Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Unchartered territory

Completely off-topic, but how in the name of J-Lo does one go about navigating the troubled waters of Teenagerdom? Specifically Phase II - School-Leaver to Grown-up?

All three of mine are in a state of Flux at the moment and it's most unsettling. You get the sense things could go Either Way.

Gone are the days of dimpled smiles and colouring books, with me at the centre of their squinty little universe. Mooching, glowering and slamming doors is the norm. 'Love you Mummy,' has been replaced with 'God's sake, Mum,' and muttered 'hate you's' with occasional f-words thrown in for good measure. 'I can hear you!' I shrill, like my own mother did. Don't they know Mums have Bionic hearing as well as eyes in the back of their heads?

I was asked recently, if a nipple could be pierced. And I thought cutting off their curls was radical.

Structured days, where I knew where they were and what they were doing are a thing of the past, and I mourn them. It's all lie-ins and mysterious phone calls and unspecified meetings with previously unheard of friends. Communication is a tenuous thing, easily derailed by a refusal to ferry a car full of boys half-way round the country for no apparent reason other than 'it was Wacker's idea.'

They want money, but don't want to work for it. The possibilty of looking for a job 'when I'm ready' has been mooted. 'I deserve some time off.' Don't we all, love? Are the principles I tried to instill waiting to be called upon when they realise that cupboards don't replenish themselves by magic? I hope so.

I remember the angst of my own teenage years, so that's no comfort.

I found myself in the bathroom this morning, longing for chubby thighs (no comment please) trips to the park and bedtime stories, having a little cry.

This is unconditional love I reminded myself, as I have done so many times before, and sometimes it blimmin' well hurts.


Anna said...


yes, where did those magical days of our children's youth go????


Yvonne said...

I'm sending you lots of virtual hugs. Perhaps a trip away might be in order, hopefully with tons of pampering? You deserve it, you work so hard.

Lane said...

I have no advice but much, much empathy and some ((((hugs))))'s.

It's a huge transition stage for them and for you and, like you, I dread no longer being the centre of their universe but I know it's got to come.

You've got to laugh at the 'deserving time off' bit. I'm sure you've got more than a few choice answers to that one!

Hang in there. Eat cake. Write. Dance. Blog. And than maybe another bit of cake:-)

Annieye said...

Oh Karen! I remember this stage so well with mine Rewinding ten years to July 1998 I can remember clinging onto my 10-year old Nicky like a lifeline. I can remember feeling relieved that I still had at least one 'proper' child, because the other two confuddled the hell out of me!

I hated not always knowing where they were and who they were with. And I can remember getting really upset one day because neither of them wanted to come swimming with Nicky and me!

Postscript: They both turned out all right in the end so stop worrying!

SpiralSkies said...

Empathise entirely. Have resorted to spending their inheritance (ha!) on books about Surviving The Teenage Years.

And you didn't mention the smell. Sigh.

I'm sure we were delightful and fragrant at all times; it's just anuvver world now, yeah?

Debs said...

Big sigh! I'm just getting to that stage and feel for you. It's all too scary and the worst part is not feeling like you have any influence any more. I suppose we can just hang in there, do our best, eat cake like Lane suggests and then hope they turn out all right in the end like Annieye's did.

Yet another big sigh.

wordtryst said...

I've had my wee crys too - still do, although the boy is twenty-flippin-four now. He has A LIFE OF HIS OWN and this has a tendency to eclipse minor stuff like calling to let the mom know he's alive, or that he's gone off to another island to shoot an ad or something. **sigh**

Hang in there. Once you've put in a good foundation you've just got to hope that it all turns out well. If you're a praying person, pray a lot. And like Lane says, do something terribly nice for yourself!

wordtryst said...

...I should have said, 'something terribly nice for yourself that does not involve children in any form or fashion!'


I was going to give you my expert advice but I'm not an expert on this subject.

I was going to bake you a lovely cake but I can't cook

So I'm sending you a ((( HUG))) instead. Tommox

HelenMH said...

Aah, bless you

KatW said...

