Category Archives: teenager

Space Time and Teenagers

sloth

Last night I had my least favorite recurring dream, the missed flight dream.

Are you familiar with this nightmare? You’re supposed to take a trip but you’re running hopelessly late. In mine I’m miles from the airport, have not packed, have not even dressed and my airplane is leaving in 30 minutes. Every single time.

I hate every moment and still, it keeps coming back to me.

Yesterday, I finally realized why.

I have this dream because I have sloths.

SONS! I mean, I have sons.

I have three wonderful sons whose range of speed goes something like this:

Slow

Slower

Impossibly Slower than That

and

Not Moving at All.

 

My everyday existence is a miss-flight-mare, no matter what is on our agenda.

Me: “The movie starts in a half an hour.”

Son speed: turtle.

Me: “If we leave now, we can go to the game store before it closes.”

Son speed: turtle with a broken leg.

Me: “There is a man outside giving away tickets to Disneyland for anyone who can get to him in 5 minutes.”

Son speed: turtle with a broken leg riding on the back of a dead snail.

Yes these are teenagers, yes they have boundless energy, yes it makes no sense, and yes I am not exaggerating.

Yesterday I told my son (still in bed and pajamas even though I’d spent the last 2 hours telling him to get ready) that we were leaving in 10 minutes. When I checked on him five minutes later the only advancement he had made was to take his shirt off.

When I asked him if he was ready know what he said?

“Almost”

Almost?

“In what universe?” I cried. “By what stretch of the imagination are you “almost” ready to go? A blind fish on tranquilizers could get out of this house faster than you!”

Kidding. I didn’t say any of that.

Telling a teen to hurry is like honking at someone because you want their parking spot.

You think it will speed things, the opposite happens.

Anyway he was moving, we hadn’t hit full stop yet. And besides it is far more important that he understands no matter what, I love wine…

HIM! I mean, No matter what I love him…

Stop laughing Wine. That was totally believable! Hey I had that dream again, are you free later?

 

 

 

 

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Guess Cryogenics is not just for dead billionaires anymore. That’s right scientist now believe that a stint in a Cryogenic chamber enhances the body’s ability to heal.

Amazing. What will they think of next?    

Well, if anyone’s looking for ideas, I’ve got one… how about cryogenics as a treatment for puberty?

Wait, hear me out.

While adolescence is a necessary stage in development it is also painful, tremulous, frustrating, embarrassing, and sometime dangerous. What if, instead of forcing our young adults to endure it, we simply let them sleep it off in a Cryo-chamber?

This wouldn’t be just a long nap, mind you. The subjects would be connected to a virtual world. As they snoozed the cerebral cortex would be engaged in a continuous stream of realities designed for optimum experience and growth.

Think about it, all the angst, error, words that should have never been spoken, actions that should never have take place that are integral to maturing, minus any long term damage because it’s all make believe.

Consider it: sleep and video games molded into one painless coming of age process. What could be more perfect?

Yes, I know what you are thinking – I am a genius.

But I can’t take all the credit for this dream. I live with free roaming adolescents and necessity is the mother of invention.

Yes I am a parent of teens and it’s become quite clear that I am really bad at it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of the horrible things I did in this week alone:

 

I did not inform a certain someone that it was Thursday, and it had been Thursday ALL day already.

Someone (not me but that’s no excuse) ate all the eggs.

One adolescent put his socks on faster than another while I stood by and did NOTHING.

(This is actually my fault through a myriad of dressing scenarios – shirts, jackets, shoes… At first I found it confusing but since have seen the errors of my ways and completely accept responsibility)

I had the audacity to propose a trip to the beach.

Then later (clearly having NOT learned my lesson) I wildly suggested we go out for dinner.

And finally, (I’m a little embarrassed to admit this terribly low point in my parenting journey, but here it is all the same…)

I looked my son square in the face and said:

 “It is time to make pizza”.

 (Oh. The. Humanity.)

 

I need a super puberty busting cryogenic chamber STAT.

My kids need it.

Society needs it.

There must be a cryogenic scientist out there living with teens who understand and would look into this.

Please?

I’ll be waiting.

 

 

 

Toddler-escence

 

When my kids were little HALT (the “are you Hungry Angry Lonely Tired?” behavior tool) was all the rage in progressive parenting. An effective method for identifying when an unmet core need is triggering undesirable conduct, HALT (funny enough) was originally designed to keep addicts from relapsing. (Which probably isn’t funny at all and should definitely tell you something about what it is like living with toddlers)

Anyway, it was so effective for the tremulous 2s and 3s that lately I’ve begun to wonder if it might be useful for life’s other arduous growing period; adolescence.

Specifically, (because this is my circus at the moment) with adolescent boys.   

After a few months of careful research, here’s what I’ve discovered:

Tired.

