Whenever you feel that raising your teen is as tiring as taming a storm, take a step back to the days when you were into New Wave or The Beatles. You might want to check your mental notes with my son's characteristcs.
First, teens seem to be unaware of a sense of smell, except for the scent of candy or chips. Mine must be reminded there is a toothbrush that belongs to him for a sole purpose. There are times his breath is as hideous as the "stench of a thousand years," Vincent Price rapped about. Maybe I wouldn't choose a tiger, but his breath is close to a tiger's.
Teens have a logic of their own. I know some don't ever take a shower. Mine must be reminded of washing his hair. With shampoo. The real killer is the funk. B.O. must have had a function in pre-history; I read some story in the venerable Los Angeles Times women who slept close to a male's armpit lived longer and more happily. Nowadays, the fragrance of young males is a killer, for real. If you don't believe me, open the teen 's bedroom door in the morning. Young male fragrance is so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife.
Gardner, a darling of the kewl education crowd years back, wrote about the seven intelligences. My son discovered the eighth. All adolescents know of it and practice it. It's the scientific art of avoidance of any type of work or exercise unless they are keenly interested in some end result. Boys do exercise their wrists out of the curiosity to see if the palms of their hands will grow hair. Other than that, housework to homework, any work is so hard. He could do so many chores; he used to. As a teen, he exercises elaborate stories not to do anything.
He's diligent to go to the pharmacy. Most adults love to chat with him. He loves to chat me up so that he can avoid a task. Demi-français, he'll butt heads with Papa. Daddy and son are very obstinate. Your... husband is like that, too? Men never mature, do they?
The mess the kid generates is comparable to that of our implementation of democracy abroad. One room at a time, he loves variety, all men do, I guess, he leaves a trail of papers, candy wrap, music sheets, even underwear on the dining table we have found, until all rooms are hideous looking.
I have a policy of no food in my office only to find an empty Toblerone© box and half a bottle of Dr. Pepper. "Moi?" "Yes, you." At least he fesses up; that is a start. Today smuggled in tuna salad spilled on the carpet. In my puny office. I'm kewl. Three more years.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time, not all the way back to diapers and bottles. Maybe mothers wish they could lock their babies back in the womb. Chico Buarque wrote about this desire. Now, it's too late; he's out there.
I feel like laughing when people tell me I have a nice kid. Yes, he was taught table manners, even the lowest ranking workers in France know how to use table utensils. And a great quality for anyone who wishes to survive near me: he never contradicts me in public. I am always right anyway. Indeed, he likes people. So, when they say,
"Oh, Gabriel is so smart, he's so funny, what a pleasure to be with him!" They all say that.
"No kiddin'. Keep him, will ya?" I always say that, too. In my mind I add, "And keep his father, too."