When it comes to the whims of teenagers, some are more tolerable than others.
|Being a parent of a child (now a teenager) means suffering the side effects of whatever trend takes hold of him at the moment. |
When he was three, and my son’s Thomas the Tank Engine obsession made our place look like a mock up of the entire US railway system, I thought it was cute. When he happened to catch a rodeo on the television and became fascinated with that, I didn’t mind. I happily ordered him stuffed bulls and a cowboy hat, bought toy horses, and “yippie ki yayed” my fool head off as I watched him stage his own events.
I’ve survived skateboarding, BMX biking, and the time his father introduced him to his favorite groups, Led Zeppelin and Boston, and I thought my ears would bleed as a result. However, this latest obsession may be my undoing. The “roll, roll, slam! roll, roll, slam!” of Tech Deck madness has overtaken our home.
What looks like chaos spread all over his bedroom floor is actually his miniature version of a skate park. Books, plastic jumps and walls, rails, and tiny, begging-to-be-stepped-on versions of skateboards are all just surfaces on which to practice his finger skating awesomeness. It also makes vacuuming in there an adventure.
Months, and I mean months, of practice have brought him to the skill level he was aiming at while simultaneously interrupting my sleep, thought processes, and sanity, and it’s not like I had a whole lot of the last two to begin with. It wouldn’t be so bad if he confined his finger skating to his miniature skate park setups, but no horizontal surface in our home is safe from the noisy practice despite my efforts to stealth around the place, leaping out like an agility-challenged ninja to yell about not using the kitchen, bathroom, furniture, et cetera, as his personal playground.
When my son was a toddler and I patiently lectured him that everything was not his toy, that some things belonged to mommy and daddy and he had to learn to respect that, I envisioned a day when such cautions would not be necessary. Now that he’s 14, and I spend my days inspecting my counters, sinks, stovetop, and shelving for Tech Deck tracks, I know that I’m still waiting for that day. I don’t allow myself the realization that it’s not coming, and don’t you burst my bubble about that either.
Now I understand why some parents steer their children to, things like mastering chess, or starting a stamp collection. They’re quiet hobbies!
My approach has always been that as he’s generally a good kid and does well in school, I try to be supportive of his pleasurable pursuits so long as they’re safe, legal, and not morally reprehensible. However, this latest “pursuit” threatens to push me over the edge, and the kid seems to know exactly where the line is, easing up right before my voice and body explode with demonic fury at him. “Am I driving you crazy, mom?” he’ll ask with a sly grin. I usually reply in the affirmative with a reminder and warning of just how short a trip that really is.
I’ve tried interesting him in other things, but that only works for a little while. I’ve even thought of fighting fire with fire, but my own hobbies of reading, writing, and knitting are hardly noisy enough to be annoying. Although I suppose I could run around the place yelling and making noise while I knit, but I’d probably drop a stitch, or worse -- given my level of physical coordination -- fall and impale myself on the needles, solving one of my husband’s problems but doing nothing for my own.
Sometimes it’s enough to make me nostalgic for the ear bleeding days of Led Zeppelin and Boston.
In the meantime, I try not to let it get to me. It’s just a phase, a particularly annoying one, but a phase, I tell myself. I resist the urge to tiptoe into his room after he falls asleep and snatch up all his finger skating paraphernalia. I try not to snap at my husband anymore when he asks me what I’m doing as I’m bent over the kitchen countertop, flashlight and magnifying glass in hand, looking for telltale signs of tiny, skateboarding trespassers.
“This too shall pass,” I remind myself; like a kidney stone, perhaps, but it’ll pass.