Tag Archives: puberty

My Beast is Brilliant

8 Mar

hamster wheel

What they want you to think

I just had a light bulb moment.  So many puzzling and frustrating encounters could have been avoided had I figured this out sooner — my beast is actually brilliant.  You may not realize it, but if you have an adolescent son – he is too.  I know because they need no advice, know where everything is and exactly what needs to be done.

Even if they try to make you think they need help, can’t find anything and will never do their chores, they are probably just humoring you so you think you are still needed.  You’re not.  They really have everything under control.

Their grades may not reflect it, but again I am sure that is just a ruse. The look on their faces may seem blank when you ask them questions, but that’s got to be part of their cover.  Rest assured, they need nothing from us.

They just haven’t moved out yet because the law says they can’t do so until age 18.   Silly laws.  At least now that I’ve figured it out, I won’t be confused when they do something so perplexing.  You see, they can only be brilliant because they have such a brilliant mom.  Booyah!

Parenting Tip:  Remember, mistakes are chances to mold and teach them while they are still under your roof and you can still force them to listen.

[Proverbs 28:26  If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.]

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Rush Me, I Dare You

24 Feb

lunch boxes in waiting

Morning has made my strapping, vibrant 14-year-old turn into a crotchety old man.   I’ve never seen anyone move so slowly.  What I find so amazing is the more I try to encourage or demand he hurry up, the slower he actually moves like he is saying, “Rush, me. I dare you.”  And now, using science I can prove that it is actually happening.

Take Newton’s third law of motion.  It states how forces always occur in pairs. Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction.  In our home, Newton’s law is demonstrated most consistently between 6:30 and 7:20 a.m. weekdays and 8:30 – 9:15 on Sunday mornings.

Case in point:  I’ve seen the extreme where the beast actually lays down on the bed when I lovingly advise, “We need to leave in 2 minutes!” It’s like I have flipped a switch in his brain.  It may be the stubborn switch, the brat switch, the you’re-not-the-boss-of-me switch, but it is some kind of switch any time I attempt to encourage punctuality.

Earlier this week discussing the scenario with my husband, I found myself actually describing my beast like a crotchety old man.  Here’s why.  To hurry things along in our morning routine, I sometimes take his shoes, backpack and binder to the car so all he has to do is grab his breakfast and follow.  The other day after about 1 minute alone in the car, I returned inside and found him sitting at the table with a glass of water, taking all his pills, one at a time like an old man.  Tiny sip, allergy pill.  Tiny sip, chase allergy pill.  Tiny sip, vitamin #1.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #1. Tiny sip, vitamin #2.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #2.   With a leisurely glance in the distance sprinkled in between each step. Seriously.  I wasn’t sure whether to burst out laughing or lose my lid!

I’ve made the dictate that he has to get everything ready the night before so he cannot delay or stall with the fine art of packing up the backpack.  And he absolutely is not allowed to make his lunch the day of.  Somehow that activity takes the same amount of time as a gourmet meal.  If it isn’t made by the time we need to leave, he isn’t making one and must buy.  (Seems like that could be a reward, but right now we are in the “taking-your-own-lunch-is-cool” phase.)

And gone are the days when he used to wear his tennis shoes like slippers, never untying them to take them off or put them on.  Newton’s law in action – tell him it is time to leave, and he meticulously unties, inserts foot, straightens the tongue, tightens the network of laces, reties, double-knots, adjusts socks… a 30-second event takes 4 minutes.

My latest tactic is to wake him up earlier thinking more time will result.  Along comes Newton’s law again — the pace just slows.  I want him to be able to eat breakfast at the table, have time to read his devotional and feel ready to meet the day.  Maybe Newton’s law can become my ally?  Maybe I just need to tell him he’s acting like an old man — then, maybe Newton’s law will adjust and he’ll act like the beast I’d much prefer him to be.  It’s worth a try. Dare me?

Parenting Tip: Nothing you do can prepare you for the onset of premature aging.

[1 Timothy 5:1  Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers.]

The Vortex

14 Feb

Missing items found

I found it.  Whatever that thing is that you lost a long time ago. I know where it is.  It is in the vortex.  And tonight, I found the vortex.

We all have the bag or basket of socks that have lost their partner years ago.  Well, they get sucked into the vortex.  Sunglasses, homework assignments, library books, gym clothes and sometimes even a pair of shoes.  If they are lost, they are in the vortex.

We learned about the existence of the vortex back in January of 2008 during a family trip to Disneyland.  The vortex is very strong there.  Daily as we tried to organize ourselves we’d discover something new had gone missing.  It wasn’t that large of a hotel room, so we realized there was a vortex present and items were just getting sucked in haphazardly.

Tonight, I found the vortex.  Please feel free to post a description of whatever it is you are missing.  I am pretty sure it is here. Apparently it is so strong, it has even sucked the clothes off the hangers.  Don’t worry,  I think we’ll be fine.

Parenting Tip:  Your child cannot be sucked into the vortex.

Hangers with no purpose

[Acts 10:28b God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean]

Love Hurts

10 Feb

A means of survival?

