Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Counting Down to the Teen Years

In four days, my oldest child will turn 13. A teenager. Making me ... the mother of a teenager. What the hell?

I distinctly remember my mother when I was a teenager. She had no clue. She was nosy, always wanting to know the personal details of what was going on in my life and who I was friends with. She invaded my space by requiring that my bed be made and my room be picked up. She did not dress in cool and trendy clothes, like ripped neon sweatshirts or acid-washed jeans. She refused to spend $80 to buy me a pair of Guess! jeans and forced me to save my allowance instead. She listened to horrifyingly uncool music, like Barbra Streisand and oldies, and sang along in front of my friends. She only let me drink one soda maximum per day and only bought Doritos once in awhile even though she absolutely knew they were my favorite.

"SHE'S TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE!!!" I wrote in my diary once when she (totally unfairly!) refused to let my sixteen-year-old self go to a concert two hours away with my boyfriend and spend the night in a hotel with him and a bunch of friends. It was like she didn't trust me, or something. (I even squeezed out a few tears and deliberately let them drip on the ink and smear it for effect, just in case she later snooped and read my diary. Then she would see the depth of my devastation and change her mind). (She didn't change her mind).

Just in this past month alone, I've ordered Bear to clean her room, explained that it's not OK to just eat the cookies or chips out of her lunchbox and bring home the fruit, refused to let her be dropped off at the bowling alley when there wouldn't be parental chaperones, sung along enthusiastically to "Chicago" in the car while she begged me to switch to the radio, and forced her to wear seasonally appropriate clothing with no regard to what's cool. (And apparently flip-flops in February are cool. Noted).

Actual Conversation:

(Scene: Last week. Bear starts to head out the door for school in a short-sleeved t-shirt and lightweight hoodie).

Tom: So, Bear, just out of curiosity, how cold would it have to be for you to wear your winter coat to school?

Bear: I dunno. Cold.

Tom: No, give me a number. How many degrees?

Bear: Uh ... ten.

Tom: It's seven degrees this morning. Put on your damn coat.

Bear (with gritted teeth): FINE.

Moral: We're blatantly unfair and trying to ruin her life. Damn that karma.


Anonymous said...

The how many degrees conversation killed me. So funny. I already feel like that with my son and he's only 10. Happy Birthday to your TEEN!!!


Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

This is hilarious. So funny how we eventually turn into our parents. I am sure I will torture my future children in the same loving manner that my parents tormented me.

Country Girl said...

Love it. I won't even begin to to tell the tales of my teen years. Burned my diaries and have lots of tales I'll never share with my kiddos. Hoping my kids will do a little better then I. I have a little over 3 years before mine hit their teens. Happy Birthday Bear!

smalltownmom said...

I have the "take a jacket" conversation frequently with my 13-year-old son. We've finally arrived at a compromise...he takes a jacket so I won't look like a bad parent.

Jen on the Edge said...

I am not looking forward to having a teenager in 19 months.

Jen on the Edge said...

I am not looking forward to having a teenager in 19 months.

Jen on the Edge said...

I am not looking forward to having a teenager in 19 months.

Dawn in Austin said...

Oh and you thought the terrible twos were bad. *she says as she shakes her head in understanding.

I don't miss the twos or the teens. We'll be here for you, though. A sense of humor is the absolute best tool to have. And you already own it!

Anonymous said...

Moms don't know anything. And then you grow up and realize Moms know what they're talking about. Who knew?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That? Was well played indeed.
And I agree, the only way not to turn into our mothers is not to become mothers!

The Gold Digger said...

I see kids without their coats and sometimes even in shorts (shorts! in WINTER!) here (Milwaukee) and think they are nuts, but then I think that the streets are not littered with the corpses of frozen teenagers, so I guess they are OK.