Mar 29, 2009

Check Mate

So, the saga of the standoff continues. This wonderful step-son of mine continues his precarious walk on the tightrope of teen years. Why is it that it seems the trouble that I got into as a teen is nothing compared to his?

Anyhow, the lies go on. Funny how he thinks that he can lie without being caught. Saturday was my mother-in-law's birthday. We have a gathering of her children and grandchildren...all of whom are there with one exception...Step Son can't make it. According to him, it's his half-brother's birthday, and if we had only given him "advance notice" he might have been able to make it. Interesting...because last time I looked, we live in a house, not an office, however, I will keep in mind to send him a CC next time an event is planned.

As I was busy preparing the meal (salmon, rice and asparagus, YUM!), I just shook my head and sighed, figuring I'd deal with the issues later. It wasn't until my brother-in-laws started popping in that I thought...."hey, why is this the first year that I've heard about Step Son's brother's birthday being on the same day as my mother-in-law's?"

The proverbial light bulb went off.

Hubby texts the ex. Nope, no party over there, she's not feeling well and wouldn't have him over that night anyhow.

And so, the texting craze begins.

  • Let me begin a side note to this story --- back in the day (you know you're old when you begin a story with those words)...back in the day when I was a child, there was no such thing as cell phones. Well...yes, there were...but they were for business men and presidents only. No child carried around a cell phone. Oh, and we actually used those things sticking out of the bottom of our body to get places...they are called your own two feet! I also know that I probably said like, a lot of like, annoying things to like, my parents --- but there is nothing worse then getting a message that says "I went 2 C a mooV. B back l8tr" That was an honest-to-God note that step son left me once.

Back to the texting....Hubby sends him a text, Brother-in-law sends him a text...and I'm sure his mother was too. He replies back with something real smart like "why can't you just let me be with my friends? You've already ruined my life!!"

Now, I realize that sitting and having cake with your grandmother isn't exactly a teenager's top choice of things to do on the weekend. However, couldn't he have just said "hey, I'd rather hang out with my friends"? I mean, why the Big lie? What advantage does such a thing do? It's not like we would have forced him to stay home....Likely we would have said "okay, but could you at least wait until she gets here to say happy birthday?"

So....since we've all done such a good job of "ruining his life" ... he doesn't come home. Instead he calls the next morning to say "uh...sorry, I just fell asleep."

Problem was, it was too late. I'd already had enough and decided to do a little housecleaning. Since I'd already cleaned the rest of my house (okay, not the toilets, but I'm getting to them), I decided to work on his room. Little did I know what I was in for.

I found seven, yes SEVEN full packages of gum. One was in his shoe, another behind a book, some in a bag.....How can one person have seven unopened packs of gum and not know where they are?? I also discovered that the kid has an Axe Deodorant in every drawer that he has. I found homework from grade 7 (he's in grade 10), I found lyrics to songs and raps. I found clean and dirty clothing, I found pictures, I found awards. I found nearly a dozen empty bottles of pop/water/juice, and an entire 2L bottle of Orange juice under his bed. I found the headphone and speaker set for my computer (which I was frantically looking for when i was supposed to participate in my Audio class for school, damn kid!). I found 1/2 package of cookies, a half eaten package of Ichiban noodles, and some molding banana bread that my step mother gave him. I found three unopened containers of applesauce.

But...the "big" find was in a gift bag under his bed. I found a sparkly blue gift bag (that I recall my mother giving him his birthday gift in)...except, it was devoid of any birthday gift. Instead it had all variety of condoms...ribbed, thin, sensitive...uh...can't recall the rest. Now...on one hand, this scares the crap out of me....and you do that silent prayer that I think any parent of a teen in such angst seems to say "please, don't let them be having sex!!!" On the other hand, I'm thinking....well, if he is, at least it's safe.

This is not a dilemma that I want to be in.

The great room clean went on, if a little more cautious about the things that we'd find. In the end, we had 4 large garbage bags of garbage, 2 recycle bags, and 1 large bag full of old clothes. His room is now stripped of it's posters and memorabilia, he'll get it back when he deserves it.

He came home not long after we'd finished hauling the last of the bags to the trash. He was shocked, but knew he deserved it.

Truth is, if he acts up again, I don't know what to do next! There are no more tricks up these sleeves!!

Mar 26, 2009

Thoughts and Comments

Well, I didn't realize what a pot of emotions I would stir by telling the world of my...err...shall we say "troubles" with step son. Let's just say that I've received a lot of feedback through private emails -- some messages offering encouragement, some filled with humor, and even a few filled with fear for their soon-to-be teens....but the ones that tugged at my heart the most were the messages filled with despair and lost hope.

