Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adventures in Real Parenting: I feel stupid and contagious



"This is a rotting cesspool of social anxieties with an overwhelming smell of adolescence."

This comes from a text I recently received from my precious 13 year old. I'm applying the adjective precious loosely.

She's in the throes of adolescence so I'm surprised, quite frankly, that she can detect the smell of it. Some days it's easier to like her than other days. She's smart and stubborn. A loner who doesn't want to be alone. Unconventional, but sensitive to the reaction of others. A Jew without any religious training frustrated that her school holds its Meet Me at the Pole religious service every year on Yom Kippur, but refuses to speak to her class about Hanukkah when given the opportunity.

My hugs could easily metamorphose into throttles for the ways this child stretches my patience well beyond where it's been pulled before.

I remember telling my mother that I hated her, but loved my boyfriend. Testing my limits with alcohol and cigarettes and hungering to be recognized as the grown up I thought I was.

And yet, there I was, lip-syncing I Will Survive into a hairbrush alone in my bedroom while Andy Gibb peered down, shirtless and tan from my wall when I was home alone.

Oh yes. That.

Suddenly, a little teen angst doesn't seem so annoying. She's on the swim team not choosing between menthol or regular Virginia Slims. She's learning how to make a rag rug out of old t-shirts, not acquiring a taste for beer. She's not hating me with the fury of a thousand Justin Beiber fans.

It could be so much worse.




18 comments:

  1. ah it could be much worse...and if we are lucky we are blessed with children much better than we were...haha...or maybe i just know the tricks well enough to catch them...

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    1. You're so right, Brian. And each one is different. First child really was a straight arrow. Frighteningly so. Now she's making up for it.

      Child two thinks his father and I are morons. He gets away with plenty even though we're not.

      The third? See above.

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  2. Great post title.

    Young Zombie is nigh-on eighteen, going on a cynical forty. He shuts himself up in his room, and walks in the house without saying hi. He is doing decent work at the best IB school in the state, and is lead programmer on his school's FIRST robotics team. He takes every comment as criticism. He wears intelligently funny t-shirts, and thinks his Dad is the biggest fucking idiot on the planet, with maybe the exception of his mom. Every request to do some chores or clean his room is felt to be a personal attack. He knows how to cook for himself and do laundry. He speaks Spanish fluently, and is comfortable in a minority-majority school. He despises the fascistic authoritarian treatment of random searches and metal detectors that have taken over oour high schools. His favorite shows are Simpsons, Daily Show, Maddow, Colbert, and Ed.

    And yet he hasn't been arrested yet, so he is ahead of me at that age.

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    1. What a great comment, zombie. It sounds like you've got super intelligence on your hands along with the teen angst.

      That last line made me laugh out loud. Let's hope he's never arrested.

      Delete
  3. Aw yeah, sounds like you got it pretty good. Also sounds like you're an open and communicative mom. My kids weren't nearly as bad as I was either. Maybe with that background we could head them off, knowing what to look for? Feeling freer to talk about it?

    Or maybe I'm naiive and choosing my memories.

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    1. I try, Jen, to be open and communicative. From what I can see of your relationship with your daughters, you did just fine. You all seem to adore one another, enjoy spending time together and they made it through adolescence. That's a win!

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  4. He takes every comment as criticism.

    whistles softly
    ~

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    1. You know, thunder, when I read zombie's description, I could relate. Much of that is how Nathan behaves/reacts.

      And now you, too?

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  5. Yeah. If my nine-year old's behavior is a precursor to her adolescence, I'm doomed.

    We're all doomed. And will be deafened.

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    1. I hate to admit it, Sarah, but I hope you're still blogging during the adolescence of the Slow Motion Sloth Sisters because I see much humor to be mined.

      That is, if you haven't checked yourself in somewhere first.

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    2. Fellow future doomee here, also mother of a 9 year old. Thanks (I think?) for a glimpse of the future, Lisa.

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  6. It's impossible to leave comments about one's children when they haven't been underfoot for years - full grown adults in charge of their own lives. Parenthood was wonderful. One day you'll turn around and be amazed how well you've done.

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  7. I figure as long as I don't have to come up with bail money, we're doing our job.

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  8. I remember when I was the way you describe her as being. She's lucky to have you as her mom!

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  9. Ah - we too have a 13 year old (nearly 14, now - less than a month) and it is fascinating to watch the older them beginning to emerge, hinted at from time to time like the wing pattern of a monarch butterfly visible through the now translucent crysalis. We refer to 13, in this house, as the cocoon age. They go into their rooms at the start as children and emerge a year later as taller, nearly grown-ups. Ours grew a quarter inch every week for much of the spring and summer - and grew his hair to below his shoulders. And we, like you, are aware that even at its worst (which is not really too bad in this house) it could be so much worse. We have so much to love about how things are turning out, and how things go every day.

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  10. Oh Lord! Don't you remember Andy Gibb! And I thought I was alone. I was so horrible to my poor mum. All Simone de Beauvoir and I am NEVER going to give you grandkids.

    I asked my daughter why she wasn't more of a rebel and she said, 'What for? You were.'

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  11. What I find amusing .... young couples considering parenthood never believe the stories or warnings from seasoned parents. They always believe their spawn will never be "that way".

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  12. Of course it could be worse. She's saving that for her senior year. :-)

    And yet... And yet...

    She's a smart girl with a good mother. May she learn, as we did!

    Pearl

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And then you say....

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