Life with Teenagers

evolution has taught me otherwise

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one bite
“I have two crowds, mom,” says my younger teen at the table spooning black bean and cheese onto a small scrap of flour tortilla, “my skateboard crowd and my heavy metal crowd.”

I’m standing over the table, rationing out the last bit of heuvos rancheros from the pan onto my plate.

“That’s kind of like the same crowd though isn’t it?” I say, as I take a seat at my place. “And what’s wrong with you?” I ask the older teen who is shuffling his beans from side to side on his plate with his fork.

“Nothing mom! he says. “For the last time, nothing is wrong.”

I turn to the younger teen, “I mean, the same kids are in both crowds aren’t they?” My girlfriend puts her hand up, palm facing me in a stop motion.

“Easy now,” she says. “How would you know the differences between the crowds?”

“Is this enough food for everyone?” I ask no one in particular.

“I’ve got mbout six crowms,” says the older teen as he stuffs a rolled-up tortilla wedge into his mouth. He pauses a moment to swallow his bite. “My leader crowd, my work crowd, my Y crowd, the school crowd, MYtheater crowd.” He looks at me now and scrapes more bean and cheese mixture onto the last of his tortilla, leaving one perfectly round hardboiled egg yolk on his plate.

“Ok but, the Y crowd and your work crowd are kind of the same crowd aren’t they?” I ask while crunching a tortilla chip I just grabbed from the bowl in the center of the table.

“Did you just say carowd?” asks the older teen. We are all silent for a minute.

“Umm yeah, I think I did,” I reply.

Laughter erupts from everyone as the older teen launches into a Scottish accent.

“There’s just a wee bit of similarities in those carowds there lassie. Yep, nothing like a carowd of yer friends to…

“Stop!” I say, waving my hands around in the air. “I was thinking of another word and the word crowd at the same time!” I start trying to explain myself and catch my breath from laughing. “But at the last minute,” I say drawing in air, “the word crowd won out so it was kind of a mix of the two.”

“Yeah, I hate it when that happens, mom,” says the younger teen coming to my rescue. “I know what you mean.”

“You didn’t have enough,” I finally say to the older teen when the laughing stops. “I’ll make you some quesadillas.”

He picks up the hard boiled egg yolk and holds it in the air between his two fingers.

“I say we name it. I’ll call him yolkie,” he says.

“Mom can I have that last piece of cake?” asks the younger teen.

“You have to share,” I say and hand one half to my girlfriend on a plate and the other to the teen.

“Dude, are you going to share your piece of cake with me? says the older teen.

“I don’t know son, am I going to get some of your quesadilla?” he asks.

“How about you just give him one bite of your cake.” I say. He looks at me blankly but then cuts off one bite and leaves it balanced precariously on the rim of his plate.

“Here, you can eat this later,” he motions to his plate and looks at his brother, “I wont touch it.”

“You won’t?” I ask. “Oh boy, that’s not going to be easy.”

“I know,” he says, and then thoughtfully, easing back in his chair, “Evolution has taught me otherwise.”

“Dude, you better not or I’ll mess you up,” says the older teen grabbing for the quesadilla I hand him across the table.

“Who is going to feed Treat?” asks my girlfriend.

“Your turn,son,” says the younger teen getting up and turning towards the door.

“Goodbye yolkie, says the older teen faking tears. He snatches up the yellow yolk from his plate and tosses it to the dog under the table. “It was nice knowing you.”

“See dude? you shouldn’t have named it.”

The older teen grabs the last bite of cake from his brother’s plate and pops it in his mouth. “Aha got it in time.” The younger teen exits the room as my girlfriend gets up with the dog. I start clearing dishes and carrying them to the sink.
I’m still thinking of my younger teen’s last comment and his Darwinian notions. Survival of the fittest to him means that his baser more animal nature will win out more often than his altruistic impulses. And maybe he is right about that. But what has the evolution of my life with teenagers taught me? Maybe just that if I wait a minute, everything will change. A surly teen will turn jubilant after eating a plate of beans and eggs. Fifteen minutes of laughter at the table will change a potentially tense dinner to an easy one. Two very different brothers will find some common ground in silly conversation and forget about the disappointing main course.

In short, my best parenting can turn bad in a moment’s notice. But likewise, whatever “bad mom” feelings I have won’t stay bad for very long.

Evolution has taught me otherwise.

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Written by kmguay

February 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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