People told me that if I could live through raising teenage girls, the boy would be nice to me.
Those people lied.
This kid of mine, the last one home, the boy who would crawl in bed and watch SportsCenter with us, squishing his 6ft frame between his incredible shrinking parents, has turned. He used to talk about sports and music and school and really, really dumb YouTube videos.
Now he says nothing at all. And I can’t stand it.
It took 51 one years, but I am finally outnumbered by men. Kid3 out of the house for freshman year, Kid2 unfathomably, ridiculously thriving in college, and Kid1 is completely off the payroll (apt, job, benefits. WINNING!).
So these days it’s just rather attractive husband, the boy, and me.
How’s it going?
Some friends thought Boy would talk non-stop once the girls were gone, being he could barely get a word in the past 15 years or so.
I was afraid the girls would leave and no one would ever make a sound in my house again.
The house is a man cave; the only sound, the da-da, da-da of ESPN echoing through the rooms.
His preferred method of communication is texting. I can do that; I’ll speak his language!! Except I get one word, or one letter, answers to texts, usually:
Y. N. Done. K. Food? deli? Here?
Monosyllabic grunts pepper any attempt at real conversation too. Plenty of male head nods, acceptable in some sort of male hierarchy athletic bullshit language, like I’m a lax bro or soccer pro, which sends this menopausal mamma over the edge. So I calmly promised to follow him into school, practice, chem lab, diner – where ever – braless and in my pjs, and coochy-coo-kiss him in front of all his friends and remind him to take his allergy nose spray if he EVER male head nods me again. This, thus far, has worked, and I highly recommend it.
I did learn to dap though, this is the preferred form of greeting, good-bye, congratulations, and oh-man-that-sucks-condolence offering for the 16 and under crowd. Quite useful, until I dapped the entire JV soccer team and am now banned from ever doing so again, which I completely understand. I overstepped, but I was starved for information, so can you blame me? Was trying to speak to the natives, you know?
Now that he’s flying solo, he gets the good cereal. The real junky stuff – vacation cereal – because someone once advised this was a good transition for the last kid standing. Kinda like bringing a gift for the older sibling when a new baby arrived. The girls are furious, but he eats a Costco-size box of this crap a week, usually in one sitting, measured in two episodes of The Office.
While he barely speaks to us these days, he apparently snapchats and texts his sisters all the time. He misses them, and maybe that’s what he’s trying to tell me in his sullen, moody way. He misses the noise and commotion and endless chatter as much as I do. The dirty dishes, the empty ice cream cartons, the fighting, laughing, and teasing. The disgusting bathroom, endless episodes of The Office, and car rides to school sneaking in mandatory stops at Dunkin. Their loud, embarrassing voices are gone from bleachers, and their welcome buffer to the onslaught of attention from the ‘rents.
Perhaps the silence is too much for him to deal with, so he prefers the Bartleby response: he prefers not to answer. And I don’t blame him. Not one bit.
Teresa from NanaHood
Great article. We had four boys and one girl. The last two were twin boys and because they talked to each other I knew about their day, what they were thinking, doing etc. Never did the other boys. So my suggestion is when your sons friends are over, eavesdrop! lol
Exactly: he doesn’t have his license yet, so when I’ve got him and a car full of boys, I eavesdrop on every word!
Great post. I’m not as far down the parenting road and your posts always give me a wonderful glimpse into the possibilities for the future. The part that made me tear was how much in contact he is with his sisters. That’s the best and I hope it makes you proud. I was the younger sister at home, calling, sending (real) letters to my sister away at school, and going to visit. The best and the worst all rolled in to one.
The future ain’t that far away, thazforsure. They send real letters too — which I love that they do — and I do so love that they have a link outside of the “be nice to your sister/brother” cuz mom said so. They tend to like each other, at least the seem too, so I guess I haven’t messed up this parenting gig all that bad.
This is a such a great article. I feel for you, but you wrote about it all so cleverly, I had to laugh! “Vacation cereal!!” And if it makes you feel better, even the single letter text responses you get beat the the non-existent ones I often get (or don’t get!) from my daughter–and she’s 33!
Thanks for laughing, that’s the goal — to keep laughing! PS: loved your piece on HuffPost.
Jamie @ Medium Sized Family
My oldest isn’t quite 12 yet, so we haven’t hit these years. It’s interesting to read your perspective, especially since we are extremely boy heavy here. 4 boys, 1 girl. I wonder what our teen years will be like?
All those boys; mine would be jealous!
In a couple of years, I’ll be able to smell your house from here! Axe & b.o.! (you’ll miss it)