The Thing About Teenagers…

Is this thing on?

Back from an absence and to be honest I was stalling quite a bit to write and to post because I’m feeling very compelled to give my blog a whole refresh again especially in time for my bloggerversary in April. However, like a prisoner with a lucky break, time just seems to escape me.

Anywhooo…

I’ve been steadily trying to adjust properly into my new role as Trini mom of two teens (and by steadily, I mean from about October of 2021). Everything is in full swing now though and while sometimes I run like clockwork, there are many days when I feel like…Jesus just take the wheel, the car, the tune-up, the monthly installments AND the insurance because EYE not able with this!!!

Tew….much…

I feel like NO-ONE adequately informed me about mothering teenagers and I have questions. The sad part is that in my decade (plus) career as an Educator (including a lengthy spell as a Dean of Discipline), you would think that I would have learnt a thing or two about dealing with them. I did, but here’s the thing though, I can’t send mine home to their parents or suspend them from school for seven days to get them out my sight. They actually live in my house so alas, there is no separation of church and state. This is outright corruption and it stink.

Knowledge is power though and I am definitely learning every damn day. If you thought the lack of sleep/milk factory newborn stage is rough or the draining/demanding toddler stage is exhausting, guess what? It just morphs into a new set of challenges at the adolescent stage where you (more often than not) question your sanity, walk on eggshells, get irritated quickly, manage your expectations and worry….and oh you will worry…. a lot….more than you need to, but as much as you want to. Once you have children “it” never ends.

Here are a couple things I’ve learnt on this journey so far:

  • Teens want space. All of a sudden, I live a house with a corridor flanked by closed doors (NOT locked in my damn house). I knock for proof of life but most times I don’t need to as I usually hear giggling or bantering as they are ‘online’ with their friends. They don’t know how lucky they have it nah.
  • Said space will be acceptable to their standards which means it will be messy as hell if you don’t reign it in. I usually tell my gremlinz to at least neaten it up, nobody is saying to put down a Christmas cleaning, but try not to have stuff strewn all over when there are clear receptacles available.
  • Said space will also be the prison for your missing cutlery and crockery. When I see the stacks of dishes emerge from their dungeons in the evening, I shake my head and wonder how personally invested I would have to be in order to NOT make this a “thing” as de young people like to say. (Answer: Not that invested, and it depends on what the stack looks like.)
  • There is a slight obsession with hair. The elder gremlin asked me to grow his out while he would need curl activator and a hair sponge. (Naturally I enabled this as casual observation from the after-school population shows that teen boys find and express themselves through hairstyles). The younger gremlin all of a sudden wants to “see” what her hair would look like straight, it’s too thick for her to handle and apparently, I don’t do a well-enough job to make her look fly. Then she changes her mind because she gets fed up easily. She wouldn’t drive me mad.
  • Bad moods are de rigueur. Sometimes they scowl, fret and argue for no reason. One minute they will make their own breakfast, next minute they’re mad because I didn’t make anything for them. No amount of “this-is-the-day-that-the-Lord-hath-made-we-will-rejoice-and-be-glad-in-it” will help. My house gets very angsty and most times I just leave them alone yes because I doh want no bad vibes and they wouldn’t drive me mad.
  • You compete with headphones and earphones for their attention so they don’t “hear” you. Thankfully I have 5-year-old #gremlin3 who dutifully serves as town crier when necessary so I am safe. He handles the sentence “MUMMY CALLIN YUH!!!” with such ease.
  • Teens are masterful in identifying the random moments when they feel like talking. It is at this point you laser your focus to make sure that it appears as though you are doing nothing or doing some nonchalant activity. At this very random time they just appear, start with one word and then the rest follows like word vomit. For this sharing of thoughts I am always grateful but of course expect them to disappear shortly after they have unloaded on you.
  • Teens still need physical touch. They might roll their eyes, hit you the “oh gosh man!” or the “don’t be weird”, but they melt like butter once they get hugs etc. and then for a brief moment you see the inner child flicker in their eyes.

I’ve learnt so much more, but these are my main lessons. I still feel like as much as they brilliantly package the “what to expect” for pregnancy, babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, all the feverish teachings die out at the later stages of a child’s life so it’s more of a ‘do what works for you but don’t raise no more shitty kids, the world has enough’ scenario. Therefore sometimes I am left with going back to my own teens trying to remember what I liked and didn’t like to influence my present parenting strategy. But then again….these children different….

Am I alone in thinking that way? If you have teenagers, do you feel the same? If you have littles, are you even thinking about coping with the teen years? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow me on:

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Bless!

TMIDM

Could I just shower in peace?

When gremlinz 1 and 2 were younger and gremlin 3 didn’t exist as yet, they made it a glorious habit to bother me as soon as I walked in the bathroom and close the door. Every mother has gone through this at least 47 ¾ times and it is one of the most IRRITATING things about being a mother (and without apology I say MOTHER because when father is dawdling the bathroom, Jah know dem children not bothering him!). So while I was either enthroned or in the shower and pressed with the “Mummyyyyy?!”, I used to shout right back: “Aye, yuh dead? Yuh broken? Yuh bleeding? Anything on fire? If no, wait until I done fuh meh please!!!”. Naturally they eventually took this as a joke and turned it into a game just to hear me say those four lines and run off laughing.

#struggle

Damn miserable…..

