Sunday, November 9, 2014

10 Things All Parents Of Teenage Boys Think

I remember the moment I became cognizant that my son was transforming into a teen. He was 12 years old and we were talking just before he went to bed. “Mom,” he said, “why do I sometimes feel like crying?” My heart jumped, both because I was honored I was that he could confide in me and because I knew that puberty was changing him even as we spoke. We talked about the hormones that were not only altering his body but causing the mood swings that he was already having. “Hormones are a bitch, huh?” he said. You have no idea, Kid. 

Hair on his legs? Where did this teen come from and where's my baby?

In the two years since that conversation, many things have changed for both him, and me, as the mother of a teenage boy. In sharing my reflections with other parents, we all seem to agree that at some point we've thought:

Boy! Does he smell! - Teen boys have a decidedly musky odor that parents of teens immediately recognize.  Get a bunch of them together, for a party or sleepover, and you may as well resign yourself to the fact that you're going to have to bring out the Lysol when they leave.

When did he get so hairy? - The leg hair, the armpit hair, and now the shade of a mustache he's growing. Where did this come from?!  Who is this teen?

When did my little “helper” become so lazy? - This child, who used to live to help me take care of his little sister, shovel snow, and was eager to take out the garbage now screams in terror at the thought of emptying out the dishwasher or bringing up the laundry.  I had heard that teens could be a bit inactive, but I've seen plants grow faster than this kid moves.

Is messy the new neat? - He was never a budding Felix Unger, but lately, I have to sort through three layers of sweatpants and t-shirts to find my teen's floor to vacuum it. Add to that literally dozens of empty seltzer bottles (he lives on the stuff) and he may as well be living in a pig sty. 

How is it that he's so much smarter than I ever was at this age? - I stopped helping him with math in 3rd grade when the first hint that Mom was an idiot crept up. I stared at the symbols on his homework and they may as well have been Sumarian. Junior is incredibly intelligent and so computer savvy that I now go to him for tech support.

Man! Does he have an active social life! - Thanks to computers, the teen plays online, with his friends every night. Thanks to texting, he meets up with them after school at the drop of a hat. And thanks to his taxi (me), he's able to go places I was never able to because my family only had one car and my dad used it. Teenagers' opportunities for socialization are endless!

Could he be schizophrenic? - In a matter of a minute, I swear he switches through personalities (nice, cranky, apologetic, baby) like I change television channels.  I swear he channels Sybil Dorsett. 

When did he become so argumentative? The mild-mannnered kid who never challenged us, now does so constantly. Now that he's a teen, he butts heads with his dad nightly, something he NEVER did before. And if you look at him the wrong way, watch out!  He leads with an argument.

I am NOT looking forward to him becoming interested in girls. - If life is dramatic now, I can't even think about what it will be like when females come into the picture. When my teen starts showering on a regular basis, then I'll know it's happened.

Right now the teenage boy thinks girls are expensive and trouble.  I'm holding on to that.

Why is he growing up so fast and how can I make him stop? This weekend he's away for the first time. I'm not worried about him, I just miss him more than I ever imagined. I blinked and my baby is now a teenager. Life is going by waay too fast!

Still, as challenging as it is being the parent of a teen, adolescence is incredible to watch. My former baby is getting more and more independent every day and periodically demonstrates a maturity I still don't have. Similarly, I find myself digging down and finding the strength I never knew I had, but realize I NEED to muster, to gradually let go. Every day I am aware that he's slipping through my fingers and finding his own way. And now I am the one who sometimes feels like crying.


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