When my son was a toddler, we likened our lives with him to living with a drunk rockstar. He’d trash the room in an inebriated rage, throw himself into the arms of beautiful women, demand food and drink at odd hours, melt down again, then-all smiles-approach you with arms wide expecting immediate devotion. It was harrowing being this one’s stage manager, but at least he couldn’t really talk and most of what I said went right over his head. Further, I could pacify him with the simplest things like craisins and cheerios (not even the honey roasted kind).
Now he’s a full teenager, and the drunk rockstar is back. Except this time he quotes memes and approaches strangers to discuss politics. And repeats to people stuff I say that I would rather he not. Also, he eats a lot. All. The. Time.
This time a snack cup of craisins and cheerios don’t cut it. He needs hot cheetos and chips and salsa and homemade shepherds pie. I can’t keep up.
I knew this was coming. When he hit 8 years old and became awesome, I knew I had a finite time. The sweet spot of childhood is between 8 and puberty. I guess I was lucky that puberty took a little longer for him than some of his friends.
He’s now a drunk rockstar in a body I can’t just pick up and carry kicking and screaming out of the restaurant. He has giant feet and hands. Absolutely no sense of spacial awareness and a deepening voice. But then there’s also the cherub peace on his face when he sleeps. I don’t even know what to do now.
So I started reading about teens. I got a book on the neurology of the teenage brain and right now it is making me either want to protect him in a bunch of bubble wrap until he’s 25 and his brain is stable or make him learn EVERYTHING like the Matrix. Knowing me, I’ll tend toward the latter because there is so much of life to experience so might as well do some of that when your brain is actively remodeling. I keep thinking of the languages he could learn, the musical instruments, the difference between a mourvedre and a zin. So much opportunity here.
But he’s a drunk rockstar. So every experience is like playing hot potato with a stick of dynamite: super exciting unless it goes off. I should pick my battles, but the problem is I don’t know what’s a battle and what isn’t.
I guess I need to read more books.