All In A Day's Work
I didn't ask him to watch it. I didn't even mention it to him. Because anything that smacks of a life lesson is an execration to a teenager. If I had suggested that he watch it, he would have refused on general principal.
But thanks to a diabolical plan, conceptualized and executed perfectly by yours truly, he wandered in while Husband and I were watching and was drawn in by the drama.
Husband says the show is not realistic, and he's right.
In real life, there are no guardian angels (the baby's real parents) watching on tv moniters to avert disaster. In real life, the mind numbing sleeplessness of infancy does not end in three days. And of course, nobody in real life is handed a furnished home in the suburbs along with all the paraphanalia required for baby rearing.
But, for teens who have literally no experience and no clue what they are in for, it's a relatively effective way to drive home a point.
That said, I am absolutely stunned by the behavior and attitude of some of these kids. I do understand that selfishness, entitlement issues, and emotional outbursts are the hallmarks of adolescence.
But honestly? I don't think my generation was that whiny, self-centered and just...annoying. I don't know...maybe hindsight isn't the pinnacle of clarity, but seriously...some of these kids are spoiled brats.
I have to admit that I am enormously gratified by the fact that Pubescent One thinks so too. And, more importantly, that he is suitably disgusted.
"What is wrong with that chick? That guy is trying to make-up with her and she's just keeps bitching at him even though he's totally kissing her ass."
"Why won't that girl get up with the baby! That guy has been doing all the work! She is being so selfish, GOD."
"I wish that girl would just shut up. Doesn't she know that the baby doesn't care if she has a stomach ache? She still has to be the parent, geez. She's totally faking anyway so the guy will stay home from work. What a loser."
These comments tickle me.
He hasn't had a serious girlfriend yet, but it's only a matter of time. And I know that it's going to be a HERCULEAN effort for me to bite my tongue when some little trollop tries to manipulate, domineer and emotionally blackmail him.
Diminutive One I don't worry about. He simply does not tolerate bullshit, regardless of age or gender. Any girl that tries to make him into her lapdog will find herself sorely disappointed.
But Pubescent One?
He's a sensitive kid; a people pleaser, a peace maker. He might as well walk around with a pink bullseye painted on his forehead or wear a sandwichboard bearing the legend "Pussywhipping...it does a body good."
We've talked about girls. I've told him that there is more to someone than their looks; that pretty girls aren't always everything they're cracked up to be. I've tried to tell him that a meaningful relationship can only thrive and grow with mutual admiration and genuine respect for one another. I've tried to explain that the novelty of sex eventually wears off, and if there's nothing else upon which to build a relationship, it will become empty and dissatisfying very quickly.
I know this from experience. I've dated my share of pretty boys and let me tell you...their appeal wears thin amazingly fast.
He listens, but he doesn't hear. I don't think I really expected him to, but I have to try, yannow? There's so much these days that gives boys and girls alike a completely unrealistic view of the opposite sex. I feel almost driven to combat those warped ideals with some reality and common sense.
So I'm glad to hear him making these remarks. I'm glad that he's able to recognize the behavior that I've tried to warn him against. I'm glad that he finds it distasteful.
Does that mean that he'll be able to put that into practice when some big breasted Barbie doll blonde crooks her little finger at him? Probably not. But a Mom can
He asked me if I thought he could do a better job than the teenagers featured on the show. I didn't know how to answer that. I don't think he's as spoiled and selfish as those teens, but I don't think he's mature enough to comprehend or effect complete and total sacrifice for the sake of another human being either.
I answered with a question of my own...
"Do YOU think you could do a better job?"
He was casually emphatic.
"Sure. I think I'm very mature for my age. I could take good care of a baby and I think I could have a good relationship with the baby's mother too. I really don't think it would be that hard if you just do your best and try to listen to the other person."
"See...honey, here's the thing. When you're not fully mature, you think you can do anything. When you are fully mature, you have the sense to know that you can't."
How do I explain to a 13 year old child that getting older means being afraid and uncertain where before, there was only blind assurance and unequivocal confidence? How do I explain to a 13 year old child that getting older means recognizing limits and respecting them, instead of forging ahead with youthful ignorance?
Suddenly, I felt very old. And jaded. And....unadventurous. Staid. Boring.
"Someday you'll understand, babe."
"I understand one thing Mom."
"I understand that I'm going to need some condoms."
Do I consider that a job well done? Well...it's a start.