes I have to remember taking the keys to the door with me, as I may find myself locked out of the house. He would then be looking from the inside and laughing at me trying to get in. A couple of times I have left my phone unattended in another room, only to find that he posted some messages on my Facebook account. Nothing rude or outrageous, but just silly. The first time I only noticed when a friend replied to my message, a bit alarmed, asking me what had happened. I didn’t know what she was talking about until I saw “my” message, with just the word “help”.

Last night I went to bed early, as I was tired, and fell asleep very easily and deeply. I was in the middle of a dream when suddenly the lights came on in the room and Alex came in wanting to have a light chat. Nothing important, in fact, he didn’t have anything specific to say, just started saying things like “how do you feel?” and “what are we going to talk about?” He is not a very chatty person. Indeed, he dislikes small talk even more than I do. I thought this is very unusual, what is going on? and just in case he had something important to say, but he didn’t know how to approach the subject, I continued the conversation with him. In the end, nothing important was said, and after a few minutes he said goodnight and went to his room, but I was there thinking what was all that about!

As far as I know, he behaves in this way only with me and with a couple of other people he trusts, while with everybody else he can be sensible and mature. Knowing this, sometimes I feel a weird sense of being privileged and I don’t want him to lose his playful side; I want to preserve that trust. Other times I wish he could be playful and mature. “Eventually, he will grow out of childish pranks” people tell me. But “eventually” is taking its time to arrive: Alex is 25.



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