Question: How do you get an entire room fill of kids ages 11 and up to be quiet all at the same time?
Answer: Commit the worst parentism possible and try to talk to them using their lingo.*
I walked into the living room where all my four and a few additional kids were watching tv, on the computers, talking loudly and doing all other basic kid/teenager-y stuff. This is when I tried out their native tongue.
‘Whaddup, Sdog?’ I casually asked a friend of my son. Suddenly, the room fell quiet. You could hear the inner groaning of at least three of them and the rest were still in shock. I thought we might have to call in the medics. Did I stop there? No. Absolutely not. Because, once you’ve started something, well, you just have to finish it. ‘How’s my peeps? Everyone comfortable in the Hizzouse?’ Which, I swear, is how they talk to each other all the time and then they laugh and it’s so funny. I thought if I just kept going then at some point, it would get funny. I was wrong. I threw in ‘crib’ and ‘down’ something and even ‘fo sho’ and the entire thing was met with silence quickly followed with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Someone’s head exploded.
Having teenagers is fun.
Sdog, as he is called by my son, although no longer by me because I was on the receiving end of a stern talking-to (there was extreme mortification and at least one mention of dying, if I remember right), is a peculiar kid. And I like him. He’s the kid that wears the silky button down shirt with the abstract box pattern on it made of rich reds and browns over his Pink Floyd pig t-shirt. Of course, he’s hanging out with my son who wears a reversible bathrobe to school every day that I made him out of deep purple and gray silk** for History Day when he was Confucius a week ago. I’m sure that’s not getting old to his teachers.
Once when we were driving back and forth from house to house, out of the blue, Sdog piped in with, ‘You know, I really care about the environment. I really think about it sometimes.’ And I think it continued to be quiet for a few more long seconds since no one knew what to say after that and I was kind of trying to sing along to ‘Breakaway‘.*** I mean, what are you going to do with a kid like that except be a little jealous that they are so completely themselves and seem impervious to the types of torturous peer pressure you endured in middle school?
Sdog and Tony both do that thing where they can’t really finish the story they are telling because they are cracking themselves up so much and it’s hard to get the words out. And most of the time I have no idea what they are talking about and they are laughing and giggling and I’m laughing but I don’t know why and then after 10 minutes of that they all of a sudden say, ‘huh, well, anyway.’ and then stop. I didn’t know what we were laughing about and I guess I never will.
* Just by using the word ‘Lingo”, you know I suck if you are under 19.
** It’s a poly-blend, my peeps. What do you think – I can afford real silk??
**** I kid! Ha ha! I hate Celine Dion’s music! I would never make it through an entire album. I would be poking my brain with sharp sticks.***** Give me Paul Anka instead. My mom knows who he is. He must be grown up music. (and I love his Rock Swings album for reals. Hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit in an upbeat and swingy tempo is awesome. I can have my angst and smile and sing at the same time.)
***** Last night I was cleaning my ear with a Q-tip and accidentally hit that one place that turns a near orgasmic experience into a very, very sad and painful one. To say that I would do it intentionally would make me insane. I’m crazy, but not insane!