Karen - you are scaring the pants off me! I want to immediately leave on a hunt for the cure to teenage syndrome. Or something that will keep them young. Yesterday I was crying because they were both acting as if possessed by demons - I'd decided that I was obviously a failed parent and was in floods of tears (after they'd gone to school of course- wouldn't give the blighters the satisfaction). So how will I cope with teenage years?

I guess I can't give you any advice with my floundering parent skills. But I can send you lots of happy, calm thoughts and start looking on ebay for a Merlot drip to send you. Oh and suggest you do lots of notebook and book shopping immediately!

Big hugs.

KAREN said...

anna - I don't think I appreciated at the time, how much easier it really was!

yvonne - Sadly, a trip away isn't on the cards this year. My mum's coming down soon though...she has a calming effect on the blighters!

lane - I CAN laugh at the things they come out with - they truly do think the universe revolves around them right now! They are undoubtedly as discombobulated with the lack of proper structure at the moment as I am, and just finding their way. Teen Son 1 will be off to 6th Form in Sept, so that'll feel more 'normal.' In the meantime, we shall fight it with cake :o)

annieye - That's VERY reassuring :o) I keep reminding myself that my own brother was a 'right little sod' at the same age, and you wouldn't think so now he's a happily married dad himself!

spiralskies - Having an inheritance to spend would be a great consolation. I forgot about the smell. Can't understand why they STILL have to be coaxed into the shower on a regular basis. (NOT Teen Daughter, I hasten to add - in fact I was referring to my boys throughout!) Of course I was perfect at that age...

debs - Hanging in there is definitely the best we can do, unfortunately! Luckily I don't hold a grudge, and there's always cake in the cupboard :o)

wordtryst - I was honestly under the impression it got easier as they got older, but I just read somewhere that the older they get the larger the worries, which about sums it up!

helenmh - Just a little wobble. I'm over it now...until the next time!!

katw - Didn't mean to frighten you, but teenagers should definitely come with a warning...'handle with care, could go off at any moment.' I'm guessing they're not ALL like that though??! I like the sound of a drip...maybe a cake one to keep my strength up?

Maddie Moon said...

Oooh I know, it's such a difficult time. We're not quite there yet, but nearly, and I'm not looking forward to it one bit.

I think we can only hope that it's a phase, like all the other ones, and it will pass. Eventually.

Jumbly Girl said...

Oooh every time I read words like this I feel the need to cling ot my 8-years olds still slightly chubby thighs. For the past few years I have bee investigating the possibilities of bonsai-ing her so she will stay like this forever - sadly I fear she would end up like the scary girl vampire in the Anne Rice novels, not a good option.

If it's any consolation I was a horrendous teenager - treat home like a hotel, never told mum where I was, always chose the most unsuitable boy out of a bad bunch - but I'm a fine upstanding individual now - honest :o) (not sure if my mum has ever recovered properly though, but she's working on it)

Edward said...

Our 11 y-o is rather precociously going on 18, which is somewhat disconcerting (all texts, gfs and the rest). Luckily the 9 y-o, while deeply sociopathic, is adorably chubby and unlikely to be tainted with teenagerdom. Good luck - you sound as if you're doing the right thing (which I can only say through the wrong end of a telescope at my teenage years)

KAREN said...

maddie - I'm just praying it's a very short phase!

jumbly girl - Bonsai-ing does sound good in theory :o) I expect when they're parents themselves (gulp) they'll understand!

edward - I'm convinced they need sending to a third world country to get their priorities in order, but I'm sure I remember my own mother making similar threats...

Thanks for all your supportive comments...they DO help :o)

Tam said...

I'm a member of this merry little gang, too. My little angel doesn't even go to school any more, despite being top of her year. Apparently this is All My Fault. I can count to ten in many different languages as a result.

And hubby wants me to spawn another child. Cue much hollow laughter...

Chin up, Karen. It's worth it for the shining second when one of the does something transcendentally loving for you. For me, it was a note I found in my writing note book saying how much she loved me.

KAREN said...

Aw, Tam, that's lovely. It is good to remember the nice bits...there just aren't as many of them at the moment!!

Tam said...

Me too, Karen. There's hope, though.

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