Maybe the teen years will be OK

By Mir
February 6, 2009

Yesterday afternoon didn’t start out well; once again, my kids had a substitute bus driver. Normally, we’re the first stop on the route, but when there’s a sub, they always ends up doing the route backwards and we become the last stop.

This results in the kids getting home a full hour later than usual. And in me calling the bus garage to try to explain—AGAIN—why it is really not okay with me that every so often the bus simply DISAPPEARS with no warning or explanation, and I’m supposed to use my powers of ESP to figure out that everything is fine, my children are merely being UNEXPECTEDLY HELD HOSTAGE. I may have been a little snippier than usual, even, yesterday, on account of the delay meant we missed a doctor’s appointment. Hmph.

So the kids got home and we had to rush rush rush to have a snack and get them out the door again, to get to the afternoon’s activities.

Both kids actually held up very well under the strain, and were in good spirits despite their prolonged tour of our town and then the rush to leave the house again.

The problem came when Otto kindly offered to pick up Chickadee for me, later. I guess he arrived a few minutes earlier than planned, foiling her chance to play longer with her friends, and she was Not Happy. She was so Not Happy that she stomped in the door, cried and yelled and complained, and got sent to her room to cool off. She was so Not Happy that after both a conversation with me and a separate one with Otto, she still ended up electing to stay in her room for half of dinner while she pulled herself together.

Eventually she recovered and emerged and joined us at the table and was perfectly pleasant. Really, that would’ve been progress enough for me.

But the extra special bonus happened later that evening.

Otto and I were sitting together in our big comfy chair in the family room, chatting and snuggling while the kids got ready for bed and talked to their dad on the phone. Chickadee suddenly came careening around the corner and fairly leapt into our laps. We giggled as she made a great show of arranging herself just so—stretched across both of us, head resting on Otto’s chest, drawn up knees against my chest—and then she sighed a gigantic, theatrical sigh.

“You guys are THE BEST,” she said, hooking one arm around Otto and the other around me.

Otto and I exchanged glances.

“Awwww, thank you, honey,” I replied, giving her a little squeeze. “That’s so sweet!” She pulled us even tighter and sighed again. “And I guess now would probably be a good time to tell you that… well, we’ve decided to keep you!”

I waited a split second for the howls of indignation (at the implied choice in the matter) that were sure to come, but instead, she flung her arms wide in a grandiose gesture.

“That’s ASTOUNDING!” she declared.

Otto and I exchanged glances, again.

“I mean,” she continued, matter-of-factly, bringing her arms down and tucking them around us again, “considering some of my recent behavior and all.”

I did not, in fact, wet myself in the laughter that followed, but there were a couple moments there when I was a little worried.

I’m so glad we decided to keep her.


  1. Aimee

    Heh. That’s awesome.

  2. Mama Bear

    So sweet, those moments are priceless. We always tell our kids, when they whine about what awful parents we are, that there is a Men’s Department and a Women’s Department in many of the local stores, and they are free to go buy a new mom and dad there if they would like. Oh, and that perhaps we may go to the Children’s Department and buy all new children as well.

  3. Barbara

    Very intelligent girl. Much like her Mom.

  4. Megan

    From the depths of the teen years I think I can say that yes, they’re actually not so bad at all – particularly with those kids with just enough sense of humor to know (now and then) just how ridiculous they’re being. In fact, heresy I know, I actually quite like the teen years. Mostly.

  5. Grace

    That was HILARIOUS!

  6. CrystalM

    I am so glad to hear it is not just my child who acts like an alien one moment, then completely redeems herself the next. I keep reminding myself that these years will pass, and more than likely she will come out of them as an amazing human being. I hope!

  7. Katie in MA

    Kids seem to have this innate sense of when they need to be extra sweet and witty so we don’t kill them. I’m glad you decided to keep her, if only so we can still follow The Adventures of Tween-aged Chickadee!

  8. MomCat

    If you decide later that you don’t want her, we’ll take her. She’s got as great a sense of humor as her mom!

