In 6th grade, some mean girls made fun of me for wearing an undershirt in the locker room during P.E. I’m over it now, thanks, but still when I think of it I FEEL the heat spreading over my cheeks and the powerless ness I felt over my boob-less-ness. Growing up is hard. Speaking of things that are hard, I have an almost 12 year old boy that is increasingly hard for me to communicate with.
I can’t even get a full sentence out before he has that glazed over look indicating that I’ve lost him to some random internal distraction that is most definitely more interesting than what I’m telling him, but quite possibly not as important. I don’t even try to pretend he is still interested in having a Harry Potter movie marathon, going to the park for a picnic or making side walk chalk murals with me for hours. That ship has sailed. On occasion, feelings of longing for those days wash over me and I grieve a bit before reminding myself that he is doing exactly as I always dreamed he would do; growing up.
But growing up doesn’t mean that he can completely ignore me. I’m still his mom and part of being my kid means tolerating some of my yammering about stuff that makes BOTH of us squirm. I don’t know why the hell he thinks I enjoy all of these awkward conversations, so I explained to him that I am responsible for making sure he is safe, well informed and cared for, even if that sometimes means embarrassing the shit out of him in the process. And I did that yesterday. I embarrassed the shit out of him because I bought him this:
There was no glassy-eyed gaze when I put the book in his hands. Nope. It was more like he wishing he could pop his eyeballs out of the sockets and use them as weapons that could throttle me like slimy fists of fury. Of course this is just a guess based on what I DO know about his creative mind and newly discovered skill in using it to say and do all kinds of crap that makes me feel like I have a complete stranger living in my house. A stranger who looks like my kid, sounds like my kid and when he is silent, could very well pass for my kid. It’s just that when he opens his mouth I can’t be sure anymore. Has nothing I have taught him soaked into that blog of neuro goo between his wax encrusted ears?
So it was such a gift from the universe to read this blog by Perspective Parenting called, “Why don’t you listen to me?” as a reminder that the shit-storm that often accompanies adolescence is as predictable as the rising sun.
And then of course that whacky universe kicked The Boy’s Body Book my way. I didn’t buy because I don’t want to talk to my kid about being clean or his ween. I bought it because it is an easy to read, comprehensive book about everything. It talks about pubes, pot, parents, feelings, friends, family, fights, feet, food, tears, teachers, testicles, jobs, jock-straps and says, “Learning begins when you say, I don’t know.” It says THAT on page 59. I bought the thing so that I’m not the only voice banging its way into his brain, trying to provide him with as much information as possible so that he can make good choices occasionally despite the reality that his belligerence is heavily biological.
Disclaimer: I purchased the book, The Boy’s Body Book: Everything you need to know for growing up YOU, written by Kelli Dunham and Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. I receive no compensation for telling you about this book. I don’t know them, they don’t know me. What I do know is that as a parent of a 12 year old boy who is also a psychology professional, I think it KICKS ASS!