Gremlin3 eventually entered the chat and as is the norm, he does things in his own way. So he would literally yell MUMMYYY!! WHERE ARE YOU?? right…outside…the bathroom door while I’m inside like…

Bruh..

And then he would run off.

Here’s the plot twist though. The interruptions are getting less and less now, thank God, but I am yet to find a moment’s peace in the shower. The outward interruptions are now replaced with inward discourse and I’m really starting to wonder and cautiously accept that clearly, I do my deepest thinking in the bathroom, specifically in the shower (however, I don’t hold lengthy devotions on the throne, not my style). My brain seems to operate on another level. For instance, I can go from wondering if my breakfast should be more sweet or savoury to ranking Will Smith movies to thinking about one random student I taught years ago to pondering on whether I would make a decent nun (answer: no).

I try to be mindful in the moment during my baths especially during a super-sized self-care session of wash day and removing body hair and dead skin cells, but my brain won’t let me be zen. Some people can be present and enjoy the experience of a long, luxurious bath. Me? I imagine the synapses firing away while I’m internally debating how wet is too wet for a pelau or revisiting/reimagining difficult conversations with certain people. The latter is the worst. That train of thought could send me into a spiral so much so that when I’m towelling off, I tend to wonder if I need to go and talk to a professional.

big wheels keep on turning…

Now it’s not all negative though eh. Sometimes during those times when I’m alone I get blog ideas, meal ideas, random jokes, new goals or songs from Hamilton stuck in my head (fun fact: much like the album the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the Hamilton soundtrack will stay in your brain for ever…and ever….and ever and ever and everrrrrrrrr……if you know, you know). They say inspiration will hit you where you least expect it. For me, my mind powers up in a steady stream of consciousness at that particular time when I am alone, so I don’t know how unexpected that is anymore. Technically, I’m not really alone either and may never be. That being said, I still get the occasional MUMMYYYYY!!! to snap me back to reality when I all I really want to do is take a shower in peace. Is this weird, strange or even spiritual? I’m curious to know. Where or when do you easily do your deepest thinking? Let me know in the comments below or head to my Instagram page and click follow for more content: https://www.instagram.com/trinimom_indmiddle/

Blessings!

TMIDM

Swimming in the S.E.A. (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I received a document from Mam’zelle’s teacher to pick secondary schools as choices for her to be placed after writing the S.E.A. exam (not sure what the S.E.A. exam is? See my previous post here). I took the document home, folded it and put it on my dresser. It has remained there to this day.

I am anxious about this exam and nervous for Mam’zelle to write it. My first Son-son did it already and I was nowhere near as nervous then as I am now and that’s mainly because they are two different children. She is not as excited about schoolwork and does it grudgingly at times. Other times she shoots fireworks from her fingers. I think also because she is a girl and the world works differently for females, that this also influences how I feel. Make no mistake though, other than the (light/heavy) encouragement from me or the hubby, I make it a concerted effort not to display said anxiety. There is no perfection there as sometimes I let it slip but often when I feel it coming on because she can’t remember a particular spelling or mathematical formula, I step away to vent to my husband or I log on to Facebook to commiserate with other parents who feel the same as a result of this dreaded exam.

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Illustration by Shrikrishna-Patkar (www.hindustantimes.com)

I know I’ve reached that part of the S.E.A. ride where it’s pedal to the metal but I’m really praying for this ride to slow down and stop. I can’t imagine having to wait until May so for that alone, I thank God it was moved to March (although it remains high stakes for a shorter period of time). A couple of weeks ago there was a meeting held for the parents of the standard five girls and I was really glad that my feelings were shared even though I didn’t speak to anybody. The taut body language in the room spoke volumes. In all the years I have attended meetings in that school, I have NEVER seen so many parents (especially the dads….kudos!!) turn out for one year group. There was a lot of nervous energy in the room that no amount of ice breakers, talks and presentations could allay. As a matter of fact, after one of the members of staff did her presentation on how placement occurs, the tension rose and I left because I felt like I needed to breathe.

Since then, I have done my part in remaining in close contact with her teacher, making sure she is physically, mentally and spiritually fed and staying abreast of the conversation about S.E.A. on the networks with other parents which can also drive you crazy if you don’t scroll quickly and limit the amount of comments you read. Examples of Math sums, Language exercises and Creative Writing prompts are posted at various times throughout the day from parents who need help and teachers who want to help. It’s as though everyone is trying to make sure that all 14 million possibilities for this exam are considered in all the three subject areas and coupled with questions, concerns and venting about the exam process, it can become very overwhelming.

Mam’zelle is in lessons Monday to Friday and now Saturdays as well. The way I see it, if the help is offered to keep her brain busy then I’m completely ok with that. She enjoys working with her friends and she listens to her teacher sometimes more than me and I am completely ok with that as well. Any sign of burnout is met with shutdown and sleep and thankfully it hasn’t affected her other than the usual tweenage complaints about school. Of course balance is key so while we don’t have the time for her to be as physically active as she used to be, she is still partaking in one extra-curricular activity because you know….life…….

I am taking it day by day and will continue managing my emotions until the end of this S.E.A. nightmare. Hopefully when I finally get around to filling out that placement document, time will have sped up considerably. In the meantime let me organize breakfast on this goodly Saturday morning and ready myself to drop the child to school.

Blessings

TMIDM