Monday, November 12, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Preteen

I'm not prepared for the next seven years. 

Is it just me or is raising a child agonizing at times? 

Oh don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about.  How do you feel when a middle school teacher says your boy is really kind and you snort back a laugh that you can't quite disguise? 

What you see when you're with him is that he calls you weird when you straighten a crooked pile at the store, asks in disgust what better thing you have to do when you tell him you can't pick up his new video game tomorrow, and throws a tantrum because you won't let him spend all of the cash you gave him right now on a toy you planned to get him for Christmas.  He argues against taking out the garbage even if it's the only thing he's responsible for all week.  He leaves dirty dishes, piles of toys, and bits of food and garbage every time he moves from one spot to another.  He won't take a shower all weekend unless someone pretty who is his age happens to be coming to the house.  You get dizzy with all the television and video games he plays and when you ask him to read a book or, God forbid, to write a sentence, he looks at you as if you're an alien.  He hates exercise of any form, even if it's karate, which you pay an ungodly amount for every month because he swears it's his thing, but then he hisses at you when you tell him he needs to go more than once a week.  Yes, I said that he hisses.  It's a misery to get him to walk a single mile with you at the dog park. And don't even think about his spiritual state of mind.  He wants to join the military to fight in a war when you marched in the protest against it.  And he tells you he wants to kill something so he can make a leather-bound book from scratch.  Does that tell you anything about his spiritual state of mind?  Mind, body, and soul, you feel, at best, distaste and at worst, anger and futility.  And that was just today after he got home from his sleepover at a friend's house.

Then, for the second time in a week, your friend, someone who doesn't even know the above-referenced teacher, calls him kind. 

Just who are these people talking about? 

Are all twelve-year old boys like this?  Is this my fault because I was too strict with him or my husband's fault because he was coddled?  Will he change into a human being before I die in agony? 

My excuse is that I blame the television, but my husband doesn't want him to turn the damn thing off.  He wants him to log the time instead, then work with those numbers.  It's more likely that the log book will lie forgotten on the table beside the couch until I am driven batty from the sound of commercials next Sunday afternoon.  I want to take a sledge hammer to the television and let him earn the money for a small television by working in the yard, then I want to charge him to run that as well.  I would charge $7 per hour for TV time.  It would be nice if it were also hooked to a stationary bike and he had to pedal to see the screen.  Or maybe it should be hooked to the vacuum cleaner.  Why can't someone invent something like that?  Oh, that's right, they have, but where can I buy one?  Instead, our TVs are designed so that we need to move less.  Don't get up.  You can switch the TV on and change channels from your seat.  I'm amazed they don't come with little conveyor belts with chips and cheesecake swinging past now and then.  Some people put the mini-fridges next to their couches so they work as an end table and they need to do nothing more than lean forward to grab a quart-sized soda during a commercial. 

Okay, it's not just the television. 

I know it.  I've failed my son.  I'm going to have to give up on the things I hoped for his future.  He's not even going to be able to hold down a job as a landscaper.  Those people actually use their muscles.  I'm going to have to live with someone with whom I have little in common, who has only a small bit of respect or regard for anyone else in the house, who has almost no ambition to move or to educate himself, and who sees no beauty in the world.  This is not a self-sustaining system.

We're having a rather bad day with a forecast for more to come.

Thank you for listening, jules

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