Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A new chapter

My heart just isn't in homeschooling at the moment. I realized tonight that I'm just plain bored with the way we used to do things, and so is O. We're drifting into couch potato-hood because I just can't come up with any alternative activities that don't bore the crap out of both of us.

The problem is, I think, and has been for at least a year now, that O is not a kid, in any way at all, anymore. He's a full-fledged teen, and I don't know what to do for fun with a teen. I never spent any time at all with my dad when I was teenaged (at least, not if I could help it) and my dad wasn't the least bit interested in me until I was, oh, 30 or so. Since Mum died when I was 12, and I'd spent the better part of 4 years before that nursing and taking care of her, I really don't know what it is that teens do with parents, parents that are interested, involved and physically and emotionally capable of engaging with them.

I don't have the time to spend on video games like I used to with O, I don't have hours to get deeply into a campaign or dungeon and I don't like the one-off sports or battle games (my adolescent Ms. Pac-Man addiction notwithstanding.) I can't afford to go to movies or shows every weekend, and even if I could, I'm often working. O used to be willing to go around galleries and museums, but he really has no interest anymore, and if I'm totally honest, neither do I, really. I mean, the Mb Museum is pretty cool, but we can only do that so many times, and there is no way in hell I'm going to spend my afternoon making doilies at Dalnavert, or admiring textile advances at the Crafts Museum (even if that Nasak hat making course looks really cool!)

It's just such new territory for me. At his age I was spending most of my time trying to stay out of my dad's way, or at the very least not attracting his annoyance or anger. I hid in my room, or went for long, long walks alone. I don't know what any teenager does for fun, let alone a teenage boy, and I certainly don't know what that boy would do with his mom.

I was so panicked and lost when O turned 12, from that point on in my life I'd had absolutely no parenting of any sort, and I didn't know if I'd be able to figure the teen stuff out. I'd used Mum as my model for how to parent, and I really have no idea how she approached the older kids teens, Dad spent so much of their adolescence enraged about something or other, and most of what I saw Mum do was putting out fires. I've been muddling along with this mom of a teen thing, and I'm finally feeling comfortable with the whole thing, but the realization that I suddenly have no idea how to socialize with my son, without falling back on tv and movies, it's a bit of a shock. No wonder we are in such a rut.

Maybe if O were another kind of kid, we could work this out a bit between us, but getting him to pick something for dinner is like pulling teeth (I dunno, just make anything...) asking him to pick out an activity or show or event for us to do together... I'd really rather gnaw off several limbs, and so, I'm sure, would he. I don't know if he just doesn't have any opinions of any sort (beyond "monkeys are funny"), or if the Y chromosome renders any display of anything that may at some point possibly lead to an approximation of emotion, a condition that kicks in around 13 (all the boys in the neighborhood seem to be suffering from idunnosinosis.)

I just don't know how to go about engaging him anymore. It was so easy when he was younger, all I needed was to point out amusing squirrel antics, or sing a mildly naughty song. I just don't share his obsession with manga, monkeys and food of any and all kinds.

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