La Petite scared Chuck one day when she said she had a "case of the babies" coming on. I laughed out loud at his expression. Call it what you will: monthlies, Aunt Flo, That Time of the Month, or other euphemistic name. I knew what she meant.
It was a term she picked up from her college friends, and it actually makes sense. The phenomenon is a function of the reproductive system, after all.
The guys in their peer group learned to be cautious when all the girls were wearing sweats and looking grumpy. Ah, some real life learning outside of classes: how to understand women. If their gal pals all have a case of "the babies," the guys have learned to treat them with TLC. It'll make them good husbands some day, really.
Recently, I remembered why I preferred a family doctor to an OB/GYN. The latter tends to have an unpredictable schedule because of their own cases of babies: delivering them! And then it takes a special and post-baby effort to convince the nurses that yes, my appointment is important, baby-making age or not.
My own "babies" are ages 23 and 18. the only case of the babies we'll deal with around our house is the potential for grandbabies or our adorable little niece. She is a sweetie, isn't she? Now that's a good case of the babies.
Rosie actually asked my advice on a teenage dating issue!!!
Of course, she did it through an email instead of cuddling up and asking me (but I had said that I was going to bed early that night).
I need your help. I like this guy and so does one of my good friends but the guy likes me and asked me out. I haven't responded to him because I don't want to hurt my friend but I like the guy so what do I do?
My response was:
Unfortunately, you are going to have this problem many times in your life.
If your girl friend has a complete and total crush on this guy & you would be in danger of losing a friend, then the following advice needs to be re-evaluated. But in general, sometimes you are the winner and sometime the loser. In another few months, maybe none of the 3 of you will be able to stand any of the others. Teenage friendships run hot, but fast. I like that you are being considerate of your girl friend.
I think that you should go out with the guy, but also you'll need to break it to your friend gently that you are doing so (not gloating) so that she isn't blindsided if someone else tells her about it.
BTW- as mom, I'm very happy that you felt that you could ask my help with this. I never did with your bubbe because I felt that she was just too out-of-date.
Can you see the grin on my face? I'm so happy that she felt she could ask for my help!!!
Well, it didn't always used to
be like that. I actually have three sons -- ages 28, 25 and nearly 20,
and until the birth of my daughter 15 years ago, I was the only one in
my house who didn't have a Y chromosome.
Oh help me please. I am at the mercy of the Roo-girl and her 19-year-old stepsister, J-bear.
Wonderhubby, of course, lives there, too, and attempts to balance off
the raging hormones with his masculine ways. He's really good with a
hammer and a drill, and I love what he does with a blender. Yet he is
kind and loving and always put the seat down.
The house of estrogen does have an occasional male visitor, but in hormone hell? Even the dogs are female.
J-bear certainly has her PMS'y flairups, but it is Roo-girl who owns the title of Queen of the Damned If I Will Listen to YOU.
I was 41 when she was born. I'll wait while you do the math.
That's right -- this makes me 56.
Please think about this for a moment. In this house, we have dueling hormones -- one going UP and one going DOWN.
Scary, isn't it?
Welcome to a typical match:
Referee: In this corner, wearing short-shorts and a tank top with her bra straps showing, we have THE ROOOOOOOOO-GIRLLLLLL.
And in THIS corner, wearing sweat pants and a baggy sweatshirt, we have THE EVILLLLLLLLLL MOTHERRRRRRRRR!
There will be a two-minute round. When the bell rings, touch flipflops and come out shouting.
Roo-girl: You don't understand! I'm a teeeeeeeeeeenager. You don't know
what it's liiiiiiiiiike!!!! You treat me like a baybeeeeeeeeee and I'm
almost an ADULT.
Evil Mother: I was never as disrespectful as
you are. You didn't do what I told you to do! When I was your age, I
NEVER talked back to my mother. TRG: You did too. I know you did. You just don't understand what it's like to be a teenager. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
EM: I do TOO understand. You don't know what it's like to raise a teenager. WAAAAAAAAAAAH.
*DING DING DING DING DING*
Referee: This match has been stopped due to excessive weeping. No winner! I repeat, NO WINNER.
Sigh. This is why we keep LOTS of chocolate in the house.
Abe came home from 6 days at Boy Scout camp on Friday afternoon.
Since I was picking him up around 6 pm, I thought that the 2 of us would go out to dinner someplace- not fancy, but maybe something like a Friendly's. But when I met up with him and got into the car- eww-he stank!
Well the weather had been pretty rotten for most of the week. And, as a teen-age boy, it doesn't take long for him to get smelly.
So I asked him if he had taken any showers while at camp. He proudly told me that he had taken one. Yuk. I responded that he needed to have taken AT LEAST 3 during that time. At least he'd taken one Sunday morning before he left.
And I know the answer about brushing his teeth....
But he had a good time and earned a few merit badges.
While we (he) were driving home, I told him to take his bags straight down to the laundry and do them immediately after he got out of the shower- which was going to be his next stop in the house. And he did.
