Tuesday, June 29

Now That School's Out...

....I'm finding it much more difficult to the the serious blogging stuff--you know the stuff that requires study and thought. If you've had teens, you'll know what I mean when I say that they require a lot more attention than preteens. I hesitate to make that statement, because my 14 year old son is a great kid, trustworthy and hard working and mostly respectful. But he's also a bit restless and undirected and dissatisfied with his life. He's too old to spend his days watching kiddie T.V., too old to just play in the yard with the neighborhood kids, but too young to have a real job, and too young to drive to his friends houses to hang out.

What he's been doing are the heavy duty jobs around the house and yard that the rest of us haven't had time for. But all this requires a lot more from me than I had anticipated. I can't just say, "Go pressure wash the house this morning." He needs to be shown how to do every job, and then supervised closely while he does it. The supervision is not so much because he couldn't be trusted on his own, but because he seems to want me close by. When I leave him to do a job, I have about five or ten minutes before I hear, "Mom, could you come here for a second?" Sometimes it's because he really does need help from me, but mostly its just to show me what he's done. I suppose I could tell him I'm busy, and stop doing such close supervision, but I know that he won't want my attention in a year or so, and I figure I ought to enjoy the neediness while I've got it.

He wants a new bike. He also needs a new bike. His own bike is way too small for him, so he's been borrowing his big sister's bike, but it's not always available, and it's not really the sort he needs for the heavy duty mountain biking that he likes to do. So he's saving up to buy a bike, and that's where the work for me comes in. I'm paying him to do those big chores so he can buy himself a bike.

He's also been spending time bike shopping. All the bikes at the bike shop seem to be either too expensive for his pocket book, or too junky for his tastes, so he's spent several weeks reading the ads in the paper, looking for used bikes for sale. There have been a couple of good bikes for good prices, but they've been the wrong size, the sort of size he can't even buy to grow into, because nobody in this family can realistically plan to grow to 6' 7".

Just when he was losing hope of finding a bike this year, my older son's boss--who is also a serious mountain biker--decided that he wanted to sell his old bike and get a new one. So Daniel's been trying his old one out for a week. It's perfect for him. A really good bike--sturdy, but light, and the right size. The price is something we can swing, too. I'll be writing the check out today, and I'll still be owed enough money to get the rest of the big outside jobs completed.

Yesterday, he finally got around to cleaning out his room. He's been mentioning for several weeks that he's sick of all the clutter in his room. What he really means is that he's too old to have his baseball card collection and all his fancy techno lego vehicles displayed. So yesterday afternoon he started de-junking. He was at it for about 10 minutes when the the first call for my help came. I ended up staying there to help him for most of the rest of the afternoon, because he really hadn't a clue how to go about reorganizing a room. It turns out that all he really wants in there is his bed, his dresser, his drummer posters, and his drumset. Now all the little boy stuff is carefully packed up and stored in his closet. I guess he doesn't want to see it, but he doesn't want to part with it either. We left the bookshelf in--mostly because I don't know where else I'd put it--but there's not much on it. The room looks good, but spare.

Today we're making a dump run. We've added the garbage from his room to some other garbage we've had sitting around and filled up the old station wagon. Later, we hope to make a trip to the thrift store to donate a bag of too small clothing.

For a day or two, I think he might be content with his life.
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