Irreverent Mama

Friday, March 23, 2007

Teens. Value their privacy, they do. Don't want adults, parents in particular, knowing the ins and outs of their private lives.

For the most part, I don't want to. I remember the soap opera that is high school, and I don't miss it. I have no interest in plunging back into that seething slough of hormones and angst, not even vicariously. Bad enough when they bring their seething slough of hormones and angst home.

Still, a parent does get curious as to what the kids are up to... And I'll always know. Always. It's not that the kids are so open and honest with me. It's not a mystical connection. It's not that I have a mother's second sight, ESP, nor even eyes in the back of my head.

Nope. My secret? My kids never pick up after themselves.

I can tell at a glance what they had for their afternoon snack. (Orange juice, bagel with cheese, banana.) I know where they shop. I know how much junk food they eat. I know about teacher interviews they'd rather I didn't. Because they leave the evidence everywhere. On the counter, on the couch, on the floor of the front hall. While I despair of their slovenly ways (and blame my lack of strict training in their early years), I'd miss all this insight if they became suddenly tidy.

My son (almost 18) has a girlfriend. Lovely girl. They've been together four months or so. So, being a responsible parent, I casually remind the boy young man of our safe sex talks, and further remind the boy young man where the condoms are kept. (In a cosmetics bag on a shelf by the bathroom door, refilled without counting. He knows this.)

"Don't worry, mom. I know where they are, but we haven't gotten there yet."

Do I believe him? Not really. It's possible, but, given how they spend any private moment so thoroughly entwined, not likely. But it's his business. As long as he's using the damned condoms!

My kids are responsible for their own laundry. The girl on Tuesday, the boy on Thursday. Thus, if I decide to pick up a few items from one room or another to make up a full load when I do my laundry, they know I'm doing them a favour. It's a good system. I scoop up a pair of the boy's jeans and a couple of t-shirts and boxers. (From the floor, of course. Why dirty a perfectly nice laundry basket?)

An hour later, there at the bottom of the drum, under the wet darkness of the laundry I'm hauling out, I catch a glimmer of something white and shiny. Oooo, look! A tidy little condom-packet. Not one of the dark foil packs from the cosmetic bag on the shelf by the bathroom. White plastic, and - ugh - banana-flavoured. Definitely not one of the house stock. Guess he doesn't believe me when I say we don't count them. Hell, I wouldn't believe me, either.

But now I know.

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7 Comments:

  • Damn, and just when he thought he was being sooooooooooo sneaky.

    By Blogger Karl, at 10:18 AM  

  • I am with you the privacy issue. The day my boys start boffing their girlfriends is not one I want to know about.

    But yeah - silly little buggers have no idea the clues - no make that the screaming headlines - they leave lying around as to their activities.

    By Blogger Wendz, at 11:59 AM  

  • O-o-o-oh, so that's how my mother did it--she aways knew what we were up to, and I never knew how.
    I am taking notes for the future.

    By Blogger Denguy, at 4:18 PM  

  • bwuhahahahahaha!

    But banana? Blech. Glad I'm not his girlfriend.

    By Anonymous Allison, at 5:46 PM  

  • Karl - He's good, you know. The direct eye contact, the wide, sincere eyes. Doesn't deny that he's thought about it - just that they're "not there yet". Just the right balance of denial and realism... Sheesh.

    Wendz - I only want to know he's being sensible. The thought of a too-early, unplanned pregnancy scares me much more for the BOY than the girls. Obviously I don't want it to happen to any of them, but you have way more control if it happens to your daughter.

    "The screaming headlines they leave lying around." LOL Stupid, but so useful!

    Denguy - Yup, such sneakiness is in no way restricted to female parents... Go for it!

    Allison - Who knows? Maybe the girlfriend bought it. At that age, maybe that's cool and daring and cutting edge.

    But then, given the choice between banana-flavoured latex and semen... I'm not sure which would be worse, frankly. (But I am a kind and loving woman. I swallow - with a smile - at least half the time.)

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 9:21 AM  

  • You mean, someday my baby boy is going to want to.... and there will be a girl, and she will want to hug him and kiss him and...
    NOOOOO! Ack! The mere idea makes me want to curl up and cry!

    By Blogger AverageMom, at 12:43 PM  

  • Hhmm! Banana flavour. At least they have healthy tastes, it could be burger flavour! lol.

    By Blogger john.g., at 3:37 PM  

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