There is something very scary about the crossover from 12 years old into teenage land. Not for the child (ahem, young man) of course. He's elated. Even though this new milestone has very little impact on anything in his life as far as rules for bedtime and social schedule goes. Besides the number itself, the only noticeable change is the tone in his voice and facial expressions when his dad or I talk to him about ANYTHING. He's still a full six months from the big "13" but, our youngest is already starting to act the part. Meaning, he's inherited the entire worlds wisdom.
Our conversations as of late go something like this:
Mom: Turn the TV down; I could hear it when I pulled into the garage.
Soon-to-be teenager: Nothing. In fact, I don't think he even notices me standing in front of the television... because he's playing a game on his phone!
Mom: "Hey! Turn the television down!" This startles him.
Soon-to-be teenager: "OK, geez! You don't have to yell! It was this loud when I turned it on. Why do you blame me for everything?" This is always followed with a very exaggerated eye roll.
Dad: "Put your phone away at the table."
Soon-to-be teenager: There's no response because he has ear phones in. He looks up when he feels us looking at him, rolls his eyes and goes right back to texting his friend he was just with 30 minutes ago. So my husband tried again in a much louder voice.
Dad: "I said, 'put your phone away.' If I have to ask you one more time, were taking it away."
As he pulls his earphones out, our almost-teenage youngest child gives us that "I am so moving out when I turn 18" look and goes on to lose his device because of that little look. Some kids just have to learn the hard way that WE (parents) have every right to take away anything WE paid for if the owner (teenager) is acting like an ungrateful little twit.
The personality difference between girls and boys is even clearer in this teen stage. While my friends are taking their daughters to get pedicures or see the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, I struggle to get a response outside of "huh," "nu uh" or "I don't know" from my boys.
There will come a day when we will all laugh at the fun stuff our kids put us through during those tumultuous teenage years. For now, it's just easier to recognize that teenagers can sometimes be responsible for giving parents premature gray hair, ulcers, weight gain, acne, and in some extreme cases, mental disorders. And the reason we do all this? So one day we can say to our child what our parents said to us long ago, "I hope you have a child just like you!"