Saturday, November 07, 2009
Yesterday, a dream came true. It wasn't a longterm dream. It's just begun in the past year or so and started as a threat to my hard-headed 13-year-old. Tucker is my youngest of three children and he can fight with me from sun up to sun down. I have firmly entered the world of parents who don't have a clue, according to him.
I'm not sure why I was surprised that he is such a difficult teenager. When I was in labor with Tucker, the nurse midwife came in the room to see how much I was dilated. As she checked, down there beneath the sheet, a puzzled look crossed her face.
"I've never seen this before," she said.
"What?" Earl and I both asked worried for our unborn child.
"The baby is shaking his head like he's saying no."
We laughed. That was funny. But it was only a harbinger of things to come.
I remember now that I told people, "I never knew what people meant by 'the terrible twos' until I had Tucker." And that was true. I was bribing him with Menthos to follow my directions. He was stubborn and determined. I reassured myself that he would make a great grown up. He would never be a follower.
And this year, he turned 13. How can I possibly have been surprised that he argues with me constantly? The arguments are always stupid.
Put away your dishes. Pick up your clothes. Eat something healthy. He listens, and he may comply, but not when I ask him. I know enough to walk away and hope he follows through.
Earl is still hoping for immediate compliance. That is not going to happen because then it would look like Tucker was actually doing what we want. He's not willing to give that much.
It's not all bad, of course. Sometimes it reminds so much of his two-year-old self, you know the times when they run ahead, but they keep looking back to make sure Mom is still there following. They want to be independent, but they want to be sure someone is there to keep them safe.
And sometimes, in the middle of the night, I'll hear his voice: "I have a stomachache" or "I have a headache" he'll say as he slides into bed next to us. The stomachache and headache are probably just excuses. He needs to know that he can climb into bed with us and get a hug or some concern. He still needs us.
When Tucker is rude or flip, I take away his phone or I take away his iPod. Removing the phone is like grounding him because he can't communicate to make plans with his friends.
The past few months, I've begun to threaten boarding school. I mutter to my friends that the British have it right, sending their 11-year-olds off to boarding school until they become bearable again.
Then Friday my dream came true. A letter arrived for Tucker that said "Admissions Office" on the return address. A recruiting letter from a high school boarding school that has an elite swim team. They want Tucker! I was doing a little happy dance.
He actually was pleased to receive it. He can brag about it to his friends that the school is recruiting him because of his great swim times.
We don't plan to ship him off, but it's nice to know there's a back-up plan, just in case taking away the iPod and phone stops working.
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