Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Adolescent Boy: A Case (Study)

We're coming into a new era, Dave and I, with Dominic, who's taller than me now, at 12. He's beginning to play Red Hot Chili Peppers' songs on his electric guitar maybe more than he plays Legoes. He has a size ten shoe, follows up his second dinner with a box of cereal and some potato chips, and is really hard to rouse in the mornings.

His two new pairs of 32x32 jeans already have holes in the knees. If tackle football does that to his pants, I cringe at what it's doing to his bones.

Instead of the ways I used to support him: helping his first grade class with reading groups, taking him to the bike jumps, I'm finding myself washing his bedding more frequently, opening his curtains and window. Lysol has become a staple on the shopping list.

A few weeks ago, around 11, the house was silent and mostly dark, when Dave noticed the light on in Dominic's room. "Dom! What are you doing?" Dave called down the hallway.

"BOOK!" Dominic called back.

Dave and I cracked up. "Oh," Dave said. "You mean, you're reading?"

We get a lot of monosyllabic answers and demands. It reminds me of Dominic's toddlerhood, when he'd point his chubby finger at something.

Still, the delayed response can get a bit frustrating. We know he's trying, though.

"Dominic, do you have any whites in your room?" I had asked.

Five minutes later, my boy replied cheerfully, "Sorry, Mommy. Sorry for the delayed response. Yes, I am kind of hungry."

The whole family is finding great humor in Dominic's new personality. He laughs even more at himself than we laugh at him, and I really love that about my boy.

A few days ago, he and I were laying side by side, when he told me he got in trouble with his teacher.

This was new.

It seems that his class was supposed to be getting in line, when, for no apparent reason Dominic suddenly shimmied up the goal post.

When I asked why he thought that might have happened, he told me that he was trying to impress a girl in his class.

"Well, was she?" I asked. "Impressed?"

After he told me he didn't even know, I advised him that this wasn't the first time a boy had done something a little dumb to impress a girl. "The thing is," I said. "Girls mostly like boys who don't act like monkeys and climb all over stuff."

"I think we're less evolved," Dominic said then.

"That might be true," I told him. "But that you know it at least puts you ahead of the rest."

We had a good giggle, my boy and me.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

My oldest is 12, too (until Feb. 26th when he turns 13), and I can totally relate to this post. It's nice to hear that your son has similar eating habits and verbal skills! :-)

Ken said...

Dominic knows what he's doing! Girls notice boys who stand out from the crowd. Keep it going, Dom!

anjie said...

Yeah, any boy who can articulate that he might be less evolved - while companionably laying side by side with his mom - is obviously fairly evolved. What a cool kid. And what great jugs!

Sharon Mayhew said...

Jennie--I have an almost fourteen year old daughter. I never know what kind of mood she's going to be in. But I've figured out that if I say something really silly (like underwear) out of the blue, she laughs and gets over whatever it is.

Nice dialogue!!!

Jennie Englund said...

Oh squee!

You all should've seen this boy and our carpool of the sixth grade basketball team hitting the high notes of "Glee's" "Don't Stop Believin'" girl part!!!

krn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
krn said...

Love you, love that kid. What a lucky boy to have usch an amazing Mom. I could smell the room as I read your words. I love as well, that he can laugh at himself. What a sweet young man on the planet. -kim

Elana Johnson said...

What a great story! My son is 11, and yes, the Lysol is important. I think it's great that you have the relationship with him where he'll tell you he was doing something stupid to impress a girl.