He's now back at school for the summer program and the internship. School makes him take a shower everyday. Now if only I can get him to take them voluntarily. I know that other teen-age boys are like this, but at some point they need to learn to be clean. But when????
I believe I have discovered one of the secrets of the universe.
Yes. Don't dissuade me. I KNOW that I have.
It was time for sports physicals. A fund-raising moment for our school
when, for $25 apiece, about 350 kids are herded through the gym for a
quick look-see, poked by volunteer doctor parents, leaving with forms
filled out for another year of football, basketball, cheer and
It was a 3-hour ordeal tour that saves us from having to book an actual doctor's appointment.
I had, under my care, three cheerleaders -- the Roo-girl and her friends -- in a very veryVERY long line.
Did I mention that it was a long line?
Behind us was a group of about six fresh-faced young gentlemen of obvious high character and breeding.
Now, on my blog, I have been known to report -- verbatim -- some of the
nasty talk that my own children have uttered. But even *I* have
standards and cannot in good conscience repeat some of the things I
heard in that line. (Suffice it to say that the gist of it had to do with stained shirts
and body fluids in a color not generally found in nature.)
I looked at Roo with consternation and pulled her close so I could whisper in her ear.
"Do you recognize those boys? Are they incoming freshmen?"
(I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt: Perhaps they were
still in middle school. Next year's freshmen athletes who hadn't
figured out how to muzzle their mouths in public yet.)
Roo rolled her eyes.
"No, they're going to be sophomores."
I looked at her in horror. "Those are boys in your class????"
I cringed, realizing that I truly had discovered one of the secrets of the universe, and said:
"I now know why girls prefer to go out with older guys."
Tonight, just for the heck of it, I looked at the Google search results for MCMM. Besides learning that people can be really strange, I see that I'm not alone in thinking that teenage boys are disgusting. Take a look at the top seraches for today.
mid century moms
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Should I let my sexually active daughter and boyfriend be alone together?
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the road test cannot be taken with a car that has a center console without a
Hmmmm. Who is Fred Braun anyhow? And why do we want his shoes? And why ARE teenage boys really disgusting when they get to their teenage year? Does anyone have any insight into that little conundrum? Because I'm thinking that a firehose aimed directly at MY teenage boy might, just might get him clean enough to go on college tours next week.
She's one of my closest friends, she's one of the best mothers I know, and she's just weathered one of the Nightmares of Parenting. Her fourth child, a daughter (15 years old, third girl), has just had a Pregnancy Scare.
Some people might leap immediately to judgement:
Pregnancy scare? Doesn't that take away her "Good Mother" card?
Pregnancy scare? Guess that'll show her for being such a sexually common-sense liberal mother!
Pregnancy scare? What kind of stupid, low-self-esteem, promiscuous child is she raising?
Some people probably only have toddlers yet. Or have raised their children in a socially-conservative commune. Or have their heads firmly buried in the sand.
No matter what the parental rules, regulations, and social/moral values, a teenager is going to make decisions for themselves. In a perfect world, they'd make wise, sensible decisions based on the wise, sensible counsel and good modelling provided by their parents.
But this is not a perfect world. You may have noticed that.
In the world we have, teens do things their parents disapprove of. Even had my friend been in the "no-sex-till-marriage" camp, her teen is still statistically likely to be sexually active during her (unmarried) adolescence. Them's the facts. So, give your teen your moral framework, but prepare them for the possibility of other choices. You can tell them you believe those are inferior choices, but they need the information. Think about it: If you have trouble getting them to do their own laundry or keep their room clean, things which happen right under your very own roof, how on earth do you think you can keep them from having sex just because you've told them it's a bad idea?
My friend had done all the things a loving and practical parent would do. She had had "the talk" with all her children -- not just one excruciatingly embarrassing lecture, but an endless series of short, natural conversations, starting with identifying body parts, all of them, and accurately, (when they were toddlers), right through to about sex and sexuality (in later grade school). She had answered all questions as they arose, at an age-appropriate level, matter-of-factly and without squeamishness. She had, of course, added her moral perspective to all these talks, about what made for good sex and bad -- and she wasn't talking techniques, she was talking relationships and respect and patience and kindness. Of waiting till you're ready, not being pressured. When they got to be of an age to be sexually active, she had discussed birth control with them, and had made condoms available.
She poured all this out to me as she sipped her coffee, evidently shaken.
"None of her siblings ever, ever had unprotected sex! None of the rest of them was ever so STUPID! What did I do wrong?"
She didn't do wrong, of course. Some might disagree, and to them I put this question: If you want to argue that acting on the probability that your child will become sexually active in their teens is "going wrong", how do you explain her three sexually active but sensible older siblings? Siblings who are in respectful, long-term relationships? (Well, the 24 and 21-year-olds are. The nineteen-year-old is currently single.)
She didn't go wrong. In fact, I was impressed.
I was impressed that my friend had as much information as she did. She knew that her daughter had had sex. She knew that the "condom had fallen off when he was coming out"... though she wasn't sure whether she strictly believed that. How did she know that? Because her daughter told her. Her daughter felt safe to come to her.
