I Know My Baby Won't Grow Up to Be a Perfect Teenager
Twenty months ago, when I found out that I was pregnant with Jack, I signed up for one of those online week-by-week pregnancy
services that tracks your pregnancy
and gives you milestones
to chart via e-mail updates. You know, "Week 10
of your pregnancy. What to expect. [Insert your name here], you're likely feeling queasy
and here are some tips to get you through to the next trimester." You get the point.
Today I read my "11th month update" and I just had to share:
"Jen, let's project into the future this week. What kind of teenager
do you think your baby
will be? What kind of parent
do you want to be to your teen? Take the time to write your thoughts today. If you think this first year has flown by, you'll be surprised to find how much faster the next 12 years will pass! Make a journal entry now before this moment is lost."
I smiled as I read this, because I can see all the new mommies grabbing their baby books
and sweetly penning their thoughts on their lovely pink-cheeked cherubs. I know this because I did the same with my first two. Oh, the letters I wrote. Oh, the envisioning of shared laughter and hair brushing and shopping and "Thanks, mom! You didn't need to buy me that sweater! And while we're at it, mommy, I want to thank you for giving up your boobs, waist, ass, brain, sex life, career and respect for me. You're the greatest, and when I graduate summa cum laude from Vanderbilt, you will be the one person I thank."
So how do I envision my 11-month old
as a teenager, now that I actually have a teenager? I see a lot of door-slamming, huffing of the chest and deep sighs to accompany eye-rolling severe enough to warrant a CAT scan to rule out a grand mal seizure. I see times when I want to hold him forever because I just got a glimpse of the amazing adult he will become, and other, more frequent times, when I wonder if I can just place him in a cardboard box marked "Free to Good Home." I see an enormous grocery bill
, not to mention the clothing, entertainment and activities expenses. I see me driving him to all of his enriching activities to keep him out of trouble and yet screaming at him in the car that he is sucking the life out of me and would he just shut up already, he is not
getting a damn cell phone.
So as much as I appreciate the updates from the parenting site, they are clearly written for and by new moms. The teen years don't look like a TV commercial, complete with soft-focus fields of flowers and scampering deer. I know from experience.