“I don’t want him to be a teenager. He won’t play with me anymore.”
- They’re funny. The other day at the dinner table, my 12-year-old son took a firm stand against eating what was on the menu. His 15-year-old brother looked at him sideways and said, “There are hundreds of children in Africa who would take issue with you turning your nose up at perfectly good food.”
- They think outside the box. I walked into the kitchen recently to find my 17-year-old daughter sitting on the kitchen island eating a bowl of quinoa, and my 15-year-old son sitting on the opposite counter eating a bowl of cereal. Apparently, tables and chairs have become too cliché.
- They’re wonderfully empathetic. I can always, always count on one of my teenagers to whisk away the tears or frustrations of their 7-year-old brother. Granted, some of their methods — wrestling, teasing, shooting Nerf bullets — are unconventional (this goes back to thinking outside the box), but it works and is much appreciated. In fact, it’s simply awesome.
- They make inexplicable decisions. Like when my daughter, upon being asked to turn off the TV because we were going to bed, decided to make a grilled chicken salad. The chicken had not yet been grilled. The grill was right outside our window. It was midnight.
- They dig in their heels, even when “undigging” them would make so much more sense. Like when my son refused my help on a fairly difficult writing assignment for his freshman English class. I happen to have taught freshman English — plus, I write for a living. I went out on a limb and reminded him of those details about me — in the event he had forgotten. He hadn’t. He wrote the paper on his own.
- They display various degrees of emotional instability. In the interest of protecting my kids’ dignity, I’ll leave it at that. Which reminds me — I need to thank my parents for protecting my own dignity. Karma being what it is, my teenage stories bear remarkable resemblance to my kids’. The biggest difference I can see is that most of my emotional outbursts were made while wearing leg warmers and sporting very big hair.