Friday, October 07, 2011

The Tween Eye Roll

My oldest child seems to be suffering from a condition in which his eyeballs are magnetically drawn to the top of his head. It happens mostly when he’s talking to me.  Either he needs a specialist or karma has come to kick my trash.  (By the way, that evil cackle you hear in the background is my mother laughing at me.)

From approximately 11-years old to midway through my freshman year in college, I was notoriously sassy.  Some people reminisce about near-death experiences or most embarrassing moments at family gatherings.  My mother talks about Shauna’s Moody Years.  And from the way she describes them, I was so caustic that red lasers would often shoot from my eyes and flames burst from my ears.  Also, periodically my head would spin all the way around, independent of my neck.

The truth is, I was especially feisty in junior high when boys stopped pulling on pigtails and started snapping bra straps.  It was a time in which forgetting to wear your deodorant could make for an excruciating bus ride home, either inflicted upon oneself, the person next to you, or that mean kid who sat in the back.  With reckless abandon, I tried out for basketball, cheerleading and drill team, only to be rejected thrice.  I also learned that people could be incredibly cruel for the sake of popularity as I watched a boy get stuffed into a industrial garbage can at the end of PE one day.  Puberty is not for the faint of heart.

You’d think with all this I would be much more empathetic to watch my son edge his way into the preteen years, complete with questionable body odor, dirty socks that smell that corn chips and the infamous ‘eye roll.’  Uhm, not so much.

I’m nearly catatonic with fear.  

The junior high horror stories are much worse than the ones I went to school with.  Apparently the hallways abound with mini Charlie Sheens and their goddesses in the terrestrial dimension, pushing drugs you can overcome with your mind.  Winning?  Maybe if you’re homeschooling.

But instead, I’m going to use my mind to will my children through a prepubescent experience more like my own.  This includes being grateful for the condition from which my son is currently suffering, because it doesn’t require rehab.  And to guide me through this uncharted territory in parenting, I’m going to draw from my father’s arsenal.

“Those eyes can either roll on the floor or not at all.  Your choice.”

It was a different brand of parenting, but effective in its own way.  Because I turned into a most pleasant and healthy adult.

What? Are you rolling your eyes at me?


Cristi said...

I used to tell my kids that there was a limit of 1000 eye rolls and then their eyes would stick in their upward position, and unless they had been keeping track, they would never know when they would hit the quota. In their tender years, they didn't want to believe me, but there was still a bit of fear that it might just be true. At least when I would use that line during their eye rolling, it would make them laugh and discharge whatever was causing the eye rolling to begin with. Good luck!

shauna said...

Cristi, I'm going to have to try that. I may have to email you directly for advice on other parenting matters (sounds like you've got some responses). ;)