The Argus

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I'm not equipped to deal with years of teenage rebellion


Justine O'Mahony

Justine O'Mahony

Justine O'Mahony

The teenage rebellion has well and truly started. I wouldn't mind, but he's not even a teenager yet. He's only 12, but that 'I know better than you' air has been firmly established.

He has also started speaking in a strange language, one that requires him to cut all his words in half so he only says the first part of the word and the rest just dissolves on his tongue. This is My Boy. The one who everyone used to say spoke so well. Now he's calling me 'Ma' and Himself 'Da' and his sister nothing because he doesn't ever speak to her unless it's to tell her to shut up! Out of all this teenage rebellion lark, I really hate him calling me 'Ma.' I feel like an extra out of Love/Hate every time he does it and keep expecting Nidge to appear at the front door. If he starts wearing shiny tracksuits I'm done for! 'Stop calling me Ma!' I keep saying through gritted teeth. He keeps pretending he can't hear me.

'Ma, can I've summin to eeee?' This translated means 'Mum can I have something to eat.'

"Not unless you ask me properly" I reply. He rolls his eyes and says, "Fine. Wasn't hungry anyway."

I'm not equipped to deal with teenagers. Babies and toddlers are my thing! They love me and I love them. They feed my needy soul, kissing and cuddling me and they don't answer back. It's perfect.I was a teenager myself once. I remember how awful I was. I remember my spikey haired, all black phase, when my mother used to be mortified of me sitting beside her in Mass. I remember all the grief I gave her and now it's come back to haunt me.

It came to a head the other day when he was going off on a trip with friends. I left his clothes out for him - jeans, grey t-shirt and navy hoodie. He comes out wearing a tracksuit bottoms, manky runners and another hoodie two sizes too small for him. 'You are NOT wearing that!' I tell him. 'But Maaaaaaaaaa, it's comfy.'

'I DON'T care. You are NOT going out in that!'

He doesn't budge but stands in the kitchen doorway eyeballing me. 'I don't have any other hoodies,' he mutters. I go ballistic. 'Excuse me?! You have a wardrobe full of lovely sweatshirts and jumpers. Don't you dare tell me you have nothing to wear.'

His face goes red and he glares at me. 'Yeah that's the problem.' 'What is? I ask exasperated.

'They've all got that bloody red horse on them and the lads will make fun of me for wearing posh clothes!' His eyes filled with tears. All of a sudden I felt wracked with guilt that I had set him up to be ridiculed by buying him tops with red bloody horses on them! But how was I to know? I've never had a teenager before. I backed down and left him go, looking like a Down and Out but a happy Down and Out.

Himself, who had been hiding behind his newspaper came out after he left, laughing like a fool. 'Ah sure God help him. I didn't like to tell him that the old hoodie he insisted on wearing had Tommy Hilfiger written across the back!'

Irish Independent