Teens are tots, with facial hair.
We all know it. We just don’t say it aloud. Teens are tots, with facial hair. The proof? Erratic behavior, surly silences, and the ability to outsmart, outreason, outbefuddle and outlast even the most attentive and stoic of single parents.
Why do I specify single parents? It’s not only the case for single parents, but if you’ve been at it for a long time, with primary or solo responsibility for your children, when you hit the thorny adolescent years you’re plain worn out and worn down.
But this mother isn’t giving up or giving in on – dare I say it – acting responsibly.
Oh! you remark – you want responsible behavior?
Silly me. Imagine expecting a two-year old to be responsible!
Well dammit, I do, when the two-year old is 5’9″ and still growing, entertaining hotties, or packing his bags for college. Funny how the list of chores languishes following a last night out with the buds, a final run to Rocky Horror, or the (suddenly revealed) two hours required to practice piano.
Guilt or nagging – choose your weapon.
And when nagging for the umpteenth time, staring UP at a kid staring DOWN at you? Even as his five o’clock shadow belies the fact that he’s actually in his terrible twos? At this point, I don’t feel nasty over nagging, or guilty for guilting. I’m just mad, dammit!
It doesn’t happen every day – but it happens. And stubbornly insisting that a kid deliver requires enormous energy. As we all know, therein lies the challenge. Because most of us are fresh out. And our kids know it.
A round for the house?
Pick your battles? Sure. And I’ve just picked one. To meet your commitments as agreed, as exhausting as it is to enforce.
I’ll take a round for the house, please. Drinks or applause, or just a full night’s sleep for a change. As I stand, wearily, and (apparently) required to oversee:
- Painting the last of the exterior trim
- Laying two bags of pea gravel
- Weeding the small front garden
- And finishing the laundry!
Not how I wanted my son spending his last day before he flies the nest, but (excuse the mixed metaphors) – he made his bed, and I’m making him lie in it.
Listen up, toddler teens!
You’re too big for time out, and in the hours you protest you could polish off the tasks you agree to.
Here’s the point: when you make a commitment, keep your word.
As for tonight? I know it will be a final throng of kids, so I pass on cooking dinner, I yield to the messy house, but I’m still going to be watching over the hoard in the back yard.
Other than that? I say to my most precious sons, and in particular to my first-born:
Do the damn chores. Shower and shave, then give me smooth baby cheeks for one evening, and the privilege of kissing them before the crowd begins to arrive. Your friends may be sending you off with a celebration, but I’m sending you out into the world as I always have – with my love, my respect, and necessary lessons.
© D A Wolf