  9. Angela

    Wonderful. I can only hope that mine know when to they need to bat their little eyelashes and cuddle with me!

  10. Leila

    WOW! If you ever change your mind, please send her over to us. We love her and have plenty of toys.


  11. annette

    Helloooooo?????? Today is FRIDAY! I am going to suffocate with all this extra love stuff on it’s unappointed day :)!

  12. exile on mom street

    Sounds like a wonderful conversation with a wonderful girl.

    Unlike many of your wonderful paretning “lines” I will not be repeating it though as “we’ve decided to keep you” is never funny to an adopted child, I imagine.

  13. Kaycee

    Your girl sounds awesome. I think I need to have one!

    I wouldn’t wish being a teenage girl on anyone, having a close relationship with my mom is the only thing that pulled me through.

    I think you’ll do great.

  14. All Adither

    Moments like that have gotta give you hope. I’m glad you have such a special girl (and boy).


  15. LizD

    Lovely stuff! But the title? BWAHAHAHA

  16. Heather

    Haha! What a great kid you’ve got :)
    (Two of ’em, really, but this one’s all about chickie heh.)

  17. tj

    Remember this when it gets worse. You’ll be okay :)

  18. Sheila

    If you’re keeping slightly difficult preteen girls, would you keep mine?

    I promise to take her back before college tuition comes due.

  19. The Mother

    The teen years will be full of moments: the moments when you want to kill them, the moments when you wonder which truck dropped them off in your lap, the moments when they seem to have morphed into someone else. The trick is to keep your sense of humor, so you can enjoy the moments when you remember why you let them live this long.

  20. Burgh Baby

    I am very suspicious of this whole “I know I haven’t been fun to be around” thing. Very suspicious, mostly because my kid is in the midst of the same sort of thing. Is the apocalypse just around the corner?

  21. O.G.

    Great story…makes me want to be a parent some day.

  22. Lylah

    I just had a great hourlong hang-out-in-the-kitchen-while-chatting with my oldest (15), and I so totally relate to this post. I’m glad we decided to keep her, too.

  23. sheila

    My first thought when I saw your title was, “Uh, Yeah, Don’t count on that!” lol.

    As the mom of three teens, it’s a rollercoaster ride…one which almost broke me a few years back and I came close to spending the rest of my life rocking away in a padded room.

    So good luck with that, lol, and enjoy the fleeting moments of good attitudes.

  24. Aubri

    Oh Mir! Great post (as always). I’m pretty sure Chickadee and I are identical twins separated by decades… Everything that you write about her behavior, I sit back and say, “Whoa… me. Whoa!” (Yes, I am just that eloquent) You handle her behavior with a lot of humor, which is what my own mama did, and it is (and did for me) working out beautifully

    Way to raise awesome kiddos!

  25. Michelle

    Aww, that is sweet. In a sort of weird way.

  26. Catherine P

    I wonder some days if I am going to make it thru pre-teen years with my Step daughter. she’s 11 and OMG…I truly wonder.

    One of her few chores is to wipe down the kitchen counters. Today when I got home you could see the counters were WET and nothing had been cleaned off she merely swiped at them with a SOPPING wet sponge. So I called her in and asked if the counters were cleaned correctly. She indignantly yelled at me (which is the WRONG thing to do honestly!) that THEY ARE CLEAN. So I advised her ok. Then she could eat her supper right off of the counter and that would be fine for me. She hurumphed and got pissy and I asked her if they were really clean or if they needed wiped down again. Her attitude back to me was…Well if you want them YOUR clean then do it yourself. OMG..I am 9 1/2 months pregnant. I have been working 60 hours a week to pay for HER extra curricular activities and she said that to me!!! Needless to say her father quickly broke in and dealt with her before I wrang her little neck.

    I pray this will get easier.

  27. the planet of janet

    teens have, by definition, multiple personality disorder.

    the pea-soup-spewing, 360-head-spinning child who stand before you will, in all likelihood, ask you to tuck her in, snuggle and whisper “i love you” at bedtime.

    makes my head hurt, but it DOES keep us from killing them in the bad moments. ;-)

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