Sunday, November 28, 2010

Growing Pains

Introducing a preteen to what will come is always dicey. 

With my first few children, I thought hard facts about the science and biology were the way to go.  Discussing the matter in a straight forward developmentally correct manner, I had to endure kids literally plugging their ears and saying, "Nahnahahahahahah. Can't hear you.  Oh! Mom!  I forgot about my homework/cleaning my room/back taxes..." If they caught the whiff of an idea that I was trying to have "the talk" with any of them, they beat a hasty exit, outside in 30 degree weather, in rain, or downstairs to hide in the back basement with the spider crickets.   Independently of each other, all of them learned not to come back to the kitchen until they were sure I'd been sufficiently distracted to drop the subject.  

So taboo was the topic of development that I had to devise a whole new vocabulary for communicating in some cases, though I wasn't always sure what I needed to pick up when I'd get a request for "things"  (which I learned could mean razors, deodorant, toiletries and/or certain clothing). 

Now, as I broach the topic of maturation and growing up, I've learned to sprinkle it in as I'm ministering to other needs.  The approach is still a work in progress so I've had limited success.  "You need a hair cut and speaking of hair..." didn't work very well as an intro to upcoming changes; whereas showing up with new clothing and deodorant with the instructions to use daily forced them to hear what I said. Even so, I was still subjected to the pretend dying with all four limbs straight up in rigor mortis performance, a vow to enter the priesthood, and a guarantee from a third that she would never date ever.

I'm not sure why my kids are so dead set against enduring how nature has made them. It may be a sign of their collective wisdom and intelligence that they are so fearful. I remember adolescence, it was rotten and unpleasant and awkward and annoying and I cried a lot. But as for side stepping it, I personally never gave it a thought, let alone considered trying to openly rebel against the inevitable. Adolescence was like chicken pox, an unpleasant experience full of itches one couldn't scratch, ugliness, breakouts and isolation, all of which had to be simply endured.  Mercifully, you could only get it once.    As of yet, there is no vaccine to eliminate the experience of the ages 11-18 though I'm sure there is federal funding to look into the matter.

Fortunately, with five who are still staunchly in the kid to toddler phase of development, I have time to refine my skills and perhaps find a happy medium where I don't wind up scarring their psyches.  I worried we had somehow scared our children about the path to adulthood until my 8 year old came to me the other day and said, "When can I get my ears pierced...and wear makeup....and high heels?"  Her heart full of romance at the idea of growing up, I suddenly pined for a display of the dying dog pose as my own brain wanted to say, "NahNahnahnahnahnah...Can't hear you...Oh, I have to go organize the basement, make a scrapbook for each of you, fill out financial aid forms and file taxes..."

Memo to me: find out what I did that made the earlier ones nervous and repeat...

No comments:

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!