Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?

Today’s advice is really short, sweet, and to the point: do not have teenagers.

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You’re still here? Ah; maybe you, like me, haven’t really got a choice. You birthed or adopted a cute little bundle of joy, lived through the terrible twos, survived the first and second set of teeth, and even passed most of the elementary years.

The problem is that, now, the child you once knew has …changed.

You tiptoe (yes, you must tiptoe) down the hall to your child’s room. You know you are getting close because of familiarity, but also because of the smell. Okay -you knew you were getting closer because you followed a Hansel and Gretel trail of dropped socks, pants, and accessories to the door.

And because of the smell.

If you are a bold enough adventurer to peek inside (without notice), a mishmash mess will meet your eyes. It’s a jungle in there: clothes, school things, sports equipment, blankets, and some of your items you’ve been looking for are draped everywhere in anti-fen shui-style. A fish eyes you from the dresser top detritus and mouths the word, “Help!”

As scary as the physical side effects of a teenager are, however; there is nothing to quite prepare you for actual encounters with one.

One, tentative question about homework may lead to a Mt. Vesuvius eruption. A term of endearment might cause a glare and door slam. Requests to pave a path through the teen’s room will result in a yelling insinuation of how little you care for their feelings and how much you just want them to diiiieeeeee!

And, I have a boy teenager. I thought I wouldn’t have drama.

So, as I recommended: avoid the teenagers. Get yourself a nice, helpful preschooler who’s just napped and who loves to get five-cent candies as a reward for mopping the floor. Give the teens to their grandparents; you know, the ones who were so keen for you to have kids for them in the first place.

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Photo Credit:
Image by Gary Cassel from Pixabay
Photo by Justin Chrn on Unsplash

The Joys of Pre-Puberty

I have finally reached a milestone every young mother dreams of: all four children completely potty trained.

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Seriously, if you’ve not experienced the Iron Man Competition that is Potty-Training, then you have no idea how many angelic choirs sang after that opening sentence.

In related news, my oldest son entered junior high school. He’s taller, stinkier, slightly more mature, much more capable, and so freaking hormonal. And his voice hasn’t even changed yet. Granted, I didn’t go through male puberty so I wasn’t entirely accurate in my assumptions of what comes first.

Still, I feel like I now have a teenage girl on my hands (something I do have personal experience with).

Every little thing, visible or not, sets my son off. My helpful question of, “Hey, your English teacher mentioned you might need to turn in some of your work. Can I help you with your essay?” led to a HYSTERICAL, “I CAN’T! I JUST CAN’T! LEAVE ME ALLOOOOONE!”

I am not exaggerating.

Besides the smell and the extra dents in the wall, I enjoy my household of boys. As Erma Bombeck wrote, “With boys you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.” She said boys are easier because of that; because they tell you exactly what they think.

With boys, you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.

I have a younger brother and his pre-pubescent journey was not so dramatic. I think. Maybe I’d better call my mom and ask because I was a little involved with raging hormones of my own at the time. Sixteen years old is such a lusty time, you know?

I suppose I pictured the pre-teen and teen years with my child as a picturesque coming-of-age story. Not Harry Potter, of course -more like A Day No Pigs Would Die or Finding Neverland. My oldest is a lot like the oldest boy in Neverland, and I just expected he’d suddenly sprout facial hair and finally be able to shovel the driveway in winter.

If we’re being honest here, I’ve more often related my 12-year-old to Ender Wiggins of Ender’s Game. I think I started calling him that around age 2, actually.

And now I’ve got Rapunzel from Tangled. *sigh*

Has anyone else experienced pre-teenagerhood? Do you have any advice for the rest of us?