Well, tired really isn’t an issue any more because they sleep. They sleep, and sleep and sleep and sleep…They sleep so much I check for signs of life, A LOT. In adolescence it seems the only time tired leads to unsavory behavior is when something disrupts the teens sleep autonomy. Things like school, family functions, emergencies, Christmas (true story there), events that happen on a schedule that your average day sleeper isn’t likely to conform to. And honestly, outside of emergencies perhaps, these things are avoidable.

Stand-napping master 2016.

Lonely.

Yep lonely is still a thing and now that we (parents) are often the enemy tackling this problem is tricky (especially if your teen can’t be bothered to wake up and attend functions involving other similarly minded individuals) But all is not lost for there is the internet.

God save us if that fails.

Hungry and Angry (Together here because hungry and angry have fused).

Yes the once independent disturbances now simultaneously fuel each other in a state commonly referred to as “hangry”.

Remember the adage about the way to a man’s heart? Well it’s true. It’s through his stomach. Coincidentally this is also the way to his reason, sanity and composure. Forget about scorned women, hell hath no fury like a man unfed. And there is no time when that is more clear than in adolescence.

Don’t believe me? Find a teen boy, pick a fight with him then a second before it blows into world war 3, hand him a pizza.

*poof* crisis averted. 

With a house full of mini men in ever expanding bodies, Mowgli and I now fight a daily battle against the hangry. Everything has changed. Even the way we greet them.

Before adolescence:

Hello! How are you?

Now:

Hi! Here’s a sandwich!

He-llo, we learned the hard way, left them without the promise of food one syllable too long. It won’t surprise me if next month we cull further to:

Sandwich!

What?  Doesn’t seem a reasonable salutation to you? Then I ask you to imaging a land where in lieu of polite verbosity passersby simply yell Wine! and thrust a glass in your hand.  

I would quite like that I think. 

 

Well its back to the trenches for me, but before I go, here’s something I spotted in a questionable (possibly nonexistent) dictionary recently:

 Armageddon (n) the state of affairs when the internet fails before lunch is consumed.    

Hope all is well.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting it out there

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Though marriage and kids were never a certainty for me, one thing was: if I did go that route I would be as open as possible with my children. My family would talk about everything. Our house would be a temple of discussion and my children would not for one second think that any subject was taboo.

Then, reality. I married a quiet man who gave me three quiet boys. Faster than you can say bob-is-your-uncle (not that anyone in my house was ever saying that or anything else for that matter) my dream evaporated. Instead of a house of congress, ours was a monastery (sans the singing) and instead of stimulating banter, our days were filled with hours and hours of mom-ologue.

Well, I pacified myself, it worked for Hamlet.

(I forgot, of course, that Hamlet’s audience paid to hear him babble on.)

“Mom, stop talking” wasn’t any of my son’s first words but it was definitely in the top ten. Once it hit the airwaves it became a popular tune too, losing favor only when my offspring figured out they had Olympic sized tuning-out skills.  

Still, I was undaunted believing it my parental duty to pave the path between us with sensitive subject matter. Over and over and over again.

If only I’d remembered about puberty.

Welcome back to hormone hour on adolescent radio! Up next, “Mom you’re so embarrassing.” by The Tween’s, “Talk to the hand” by Attitude City and everybody’s favorite “Watch me slam the door” by Bob Rocker and the Parents Are Lame singers!

OK, OK, I was a teenager once. I know how important privacy is. I was hip to their desire that I shut-my-pie-hole and I would give them space. But there was still stuff they needed to learn and it was still my job to make sure they learnt it.

So I downloaded one of “those” books (you know the kind I’m talking about) and, in a modern day equivalent to wrapping it in a brown paper bag, I discretely delivered it to their online devices.

Later, in darkness, I waited.

“Hey.” I whispered, starting at my shoes, the sky, the inside of my eyelid, anywhere but at my son because the only way to talk to a teen is with ambiguity.

Conversation? What conversation? I’m just standing here…breathing loudly… To the casual onlooker this wasn’t a mother and son talk this was a drug deal – far safer territory.

I spat out what I’d done adding quickly, “If you read it I promise to never bring up this subject again.” Then I held my breath.

 “Alright.” He replied.

Was that sarcasm? Did I see an eye roll? Was it possible we were good? Since I’d just sworn to never bring it up with him again, would I ever know?

“Mom stop.” He said, turning to leave. “I said I’d read it, let it go. And quit talking to yourself. It’s embarrassing.”

Only time will tell, but I’m calling it a win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*sigh*

 

It’s Memorial Day. Today in America we pause to remember everyone who left to fight and never came home.

Every year on this day the longing to express gratitude to all those who did the unthinkable – giving the greatest sacrifice so that people like my-insignificant-self may live free – becomes almost painful. 

Because it can’t be done. When you give up everything for someone else, you give up everything. You are not even allowed the meager reward of hearing from us how thankful we are.

