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Apr 04 2016

The mixed metaphors of parenting gifted and twice-exceptional teens

The Mixed Metaphors of parenting G2e teens

 

Parenting teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree.

I’m sure you’ve heard this. I heard it back when my boys were wee young things, when potty training was the issue du jour and I rarely got a moment to myself (wait…that was yesterday…never mind). However, I find it to be inaccurate. You can nail jello to a tree. With enough time, the correct nails, and the proper consistency of gelatinous snack product, I bet I can get that jello not only attached to a tree but be the walls of a treehouse to boot. Not the floor, I’m not that good. It’s tough, but it can be done. A wiggly, jiggly, parenting treehouse. Appropriate.

Parenting gifted or twice-exceptional teenagers? More like managing a large mercury spill. You can do everything right, follow all the instructions by all the experts, stock up on hazmat suits, and it’s still more than likely it will all end badly. It ain’t for the faint of heart, yo. Every day is a new adventure, not one you expected or wanted, and you’re leading the expedition with an outdated map and mercury in your socks…not to mention mixed metaphors. And the treehouse is probably in full-scale nuclear meltdown.

Parenting teenagers is like being pecked to death by a chicken.

Some days I’d rather take my chances with the chicken. I can dropkick that little sucker across the road if need be (and there’s the answer to the age-old riddle). But for the most part, this age is infinitely easier than the infant/toddler/elementary ages. They have the basics of self care down (I don’t have to wipe butts anymore, which I just canNOT emphasize enough how much I appreciate), car seats are a thing of the past, and if they don’t sleep they sure as hell know better than to involve me in their late night insomnia. We have wonderful conversations, their humor is broadening past knock-knock jokes and poop (mostly), and I really really enjoy my sons now in a way I wasn’t sure I was ever going to see. Hearing them sing old Weird Al songs and quote Monty Python sketches may drive me batshit crazy (because it’s non-freaking-stop), but it is so, so awesome.

But DAMN it’s mentally and emotionally taxing. If I were newborn-level sleep deprived on top of it all I’d be a basket case. More. I’d be more of a basket case. I have a metric crapton of baskets over here and I keep weaving more. Maybe I’ll build a Mom Fort from baskets. There’d be plenty of storage for my accompanying baggage.

Parenting teenagers is why animals eat their young

I’m convinced the boys are messing with me. They always had this Goofus and Gallant thing going on, but now they’re swapping roles without warning. A case of good cop/bad cop, kid-style. One kid is rolling his eyes and mouthing off and struttin’ his ‘tude and the other is in the kitchen, calmly unloading the dishwasher without being reminded while having a conversation about his deep thought of the moment. And then, before you know it, switcheroo, a la Freaky Friday.

Parenting G2e teens is like random emoji from your text-happy teen: 🙃💤🦄🌪⚡️🍕💩💩💩💀🚽🙄🙄🙄🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻😡😈😻💩😘💗

You have no clue what’s going on, are grateful they shared, now have a slight headache, and are wondering if the wine glasses are clean or if you could get away with lips directly on the bottle. Box dispenser. Whatever.

We had a small taste of empty-nesterhood a few weeks ago when the boys went camping for several days. It was odd. Quiet. The house stayed clean. We had uninterrupted conversations. I could think without the Mom Radar going off, which was bizarre. I shoveled off my desk and got some long-due stuff done. I could crank up Perry the Parabolic Heater without worrying that Andy had his heater on in his room, thus tripping a circuit and losing power in my office which is why I’m returning to this post an hour later because I’d had it and I was hungry and might as well do laundry while I was downstairs so turn off your damned heater and put on socks because I AM WEARING MULTIPLE LAYERS AND I AM STILL COLD I GET DIBS ON THE CIRCUIT FOR THE HEATER WHY DO I SEE SNOW IN APRIL?!

Ahem. It was nice is what I’m saying. But it was also kinda dull. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s the kind of dull I could use slightly more often, but I was glad to have my boys back. Wish the attitude had been taken out to the mountains and thrown into a bear den to be destroyed by a pissed-off mama bear awakened before she was ready, but it was nice to have them home.

Even if it meant the jello treehouse was full of chickens eating their young, melting down from the mercury spill, and texted to me in 21st century hieroglyphics.

🐔 🐣 🌳 🏡 🌡 ☢ 2️⃣1️⃣ 📜

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  1. Pamela Price

    You had me at “drop kicking” the chicken…

  2. Crazy Chicken

    I truly get it that as your kids get older, that fine line between sharing and over-sharing is getting thinner and thinner and fuzzier and fuzzier, so you need to do less public sharing. I get it.

    But, honestly, if I see one of your posts sitting in my inbox, I skip right over the other emails awaiting my attention. You’re number one priority in that moment, every single time.

    Thank you for your humour, your honesty and your wacky stories that help us all realise that we’re not alone. Please know that it has all been hugely appreciated, hugely helpful and ever so much fun.

    1. Jen

      Dang it, you made me cry.
      Thank you. I really, really needed to hear this today. Right now, especially. I’ve been super stressed and anxious lately and just lost yet another flute student; was feeling like no one appreciated what I did. So thank you, so much, for your comment. 😊

    2. Melanie Luce

      I second this post
      Melanie Luce recently posted…This is Not a Test–JLVMy Profile

  3. Melissa

    Yes! And the emotions that leave you wondering what to say!

    1. Jen

      I usually start with a gaping maw, a half-giggle, and pray that my brain comes up with something quick enough for them. 🙂

  4. Lucinda

    OMG the random-emoji text messages that you’re grateful for even though you have no clue what they mean. Yes! 😂

    Oh and yeah, all the rest of it too. Thanks, I needed the laugh.

  5. Lynn

    Hi Jen
    Your book and website has been amazing, finally someone who understands! I have the blessing of 3 2e profoundly gifted boys, each with their own special set of “challenges”, I feel so guilty about the wine/scotch, it’s a relief that I’m not the only one. I’m glad your boys are ahead of mine, as teenage 2e boys are so intimidating. It’s so crazy what you said about summer camp, because I tell my husband I need it for sanity, but then I miss them. I am nuts. I pray for the strength to get through this and am so glad I found your blog!

    1. Jen

      Give up the wine guilt, there’s so much other guilt we can use. 😉 Wine is medicinal, so is scotch.
      Glad you’re here. We can all hang on to each other as we go slightly crazy. 😉

  1. Article: “The mixed metaphors of parenting gifted and twice-exceptional teens” By Jen from Laughing at Chaos Blog.

    […] humor and commiserating comments in this article, “The mixed metaphors of parenting gifted and twice-exceptional teens“, by Jen from Laughing at Chaos […]

  2. Keepin' it real as a 2e parent - Laughing at Chaos

    […] grasp to get straight As this quarter). I wrote a love letter to giftedness, I acknowledged that G2e teens/tweens are a challenge but still awesome as hell, I thought I knew what I was doing and had a handle on our […]

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