Sunday, January 17, 2016

Puberty

Well, it's here. You've hit puberty and everything that comes with it. While you will still talk and or play with me on occasion, your primary focus is listening to current music and talking to your friends on your iPod (I bought you an iPod as sort of training wheels to teach you responsibility and safe behaviors in this hopes that by the time we cannot put off buying you a phone any longer, you will have developed the maturity to use it well.

Results to this point have not been encouraging.

You are coping with school okay (still on the honor roll as of this writing. and other than the fact that I get my feelings hurt as I am moved further and further out of your world (I am trying hard to adapt - I really am) most of the time you continue to be a great kid.

And then without warning, you occasionally go batshit insane.

Never about anything reasonable - you are not happy about my not allowing you to have Instagram, for instance - or about the few occasions when you have had your electronics privileges revoked for minor transgressions. On those occasions, we talk, you voice your arguments, I explain my position. Life goes on. So that level of maturity makes it so much more mystifying when - like the time I told you that it was too late to take a bath - you completely lose your damned mind.

I sympathize - I really do. I know you are in the grip of forces beyond your control or understanding. And I remember having been there myself. But some times..

A few years back when we were yelling at one another, I decided to follow the common parenting advice and "remove myself" from the situation till tempers cooled. So I'd gotten in the habit of going in my room and simply closing the door. Shortly after that, we came up with the idea of slipping a piece of paper or a notebook under my door and continuing the argument in written form.

It has worked pretty well. As we write, we gradually calm down, begin to find common ground, and eventually start making jokes.  That's why I have as it were "notes" from our argument this past week.  I present them here as a time capsule of puberty's early days and what we both went through.

To this day I have NO idea what this was about. Zero. Zip. None.  I knew that you would have been missing your friends after our week in St. Louis and so I gave you a good 2+ hours online with them (as opposed to the rule of 30 minutes). Eventually, since it was a school night I told you it was time to wrap up, gave you another 15-20 minutes and then told you to get to bed again.

You went into your room, closed the door - and some time later came out and lobbed a notebook into my room before going back into your room again. Attempts to talk to you failed, so over the next hour we had the following exchange in writing (you in red and me in blue):

Dear Father,
I didn't mean to be so mean. It's just that I want some time alone cuz I haven't seen my friends in 2 week.
SORRY!!
GOOD NIGHT
THIS PROBABLY WON'T MEAN ANYTHING OUT THERE
I REALLY DON'T CARE ANYMORE. SAY YOU LOVE ME ALL YOU WANT IT WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING
FINE I SEE HOW IT IS!!
GOOD NIGHT
(I'm very mad)
  Huh???
 You see how what is?  And why are you mad? I let you have 2 hours e-time and I stayed in my room to give you privacy most of the night. You only got fussed at because you farted around when it was bed time. I think I have been VERY reasonable and understanding. 
WELL GUESS WHAT......?
I CAN TELL YOU DON'T CARE ANY WAY SO...
YOUR GONNA ACT LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT BUT I DON'T CARE EITHER.
YOU DON'T WANT TO TALK ANY WAY SO...
BYE 
I am genuinely sorry that you feel I don't care and sorry (and puzzled) that you are so angry with me when I was trying hard to make your day a little easier. And sorrier still that you will go to bed angry and that I won;t be able to tuck you in. 
I know that you don;t believe that, but that does not make it any less true. 
STOP LIEING
YOU ALWAYS SAY THAT AND THEN YOU GO OFF SAY THE OPPOSITE. I'M REALLY NOT IN THE MOOD. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE.
 I do not lie.
You may choose not to believe, which is your right.
I have tried to give you more time and made you angry.
I have apologized and been called a liar.
I can't think of where to go from here. Call me a liar all you like, but I love you and am sad that you are angry (and confused)
Can' think of what else to say. Sweet dreams and I hope tomorrow will be better than today. 
YEAH WHATEVER
GOODNIGHT JERK
YOU THINK IM GONNA COME BACK WELL YOUR WRONG
BYE FOREVER
VERY :(