How many of us could be sure that at a similar time of crisis, our children would feel safe to come to us? That they would avail themselves of the wisdom and experience in a mid-century parental head? How many of us, instead, would find out after even more damage was done?
Her daughter came to her. They talked about what had happened. They talked (again) about a woman's cycles, about fertile periods, about birth control and sexually transmitted infections. They visited a doctor (who, at the mother's request, gave the girl a stern/scary talking-to about birth control and STI's). The daughter had the full run of tests for said STI's. There was no doubt in the daughter's mind that this was a Big Deal, that she had risked not just a pregnancy, but her health and safety. And now she knows, even more than before, how to keep herself safe. And this time, I'm betting she'll take it a whole lot more seriously.
Yes, this mother's daughter is sexually active. Yes, the girl made a sexual mis-step (whether a condom slip due to inexperience or a full-out TEENAGE STUPID moment is not strictly relevant). No, she is not currently sexually active. She broke up with the boyfriend, in part because of his response to this situation. (She was and is not pregnant. It was only a 'scare'.)
None of this makes the mother less than excellent. None of this even makes the daughter an irresponsible, out-of-control teen.
What is makes them is a team. A team in the task of ongoing preparation for adulthood. We cannot pack out children in cotton wool, buffer them from and and all risky behaviour. Even if we could, how on earth does that prepare them for the moment they must leave the nest and deal with the daily risks of daily life?
A mother who prepares her child for the decisions that are hers to make, who walks that child through the steps to rectify a mis-step, who shows her child who and what her resources are, who guides her in how to avoid a recurrence... that mother is preparing her child for life on her own.
My twelve year old has started to shave, she still refuses to buy a bra or talk about getting her period, but she is shaving...
When I took her and my thirteen year old son to the Dr. for a check up last week, they discussed all the 'normal' things in life, you know... diet, exercise and drugs.
The Dr. asked my son to step out for a moment while she examined my daughter, the Dr. lifted my daughter's shirt to check her stomach and everything. Then the Dr said, "My my, you're developing little breast buds" Megan about died from embarassment and it probably didn't help that I bolted out, "See I told you HA! In your face sucker" I admit that my reaction was a tad immature, but whatever...I now have the Dr backing me up on the whole getting- a- bra- thing.
Then my daughter left the room and my son came in and the Dr. did the whole routine with him and then, as horror took over my son's face, she said "Take down your pants and cough." I turned my back to them and tried to hold back the giggle as my son coughed and coughed.
I'm really immature...
On the way home my kids were fighting, as usual, and then Megan yelled, "Well at least I didn't have to cough while the Dr. grabbed the beans"
My son punched her and I sent them off to school an hour late. Thank God this only happens once a year.
Nope, it's not my biological clock. I hog-tied and beat that sucker into submission years ago.
Tick, tick, tick, tick...
Some days, living with a teenage girl feels like sitting over top of a large, lethal, and particularly hair-trigger time bomb. So much tension, so many unanswered questions:
Will we make it to the end of the day without an explosion? Of tears, anxiety, rage, or something inexpicable, un-name-able yet thoroughly tragic?
TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK...
Enter mom's perimenopausal hormones, which make for IRRITABILITY and a distinct lack of patience with the drahma and histrionics... . Will mom make it through the explosion, solid as the rock her daughter needs her to be, or will she end up concussing herself, what with all the banging of her head into the wall?
tick, tick, tick, tick...
Will teen make it to the end of the week without a passionate declaration that she has no friends, that life is unfair, that no one cares?
TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK...
Will mom make it through the passionate declaration with sufficient sympathetic soothing, and patient hand-holding, or will she break down and agree with rather too much enthusiasm with the whole "no one cares" thing?
tick, tick, tick, tick...
Will teen make it to the end of the term without teen deciding that no, she doesn't want to go into medicine after all, that she's just going to switch from biology to basket-weaving because the stress of the course-work and teacher's expectations is just too much?
TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK...
Will mom be able to listen to yet another life-change panic attack without gnawing her tongue right off, what with all the biting of it she's doing?
tick, tick, tick, tick...
Will teen make it to the end of the school year without a pregnancy scare, a nasty-boyfriend scare, a drop-out scare?
TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK...
Will mom manage to prevent her equally-hormonal Inner Mama Bear from hunting the Bad Boyfriend down, perhaps to do something she might regret later? (Though perhaps not with the regret. We don't really want men like that procreating, do we?)
tick, tick, tick, tick...
Will teen graduate high school without deciding she's had enough of rules, curfews and parental expectations and she's going to go live somewhere else? (Maybe with one of those non-existent friends?)
Tick, TICK, tick, TICK, tick, TICK, tick...
Will mom make it through her menopause and daughter's high school hormones without imploding? Will mom and daughter manage to weather their individual hormonal storms without KILLING EACH OTHER?
And most importantly: Will mom survive yet another hormonal outburst from her daughter without DYING OF BOREDOM?
Tune in next week to the next thrilling installment of "As the Time-Bombs Tick: Will the Empty Nest Happen Soon Enough to Prevent a Two-Woman Supernova?"