Emotional Rollercoaster Anyone?
It's a law of nature. Teenagers are universally required and biologicially compelled to provide their parents with a degree of aggravation that is in direct proportion to that which the parents themselves caused their parents before them.
This law is written in stone. It will be in effect for the rest of time immemorial. Forever, and ever, until the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride, the heavens and earth collide and life as we know it ceasts to exist.
Five Hundred years ago teenagers were giving their parents all kinds of hell; taking the chariot for a joy ride...forgetting to feed the prisoners...taking the Emperor's name in vain...and 500 years from now, teenagers will still be giving their parents all kinds of futuristic hell; borrowing the hovercraft and bringing it back with negative ions, forgetting to taking out the garbage capsule, not logging onto school on time...
And if you think that because your child is sweet and complacent and good natured you might be spared some of the teenaged surliness, contempt and general asshattery....think again.
So. I'm finding my teenaged son quite a challenge these days. He's a good kid, all things considered, but the attitude, my GOD the attitude. The mouth. And of course, the world revolves around Pubescent One.
I know, complete and total self-absorption is the hallmark of adolescence. But knowing that, doesn't make me not want to slap him upside his fat head.
But sometimes...sometimes I get little glimpse of that sweet little boy that I used to know. Sometimes I am privileged to get a preview of the man he will one day be.
This afternoon I took him shopping for school clothing. Because he was off his meds for three months, (his meds inhibit growth) he grew more than he did in the entire previous school year. His shoulders are busting out of his shirt sleeves and all his "shorts" give new meaning to word. His ridiculously long thighs are exposed to a degree that is neither cool nor attractive.
We went to a popular name brand store. I warned him that our budget was tight and I could only buy a few things if he insisted on having this particular brand. He said he understood.
But that didn't keep him from piling my arms high, exclaiming over a funky design, an eye catching color, or an item of superlative coolness. Pretty soon I had a massive armload of clothing, three quarters of which would have to be put back.
He pouted. He whined. He started with the.."But it only costs...." And I lost patience with him. I reminded him that I had clearly explained to him that we had a finite budget and thus, a limit to the number of items we could buy in this store.
I reminded him that I still had to buy his brother some clothing to which he replied with a snort, "Well he can just have my old stuff."
I told him we would leave with nothing if he was going to continue badger me. He pouted some more, but, seeing that I was not going to budge, he pared his pile down to the pre-specified dollar amount.
Seeing that his pile contained a polo shirt for $35, I told him that in my opinion, it was too much, and he could get two of the sale t-shirts for that price, or two of the sale polos for only a few dollars more. He balked at that, and I let him make the decision, knowing full well he would be sorry later when he realized that Diminutive One had gotten fully twice what he had because I had chosen well.
Anyway, I was nearly at my wit's end with him by the time we finished checking out. I was feeling disgruntled and grumpy.
On the way out, a cute women's top caught my eye, and curious, I stopped to see if they had my size. They rarely do. I wear the largest size available in "regular" stores. And, with everything being so tightly fitted these days, I doubt it would have fit regardless.
A predatory sales associate swooped down to ask if she could help me find my size.
"No thanks. I don't think you carry big fat lady."
She laughed nervously and backed away.
Pubescent One, hearing this, admonished me.
"Mom, why do you put yourself down like that?"
I was a little taken aback. It really seems as if everything I say to him goes in one ear and out the other. Plus, he has ADD, so a lot of stuff he hears, he doesn't necessarily process. He has to kind of filter everything and only retain the important stuff, or he goes into input overload. For that reason, he often seems oblivious, even when he really isn't.
"Ummm, I don't know. I was just being flip, I guess."
"You shouldn't do that. Maybe you're not super skinny but you always look cool."
COOL? I look...COOL? My thirteen year old son thinks I look....COOL? That's better than skinny, in the world of thirteen year old boys, thankyouvermuch.
"Yeah. Like, you don't go out with your hair all messy or your boobs hanging out. And you always have on nice clothes and make-up and stuff. I'm not embarassed to be with you. Usually."
"Is this about that shirt? Cause I'm still not buying it."
"No Mom! I mean it. You're...(blush)...you know...pretty. Prettier than a lot of my friends' Moms."
And here I had been seriously considering renouncing my ownership of him.
Teenagers. They sure keep you on your toes. Good thing my butt looks perky that way.