Sunday, March 8, 2009

That Only a Mother . . .

In the past year or two, the Zits comics in the Sunday paper have begun to make sense in a frightening sort of way; as if the authors actually have a video of what goes on in our house.

I am sure it has something to do with Prefrontal Cortex . . .
. . .But there is something strange about my 15 year old boy and his friends:
They are like baby bears or bulls in a china shop.
They have a restless, uncoordinated energy.
They run into the chairs as if the dining room was very small instead of large as it is.
They have a permanent shadow above their upper lips, that makes the mother in me want to get them to wash their faces.
Whatever they touch seems to get dirty or broken, or both.
Their conversational skills often devolve to monosyllables spoken in deepening voices.
They want to sleep 'til noon, and they literally grow overnight.
They are at that stage that only a mother could love. And that's a stretch sometimes.

And they have put on what I call the Queen Night at the Opera attitude: "Nothing really matters . . ."

Until something does.

And then my 15 year gets into the car after school and says, "Mom, you'll never guess what we learned in Humanities today." Ah. I've got my Boychick back from wherever the alien teenager stored him.

This spring, the Boychick seems to have gotten it that we are not taking him to Machon to torture him. He comes home to tell us about what it would be like to celebrate Shabbat like the orthodox do. Or that he learned about empathy in his Leadership class because the teacher taped two fingers together on the strumming hand and he had to try to play that way . . .

Now that he's gotten over imitating what he thinks is 'cool', he is actually permitting himself to get excited about what he's learning.
And it's all very experiential.

And the sea change in attitude started with that strumming I mentioned.

This spring, when we arranged his schedule according to his Aspie needs, the Boychick insisted on keeping a Guitar and Music Theory class on his schedule. I thought: "Why not? It's something physical. And his grandmother was a concert violinist, after all. Maybe this will turn into something good for him."

And so it has.

He practices every spare moment.
Hours of video games have been replaced with hours of strumming.
He is learning to read music.
He is working to earn the use of my Guild.

Another passion has been unveiled.
Now, with some more motherly work and worry, perhaps his several passions will build together into something good for his future.

This is the faith that only a mother can summon up, when the Boychick looks like this at 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

Yikes! I am glad you can't see the rest of his room in the picture.


Jenn Casey said...

So what you're saying is to hold off on putting those treasured breakable family heirlooms out until after they're grown? Got it. Thanks for the advice, and a glimpse of what I have to look forward to in 7 or 8 years (yikes, that soon?). I'm sure you could give me a look at what those teenaged girls are like, too!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi, Jenn!
You can have the breakables out after age 6 and before age 13, mas o menos!
About teen girls. They will actually fight with you, whereas boys will mumble, look at the floor and leave the room as soon as possible. Girls also know everything very loudly, whereas boys know everything more quietly. Girls have an eye-rolling gene that kicks in at around age 13 and lasts until about age 20. When she was 21, I finally got the sweet girl-child back. Kind of.