Ten little toesey-woesies and finger-wingers. That baby smell and the smallish clothes.
Save it for baby huggers and those who flip into an embarrassing baby-entertaining persona, which comes with contorted faces and high pitch squeals. I was born to breed teenagers. Although I love my little guys and each stage has had its slightly redeeming quality — only to be circumvented by the not-so-redeeming stages — I gave birth so that I could one day, relive my youth and to have my kids humor me with mistakes I know they’re gonna make as they get older.
Babies are a pain. Toddlers are hard. Kids, well, they’re just annoying and they take up a lot of your time, especially when you have very little family support and babysitters are hard to come by. Until your kids give you cause to worry about their driving and dating, they basically suck. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, but they are a pain in the ass and anyone who believes otherwise has the patience of a saint, loves slave labor or is afraid to be judged. As my husband says, "just because you love your kids doesn’t mean you have to always like them."
When I was teenager, I never really babysat or spent time around little kids. It seemed like a lot of work. Kids are needy. Needy people, even if they are of the small kind, can cramp your style and kill your fun. Teenagers, on the other hand, grant you some freedom and the ability to participate in semi-grownup activities. They can actually be a productive member of society. But payback is a bitch. I have plans. Big plans.
The garage needs cleaning. The cars need waxing. Laundry, dishes, watching little brothers, taking dogs to the groomers (and walk them too!), getting milk and eggs, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, cleaning out the litter box, making breakfast for me (for once), picking out clothes, picking up Grandma from the airport, weeding the garden, returning DVDs and library books, picking up little brother from a friends house, picking up Excedrin Migraine from the pharmacy, putting away groceries… the list goes on. Even though some may argue you can start a child young on these chores, you can’t expect they will be done properly until a teen is born.
I must be an anomaly among mothers with little ones, because it’s not in the heat of the moment that I daydream about my very own teenager. I have always thought a teenager would be the reason we go through the pain and agony of temper tantrums and insanely boring board books and games.
People always try to rain on my parade too. They tell me, "Bigger kids — bigger problems."
Bigger problems, like what? Curfews, hormones, illegal substances, questionable crowds and girls? Peeshaw! I’ve survived screaming banshees running dizzy around my laptop and noise pollution beyond OSHA guidelines, cartoon marathons, requests for gameboy intervention, waking up night after night — just as soon as I fell asleep — headaches with morning coffee and marker on my forehead. Little kids are inconvenient and they’re not even that funny.
I welcome "the talk". I welcome staying up late and watching bad Lifetime television while I wait for my teen to walk in a minute late so I can ground him. I welcome taking tabs of the mileage odometer like my father used to do, just to mess with his immature mind. I welcome eyeing girls up and down with skepticism and asking if their mother really thought it was okay for them to leave the house like that. I welcome backtalk and apathy because with all that, comes freedom to go try on sunglasses at a chichi store I can’t afford and dinner and a movie with my girlfriends — without having to pay a babysitter. Who knows, if it’s a raunchy movie, I may just run into my boys there. I am just giddy with eagerness to try out the line, "make it/do it yourself."
Plus teenagers are fun. Clothes, reputations, decisions that will affect your life for the rest of your life. Music, young crushes and cars. Conversations with different kinds of dramatic reenactments (hopefully not of the Donald Duck beating up Mickey Mouse kind). Yes, I yearn for those days.
When I was young and dreamt about being a mother, it always included teenage angst and youthful excursions to exotic destinations in which they would appreciate and share with me, instead of being too young to remember. Some of the best years of my life were going to dances and concerts as a teenager and I can’t wait to experience that excitement all over again, as vividly as I remember it myself.
So, I will enjoy watching my children grow, buoyed by the anticipation for that day to arrive — the day when it suddenly smells like Teen Spirit.