Those were Plum’s (17) last words to me last night. He was clearly frustrated, annoyed and angry but instead of yelling and screaming, he remained outwardly calm and chose instead to walk away. I was proud of him for that. But, he is his mother’s son and he couldn’t walk away without getting, or at least trying to get a parting shot or the last word. “There is nothing that you care about, is there?” he said to me. I paused, thought for a beat and said “I’m not sure what you mean when you say that” and he said “ponder it a while then” and closed the basement door and returned to his room and world of MSN chat, Facebook status updates and YouTube.
Perhaps I should start somewhere closer to the middle, the beginning would take all year.
I had to make an unscheduled run to Wal-Mart yesterday evening, after tucking all the smalls into bed, to fill a prescription. Also, we were out of banana and my smalls just don’t start their days right without a banana with their breakfasts 😉 So, while in Wal-Mart my phone rings. It’s Plum. After asking me where I was and what was up (um, you called me, remember?!?) he asked if he could go to the gym later on (time of the call was 8:45pm). Keep in mind, it’s a school night, the first week of a new semester and he is not in his strongest position, school-wise right now. So, I asked him what time he would be home and he said “oh, 11:45 or 12ish.” Um, what? Lemme see here. It’s a school night, curfew on school nights is 10pm (which I still think is insanely late during the week, but that’s another discussion) but going to the gym is NOT a reason to lift curfew. I talked with him for a few minutes while pushing my cart through the store.
I was trying to be diplomatic and calm, but it got harder and harder, the more he pushed to get what he wanted. He couldn’t see why it was a problem since he would be awake until 1 or 2 am anyway. Or because when he was working he would come home that late or later on school nights (which I reminded him had always been a problem as well). Or that he was quiet when he came in. Or it shouldn’t be a problem because he was going somewhere not just hanging out or “whatever.” I heard what he had to say, and if you’ve never had to deal with teenager demands, via cellphone, while in Wal-Mart, all I can say is, DON’T. The conversation went from bad to worse before it ended. Hanging up, I admit I was annoyed that I had allowed him to get to me, to use ‘that tone’ on me, you may know the one – it’s the one that teenagers use to convey to you that you’re a complete idiot and really shouldn’t be out unsupervised because in your idiotic state, you may forget to breathe. But, I digress.
My point was and is that I don’t care if you are 7 or 17 or 27. The house rules are the house rules. Curfews are set for a reason and turning 18 (yes, Plum is 18 in two weeks) won’t change the curfews or the rules. If anything, the older my children get, the more I expect of them. I expect them to do more, to be kinder, more mature, responsible and respectful, show greater consideration for those around them. My only expectations of Ms. Moon for the past 20 months were that she be adorable. She has excelled at that, but now, she’s shaking things up and in the last week has decided that her youngest brother is a better chewy toy than playmate, so being on high alert for her baring her pearly whites in his direction has taken on top priority when they are together (which is almost all of the time).
Anyway, I cut my trip to the store short and headed home. I did some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, put away the few groceries I had managed to purchased (sale prices only, of course!), and sat down to go through my email and clean out my inbox. When Plum appeared soon after, and indicated that ‘if he were allowed to go to the gym tonight…'(you can fill the blanks), I took the opportunity to reiterate in shorthand: my house, my rules, curfews are curfews for a reason and while he may not appreciate or understand my position, that on this one, I was not compromising any further. Not impressed, he stalked out of the room but not without taking his parting shot “”There is nothing that you care about, is there?” Me: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying with that one” Him: “Well, ponder it then.”
Did I push his face in at that point? No. Was I tempted, yes. But I didn’t. I pondered. And then I it pondered some more. And what I realized was that this whole thing was his way of throwing a temper tantrum and trying to get me to engage in a full-on war over something that I didn’t need to fight about. Seven and seventeen have more than just the ‘seven’ in common, you know? It may be normal behaviour for kids to try whatever they can to get what they want, but unless I remind myself to breathe through these trials, I lose sleep, cry a river of tears, ,get MAD and then feel like the worst mother on the planet. But, I’m not. I’m not the greatest ever, but I’m far from the worst, and I am always trying to improve and get better at things – for my family and for myself. I love my kids. I do my BEST to take care of their NEEDS and as many of their WANTS as possible, but part of my job as MOM is to be the bad guy and try to teach the hard life lessons sometimes. It sucks, and nobody told me almost 18 years ago that one day my sweet, beautiful, perfect baby boy would paint me as the enemy on a daily basis, but if they had, being barely older than he is now, I wouldn’t have listened anyway, would I have?
This too shall pass and he will love me again one day (like when his kids are pulling stunts on him, maybe?)
Any temper tantrum stories to share? Dealt with a difficult teenager? (and no, my parents are not allowed to share stories of my adolescence. My blog, my rules *grin* 😉