Life is interesting at our house since my daughter left for college last Fall. The boy hormones that come with two teenage boys (13 and 17) are running rampant. And in entirely different ways. PR is only 13. It is a struggle to get him to take a shower, brush his teeth … and to control the anger that bursts out of him at times for no reason other than a hormone surge. He wants to play baseball, run in the canyons and hills and go "air-softing" with his buddies. Girls are still … ewwwww! And – did I mention it is a challenge to get him to take a shower? And wear deodorant? Because there are times when he will actually exert the effort to PRETEND he has showered and he really won’t. Yes, he will get his hair wet, run the shower BUT NOT GET IN IT and emerge acting as if he is clean. And then I will not so affectionately say, "You stink and if you don’t shower I will hop in there with you and scrub you myself!" And because he is 13 there could be no more horrifying thought than THAT so he manages to get his smelly self into the shower. And no, I keep explaining – a dunk in the pool does not count as a shower! (It was 93 degrees today … here in The OC!)
Then there is RC, my seventeen year old. He showers. Yes, he showers, he wears deodorant, AND cologne and he spends eons in the bathroom perfecting his "look". And he must have perfected it because lately there seem to be girls everywhere. Girls stopping by, girls in the jacuzzi, girls at parties. In all seriousness he asked awhile back, "Why would anyone want to have just one girlfriend?" Of course this creates a whole new set of parenting issues. Like a few weeks ago when I spotted a hickey on his neck. (Not visible in this photo of RC hamming it up for his photo shoot!)
Now I am hardly a prude. But the hickey surprised me because it was so unexpected. "RC", I asked, "Who gave you the hickey? Was it Mary, Carrie, or Jo?" (All girls that had been around recently). And he said, "It was Kelly". Kelly who?? "THERE IS NO KELLY," I thought. But there was – Kelly was a girl he had met that night at a party. I am not a big hickey fan. Hickeys mark your territory. And meeting a girl and getting marked as "taken" all in the same night? So very quickly the following ran through my head, "Think quick, think of something clever and motherly to say. Give him a lecture on respecting girls/himself and safe sex all at the same time!" And then … nothing came out of my mouth except, "Good night RC".
I do want to go on record here saying that I really don’t think I am a complete failure as a mom. I have tried to instill good morals in my kids and to teach them right from wrong and to respect other people and all those lessons we moms try to teach. But he is seventeen and he can’t seem to think past his hormones right now. So I waited a day or so and then I carefully broached the subject. I brought up self respect, and respecting girls and … finding girls that respect themselves enough not to be giving hickeys to guys they met an hour before. RC stood there patiently and didn’t even roll his eyes as he … pretended to listen. Then I added that although I certainly do not condone teenage sex … did we maybe need to review safe sex? And THEN the eye roll happened and he quickly answered, "No we don’t need to do that!" and I knew he was done mollifying me. A few days later I tried to very casually bring up the subject again … just in a casual conversation kind of way. But I got no response except I did detect just the slightest smile in his eyes . . . like he thinks his mom is very – amusing.