|Miss C or The Hulk?|
The other day the very sweet Rhiannon from http://ahellofawoman.blogspot.com/ happened to tweet me this 'ooooooh, how do the teen years compare with the baby years?' Now she was merely asking an innocent question and please for one minute don't think I was giggling at her.... because I truly wasn’t! But when I read her tweet I cackled so loudly with irrepressible laughter, that Doris the cat awoke from her cat nap with a start, sporting a bottle brush tail of shock and fear! I suppose I just felt a sense of Oh God you really don't wanna know! Rhiannon bless her (Buffyness!) had unknowingly provided me with a troubling dilemma? How on earth should I answer her tweet? Should I be honest and risk spooking her, thus possibly taking the 'happy edge' off her next 12 years or so of parenting? You see her little ones are well.... little and precious and I wouldn't like to be responsible for any feelings of dread, whilst she waits for them to morph from TWA (Toddlers With Attitude) to TWA (Teens With Attitude) ! Or maybe I could sugar coat the reality, water down the truth and basically lie about how great it is once the little ankle biters grow up? You see thinking about it there really isn't much difference between the toddler years and the teen years. Even the acronym is the same! (Acronym is the property of Melissa from http://www.istillwaveatplanes.blogspot.com/ btw).
Oh bum cheeks! What to do? I could ignore Rhiannon's Innocent question?
However never being one to shy away from a 'challenge' and after a long, hard think I've pretty much decided to tell it as it is! But I urge you to remember that I'm far from a 'Teen' expert. I only own one teen and well to be honest she's always been a pest! So whilst what I am about to tell you is true, it's only my experience and there are NO typical teenagers so yours may well be totally different...oh bobbins the lying has already begun...
So when my squishy little bundle of baby girl was born, looking like a chewed up, spat out toffee, it will come as no surprise to you that I immediately fell in love with her. And of course I've loved her unconditionally ever since but by God she was a challenging baby, toddler, junior and now nearly 17yrs old she's still got 'character' (that's a polite way of saying she's a pain in the ar*se)!
So here you are, this goes out to all you hardworking, loving parents who are simply trying to do the best job possible raising your kids. It's not advice, simply my observations!
Well we all expect sleepless nights with a baby and young toddler, it's the way life is! There's the feeding, teething, night terrors, moving from a cot to a 'big' bed and many simply unexplained reasons why they wake you up! With my teenager Miss C, it's pretty much the same! Whilst Miss C doesn't necessarily require my close presence during the night, she stills keeps me awake. She's developed a nocturnal sleeping pattern of staying up until the early hours of the morning, tapping on her laptop, texting, watching TV and BBM'ing! The constant low humming noises resonating from her bedroom are not conducive to my drifting peacefully into sleep. I've been known to sit bolt up right in bed convinced the humming is a swarm of killers bees out to kill me. We have tried removing said items from her bedroom, it's just they seem to slip silently back in under the cover of darkness?
Even worse than the above, are the occasions when she's out at a party and if it's my turn to ferry her and a bunch of her mates home, it means staying up way past my 10.30pm bedtime curfew. It involves driving through the streets at un godly hours, following Homer Simpson (Mr PB voice of choice for the Sat Nav) in my pj's and NO MAKE UP! Or even if she's getting a lift home, I just don't settle until I hear her key in the door and summon her to my bedroom, to show me she can still walk in a straight line, thus proving she hasn't been drinking more than the thimble full of alcohol we now allow her to have!
Once she's asleep, so am I, but then comes the morning debacle that is getting her up and with it, all the stress that ensues. I know, I know it isn't strictly my responsibility to get her up out of bed and ready for college, but if she misses the bus then it is me who has to take her. If I refuse to drive the 30-min round trip there and back it would be 'my' fault that she couldn't get to lessons, especially as my car is sitting idle on the drive!
Babies are known to create mountains of washing and ironing. There are nappies, sick stained, dribbled on, wee soaked clothes and bibs! Babies often need changing 2-3 times a day! Step forward Miss C.... she also requires multiple outfits, not being able to wear the same clothes for college more than once a week...it's illegal apparently? Oh and there's the myriad of bras requiring different strap combinations for different types of top! When I was a teen I had two bras, one on, one in the wash. She also owns the teens staple item of clothing for 2012, a must have 'onesie'. Which is basically a big babygrow complete with feet, which Miss C changes into as soon as her feet cross the front door...and so she remains snug and cosy and comfy buttoned into it until the next morning! It seems a tad lazy.... don’t you think?
All this creates masses of washing (although in the interest of self development I now make Miss C iron her own clothes), and coupled with fact that she's too damn lackadaisical to take her clothes off and hang them back up, well my washing basket becomes stuffed with garments that don't honestly need washing. Still it's the easiest and quickest option for her to dump them there I guess!
Teaching Language Skills!