I dropped the boys off to sleep over at my in-laws the other day.  As I walked them to the house, I realized this was a great opportunity to get my good-bye kiss.  You see, it was the dark of night. No neighbors were outside and there was no one to witness an unwanted expression of love from Mom.  But as soon as I moved in to kiss my 5′ 7″ baby on his head, he froze.  You would have thought I was a hunter with a high-caliber rifle, and he the 10-point buck alone in the distance.  As soon as I moved, his body tensed and spine went rigid.  No eye contact.  Gaze frozen into the distance. His mind scrambling for his next course of action.  At any minute, I was sure his flight instinct would kick in and he’d gallop off into the darkness never to be seen again.

It’s really all so ridiculous.  I am still his mother and I should get a kiss whenever I want one, right?  So I gently reassured him, “It’s just going to be a kiss on the head, please.”   Reluctantly he allowed his upper body to angle in my general direction just enough that I could get on my tip-toes and reach his temple for a quick peck.   I know it was difficult on him. And he acted kind of like it burned his skin.  Every year the aversion to Mommy affection just seems to increase.

But there is hope.  I still have my younger one who isn’t completely in the throes of beasthood yet.  Not only does he still willingly cuddle with me, but I can USUALLY give him a temple kiss when I want.  Of course, a cheek or lips kiss is totally out of the question now.  I guess that is how you know the aversion to Mommy affection is setting in – the parts of the face where I am allowed access begin to decrease.  Same goes for hugs and holding hands too.  The instances become fewer and farther between until one day, we are limited to one arm hugs where both bodies must be facing forward, and then ultimately a pat on the back.   The hand holding may transform into a high-five or fist bump, but will more than likely just disappear.

There is also the blowing of kisses.  Long gone.  That moves to a wink, then a wave and ultimately a head nod, or even the more subtle eyebrow raise.  Actually nowadays, if I get eye contact at all, I consider that a sign of affection from my elder son.   Way back when, we used to exchange the sign for “I Love You” with our hands – no way now.

The other day, I saw a mom and her son having a subtle pinky war during opening hymns at church.  We were all standing and I could visibly see them in front of me grinning and wrestling their fingers to fight for the top position.  Man was I jealous and actually very happy for her.  She still gets those moments.   I guess I get them too, but they just aren’t as sweet as I remembered them before.  I  know it is all part of the process – the son has to be ready one day to live apart and be less dependent on Mom.  And, I know someday it will all come full circle, and he’ll be okay with hugging and kissing me again – someday.

I guess for now, I have to get used to stalking him like a hunter in the night to enjoy what I can while I can.  And as I write this, I realize there is a reason he wears so much brown, green and camo-colored clothing — he really is trying to hide from me.  I guess it’s my fault I bought all this camo-colored stuff for him. I thought they were just clothes he liked, and I didn’t realize it really was his survival tactic.

Parenting Tip:  Deep sleepers don’t mind cheek kisses.  Steal them while you can.

[1 Peter 6:5-8  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.]

How Clean is Too Clean?

31 Jan

water bill

Conservationists please look away

Here’s something my friend warned me about, but I chose not to believe in — the everlasting shower.  Exactly why does a boy need 30 minutes (give or take 10) to freshen up?  I can understand a girl who would have to wash her hair, repeat, condition then maybe shave her legs and so on.  But all a boy has to do is wash his hair and body.  8 minutes tops, right?

In my home, apparently a shower makes time stand still.  Forget that we are still in drought conditions in this part of the state or that I can’t water my grass but twice a week.  So how on earth are we, a family of four, consuming 71,000 gallons of water in one month?  With the never-ending shower, of course.

Every morning the cycle repeats.  At first I thought he had to get into the shower by a certain hour in order to be on time for school.  Now I realize it is more about what time he is out.  I know some mommies have warned me that it takes so long because there are things taking place in there that I will not mention and perhaps I choose not to accept as well.  But that is also not the topic for today, so let’s move on.

What I do know is that I have walked in more than once and found my child basically laying on the floor with the hot water covering his body like he is in his own personal sauna!  Yes, there are times when a shower just feels really relaxing, but it is not intended to be another version of a snooze alarm.  Both my boys seem to think this is the place where you go to not just get clean, but rather to return to earth from whatever visceral state carried you from your bed to the bathroom.

So lovingly, we’ve started knocking gently to give a reminder that, “Finish up ’cause you’re going to be late.”  Or, “You’ve been in there for 20 minutes, times up.”  Or, the ever effective “We have to leave in like 2 minutes — so GET OUT.”    And you can only imagine the responses we’ve received:  “I will.”  or “Oh, Okay.”   So our latest tactic is to basically lay the expectations on the line, alert the perpetrator around the 12 minute mark that their time is up and then, when 15 minutes comes around — we turn off the hot water.   It takes about 2 minutes for the effects to set in, but amazingly we are doing better about being out in time.   Hopefully the subsequent water bills will show the same level of improvement.  They just have to.

Parenting Tip:  Don’t pick a fight, just pick a new tactic.   [Proverbs 27:14  If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.]

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