Thursday, April 20, 2017

The elusive teenager in its natural habitat

I am one month away from being the mother of 2 teenagers. Our story is just beginning and it already has so many parts to it. Some parts are funny, many are ridiculous, some are sad and at least one smells.

You see, the moodiness of the modern teenager is not something to be trifled with. You can make a trifle for them but you better ask discreetly and not give it to them in front of other people in case it somehow embarrassed them to be loved and cared for in this manner.

Every day must begin gingerly. You approach the wild teenager with extreme caution to gauge if today will be a good day or a plague day. Don't trust anything that you thought you knew about your child, a good day can turn on you in an instant. Hypervigilance while giving the illusion of aloofness is key.

If it's a plague day, you, your ideas and even the cat will be treated as though you have been infected and must be avoided at all cost. I recommend lots of prayer on these days. Actually, I recommend lots of prayer everyday.

This covers the basics that I've discovered so far. But let's not forget some of the oft overlooked details of the day. The flip flop, the sneak attack and the dictionary will all make appearances in your daily life as a teenage zookeeper.

The flip flop moments can be identified by smell or by bathroom time. Teenagers have no middle ground, they are either unabashed stinkers who seem to lack the olfactory senses to realize why so many of us bathe and deodorize daily. Or they lack the olfactory and common senses to understand that less is more when it comes to cologne, hair gel and general grooming time. Flip flop moments are unpredictable, one day the stench has you frantically searching to find the onions that must be hidden somewhere and the next day the primping and preening time turns you into a screaming banshee as you try to get your kids out the door. I offer no advice to you parents of flip floppers, only my commiseration.

The sneak attack is as heart warming as it is unnerving. It's the random and inexplicable hugs, snuggles and kind words. You don't know where they came from and you probably never will. Sneak attack make you want to hold them close and cherish them,  it you know this action could end sneak attacks forever so you choose your moments carefully. In the midst of your elation you worry, somewhere deep down, that it might mean something really bad is coming. Ignore this feeling. It won't help either way. Take them for what they are in the moment, try not to overthink these sneak attacks. Thankfulness is key. But make sure it's silent thankfulness. If they sense that you appreciate it in any way it may never happen again.

Finally, the dictionary that is stuck on repeat. They will find a word or phrase and it will begin to appear everywhere. It often starts as cute or witty. Sometimes it's even eloquent. Sometimes they say "creamy poop" every time you try and talk to them. It will quickly take a turn and the constant use of it will cause you to rethink your views on capitol punishment. Just as you think that the good Lord has answered your prayers and made the word or phrase disappear, a new one will appear. These dictionary moments will last longer than you want but when they're gone, experts tell me that you'll miss them.

As a matter of fact, experts tell me you'll miss all of it when this season of life is over. So dig in your heels and prepare for the ride of your life. Rumor has it teenagers are worth it in the end.