Let me say this - DO NOT GIVE UP.

Teenagers are a finicky bunch. Too old to be a child, but too young to be an adult. They are stuck in a life of awkwardness, misunderstandings and backstabbing. They turn on one another as quickly as they turn their backs on you. As a parent, you are the ultimate "uncool" thing around.

Here's a newsflash for all you teens out there (or, at least my Stepson and future teens)....I am not here to be your friend. Moreover, I do not care if you think I'm cool.

It surprises me the number of people who want to be friends with their kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't want to be on friendly terms with my kids, that's far from it. I want my kids to trust me, I'd like for them to confide in me, but they also have to know that I am their mother. You'd better believe that I'll give them hell if they deserve it. I will embarrass, I will punish, I will take away privileges -- and I will not be ashamed to do so.

The thing is, they are looking for love and acceptance, and as a parent, that's the best we can give -- however, this love and acceptance that they're seeking isn't from us. This, I think, is another mistake that many parents make. Believe me when I say that I love and accept my step son. The kid has sure given me a hard time, but I still love him! The point is, they are looking for this love and acceptance from their peers....even the popular kids are worried about it. We all went through teenage-hood...why are we so quick to forget??

I guess that what I'm saying is don't let your kids drag you down. Pick your fights...let some of their moodiness pass as if it didn't even exist. They will eventually out grow it.

In saving the best for last, this is a tidbit of one of the messages that I got in the last 24 hours...boy, did this ever resonate with me: "Try to keep in mind that the person they are at this age usually has nothing in common with the adult they will become!"

Mar 25, 2009

And so the stand off begins!

2 comments's been a while...long enough that I don't even remember the last time that I posted (and honestly, am just too bloody lazy to go back and look!). Anyhow, things in my home have been....interesting.

First, I had a baby (I think I may have posted that)....he's a year old now. So, I am now the mother to 4. These children include a 16 yr old step son (the reason for this post), an 8 yr old daughter, a 5 yr old son, and the 1 yr old baby. Sometimes I wonder about myself!

Anyhow, as if having a baby and running an in-home daycare wasn't enough of a challenge, I also decided to register for school (again, another possible blog post there!). I'm now in Red Deer College studying for my Early Learning and Child Care Diploma. I'm about 6 months into a 4 year course. Again...sometimes I wonder about myself.

Anyhow...onto the reason for this post. My step son and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. We are both Scorpios, and though, in my faith we are not supposed to believe in these things....each of us has the traits of a Scorpio....stubborn, quick temper, and a long, long memory! Not necessarily the best thing when the two of us are put together. We tend to either get along really well...or tolerate each other for the sake of the rest of the family.

Well, he's now reached the ripe old age of know, the age when they know everything?!? Well, apparently he's so brilliant, that he no longer needs to attend the first period in school. That's right, the kid who never had to try to get good marks in math, figured he could continue to slide and continue to breeze through the class.

Yes, we hassled him. Yes, we tried everything....spraying him with water (sounds bad, but it woke him up), Taking the phone away, setting an alarm and hiding it in his room.....all of these things and many more....and none of them worked. Wait, let me rephrase that. They worked....he would wake up....he just wouldn't go to class.

Then, when we'd ask "why weren't you at school on time?"...the wonderful reply that we'd receive was, "I was at school, I just didn't go to class." *insert the patience of Moses here*

By this time, I have given up. I decided that it wasn't worth the stress and the effort. I'd talked to him, I'd tried to reason with him, I'd tried to be his friend, I'd tried being a female dog about it.....nothing worked. I decided it's for his mother and father to work out, and I would just keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself (and, if you know me, keeping opinions to myself is not an easy task!!). all came to a head this week. Schools are much more savvy than they were when I went.....they now send report cards to the parents via e-mail in a PDF file. Fabulous. We got his report card on Monday....the class which he's been "too smart" to attend he got an average of 21%. No, that is not a typo. My stepson...the one who regularly got in the 80% has a whopping 21% average in math. Needless to say, we weren't impressed. However, I stuck to my promise to keep it zipped. And I did.

The next morning, when it was blatantly obvious that he would be late again, hubby get's serious. This usually means shouting that leads to nothing but resentment. This, however, was a different case. Instead of going and shouting, he went to the tool room and grabbed a drill. He took the room darkening shades off of step son's window. Then, he got a hammer, and proceeded to take the door off it's hinges. The whole time, he did not say one word.

"What about my privacy?!" shrieks step son.

Hubby turns around and says "You'll have privacy when your marks are acceptable" and walked away.

Step son got ready and left for school....brooding the whole way. But, guess what?? Today, he was out of the door on time.

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