And we are. Ever so much so.

*sigh*

This holiday weekend was especially poignant for me as it was also my son’s thirteenth birthday.

On Saturday, under the wary eye of his younger brother, “He better not start acting like a teenager…” my middle son entered young adulthood.

There are now two teens living in our home and I am no more ready than I was when the first one arrived two years ago.

*sigh*

At least the weather was nice. Ireland (in what I decided to take as a sign of solidarity) lightened my load by pretending to be Hawaii for three straight days.

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Stunning, isn’t it?

Of course when I shared that very thought my freshly minted 13 year old corrected me.

“No you’re wrong. Not Hawaii, more like California. This feels like Oceanside.”

Because he’s 13 now and does stuff like that.

*sigh*

Hope your Memorial day is special. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teen part 2

A year ago I blogged about living with a teenager here

Today, the saga continues…

Bigfoot ˈbɪɡfʊt/ noun

  1. a large, hairy apelike creature resembling a yeti, supposedly found in NW America.

images

A Bigfoot has taken up residence in our house.

There is a mysterious, and apparently benign, being living in a room upstairs.

He’s nocturnal so our paths cross infrequently and, when they do, he speaks a language of guttural tones that I fear we will never be fluent in. As a result we learn about the creature primarily through observation.

Once the sun has set and we are abed for the evening, our Bigfoot roams. The house is haunted by bumps and squeaks that make it impossible for me to sleep in a continuous stretch.

Food, in large quantities, disappears while we rest. Whole pizzas, a jumbo box of crackers, entire loaves of bread, anything requiring absolutely NO culinary skills to make edible will not last to the dawn.

(Actually, if you’re trying to diet, a resident Big Foot can be quite handy. Carbohydrates are his favorite.)

There is hair too. A lot of hair. A carpet of it can be found in the shower most mornings and the bath towel looks like a porcupine hide.

Truthfully, I find it difficult to fault a Bigfoot for trying his hand at personal hygiene. It’s a daunting task that he fails at routinely.

No matter what he does an odor* lingers in every corner of the house. It’s as pervasive and mysterious as the creature himself. I now walk our halls armed with deodorizer and, at times, crying out,

“What the holy hell died in here?!”

Despite all this, I like our Bigfoot. I wouldn’t want him to leave.

But I do pray that, one day soon, his evolutionary journey will align with ours.

Maybe if I leave out more crackers…

 

*(It occurred to me this “odor” might be an attribute of the male of the species only. I like to think that a female Bigfoot would plague our house with pleasant flowery aromas. Of course there would probably be much more hair…)

 

 

 

 

You are making it very hard for me to be the parent I thought I would be.

 

When my kids were little I had one rule: no day would pass without some fun.

And I was pretty good at it. I’m not saying the entertainment was always appropriate but it did the job. The mood was light and everyday had some part worth remembering.

I had that Mom of the century thing nailed. Yep. Nothing could stop me. Not even the dreaded

Teen years…

HERE'S JOHNNY!
HERE’S JOHNNY!

Well guess what…?

They’re here. 

Four months and two weeks ago I became the parent of a teen.

And I have to take back everything I ever said about mom of the century.

However, while not entirely pleasant, the last four and a half months haven’t been a total waste. In fact they have been quite educational. There were so many things I did not know about myself! Now, thanks to the raw hormones of a certain thirteen year old, my eyes have been opened.  

I never knew it but,

I am not fun. For 12 years and 364 day my good time ace-in-the-hole was to put on Madonna’s “Don’t cry for me Argentina” and, together with my son, sing and dance. Those days are OVER. No, more than over, they have been erased from the annals of history. They never happened. I’m not allowed to even say “Evita” inside the walls of our home anymore. I probably will catch hell for typing it just now.

Not only that,

I can’t cook (but I better keep trying). My life is a vicious cycle of, “what’s for dinner”, “I hate that” and “What do you mean it’s all gone??”

I can’t win, but that’s no surprise considering,  

I am totally unreasonable. Would you believe I had the gall to ask my thirteen year old to eat food, not out of the carton, but in a secondary vessel designed specifically for food consumption? I know, ridiculous! Welcome to Stalag Mom.

And another thing…

I would never make it as a lawyer. Possession is 9/10 of the law don’t I know that? It doesn’t matter if I paid for the computer. He uses it, ergo it belongs to him. Get out and close the door.

Speaking of closed doors…

I am the commanding officer of Camp Sleep Deprivation. Seriously, the only thing I ever do is wake people up. It’s my favorite thing. Dear Guantanamo, you want me on your team. Just ask my kid.

Ah, parenthood, and my journey is barely getting started because…

A few years ago Mowgli and I had a bit too much to drink and thought, you know what would be awesome? More kids. Yeah, we should have more kids…