As a new parent I spent hours of my precious, valuable time teaching my little rug rat to form words and communicate.... after all it made life so much easier for us when she was able to convey her needs. Oh and how smug did it make me feel when my toddler seemed to have an above average vocabulary? So when she turned 13yrs old and lost her ability to speak properly, it became somewhat frustrating! As a normal previously understood child Miss C developed the language of an entirely different species? She spoke using only slang words, words that no longer seem to mean their original meanings; with random lists of letters strung together apparently making new words and text speak that nestled comfortably amongst incoherent grunts. These were all used to form rather short sentences. This new language can only ever truly be understood by other teens and only aids the already widening gap between teen and parent! However after nearly four years studying this language, I'm fairly fluent, I may even go, as far as to say I'm bilingual! Although the thing is whilst I can understand Miss C, I'm not entirely sure what other teens are often saying? It's like the way a parent of a toddler can only really understand his or her own child's gobbledegook!
Answering And Fighting Off (with a shitty stick!) A Constant Barrage Of Pointless Questions!
Oh how toddles love to express their opinions, likes and dislikes and enjoy making themselves heard. The most common words shouted repeatedly and VERY LOUDLY being NO! and WHY! Equally irritating and soul destroying singular words which often require much more than a one word response. Teens are exactly the same, although they do tag a few extra words on, just cause they can! Here are some of Miss C's favourites...
'Why won't you pay for my diving lessons, 1st year insurance and then buy me a car to drive to college'?
'Why do I have to be in by 11.30pm on a college night...nobody else does '?
'Why do I have to iron my own stuff, make my bed, put my plates in the dishwasher?'
'NO I'm not coming out with you, I have college work to finish! (translated as, you're my parents and therefore hideously embarrassing and to be seen with you with actually wreck my life....)
'NO I don't expect you to pick up after me' (although I know you will cause you have 'Mother' OCD and would spontaneously combust if a wet towel stayed on the floor for more than a nano second)
There are tonnes more but to be honest even though she's not actually here right now saying them, my ears are still starting to bleed listening to her voice inside my head!
Tantrums, Sulks and Feet Stamping!
Ooh how us parents love the Terrible Two's! A famous yet natural and fully expected stage of parenting we all experience right? Well even if you do manage to negotiate this challenging phase and smugly glide through the next 6-8 years or so...don't bask in the sunshine for too long! Teens are world experts at throwing a paddy/strop/or sulk at the drop of a hat. Miss C can be fine and dandy one minute and then without warning mutate into the Incredible Hulk, complete with green skin, ripped jeans and dodgy hair! The cause could be anything from serious (being grounded, having to pick her younger sister up from school), to the less serious, (chicken again for tea, no clean tights or being asked to change a toilet roll)
Babies and toddlers can often be selfish, emotionally draining and repetitive...add to that sarcastic, dismissive and immature and you have a ‘Teen’!
I love eating out but when my kids were little it was always an experience that carried an undercurrent of tension. No matter how well prepared I thought I was, jam packing my bag with toys, wet wipes, plastic spoons, rice cakes, pureed food, bibs, dummies etc I could NEVER be sure the meal would run smoothly. Eating out with a teen is yes you've guessed it not dissimilar, well at least they carry their own paraphernalia. Necessary items to take are i.pods, Blackberry's, kindle, headphones, star flower capsules to administer, in case of emergency hormone re- balancing (Miss C not me) and Kalms! Oh and a hearing aid and translator for when she's mumbling under her breath cause she's seriously bored now and asking if we have to order pudding, as Hollyoaks is about to start and she wants to leave. I put my foot down at the risk of 'ruining her life' and calmly tell her we're not ready to leave. She then starts eyeing up the fit bar staff and flicking her hair like 'Miss Piggy' in a flirtatious manner! What with the stress of it all, I loose my appetite for pudding, we leave, she gets to watch Hollyoaks and I down half a bottle of Kalms mixed with rum!
Phew! So OK I'm sorry I seem to have made living with a teen sound like hell on earth! Which any sensible well-rounded realistic parent knows it isn't. Remember all the melt your heart moments you experienced with your little ones, well you still get those when they're teens. Honest! Miss C can be thoughtful, funny, makes a fab cup of tea and if bribed can be an excellent on site babysitter for her sister! Oh and the best bit about owning a teen? ... the fun you can have embarrassing them and getting your own back! It's so, so easy...simply loiter near them when their mates are round, dance when in public with them and pick them up from work outside the front door! Miss C requests that I park a respectable 5 minutes walk away, I never do Mwahahaha. Is this because she doesn't want her mates to see me?
So I hope I've given you an insight into just how similar the baby/toddler years are to the teen years. I hope I haven't frightened any of you into moving out on the eve of your child's 13th Birthday, although I would recommend erecting an emergency shed at the bottom of the garden! Hey and who's to say your own teen will be anything like mine? Your teen may be a mold breaker, the 'perfect teen' the one you can travel the world with and show off to other parents! If you are or become the owner of this illusive creature PLEASE TELL ME, as I've yet to see one and I reckon they're as rare as hen's teeth!