I actually don’t know if I will ever, in the entire length of my life, understand how the brain of an early teen boy works…or, where it exists out there in the world…which feels more like outer space most of the time than in this atmosphere.
I spend the greater portion of my time with Jonah, our 14 year old son, trying to figure out whether he’s just saying the things that he says to see how much of a rise he can get out of people…or, if he genuinely thinks it’s reasonable to ask if we can swing by grandma and poppy’s for lunch when we live in Massachusetts…and, they are in Florida.
For years, I tried to remind myself that it was crucial to the development of our son’s self-confidence that I demonstrate patience and sensitivity and understanding for a young child that was still trying to make sense of the world. But, I’m starting to feel like I’m just getting totally played by a human being that’s been given 14 years of time to figure out that all of the people standing in the waiting area at Five Guys are actually customers and not, in fact, employees that you ask about the status of your order.
During a recent snow storm that left my ex-husband’s house without power, Jonah was at one point asked if his phone had any battery left. When he checked, he realized that he only had 4% left and was bummed thinking about how his phone would soon totally die. Alex told him that he and Maya could go drive somewhere and charge their phones while they were out. Jonah had no idea what Alex was talking about.
“Well, how are we going to go anywhere in a car? The power is out.”
“What do you mean, Jonah?”
“Well, if the power’s out, the car won’t work.”
And, just in case you’re wondering, no…they don’t have an electric car. Nor does anyone he knows.
One morning this week while Jonah was at home on school break and I was training at CFNE, I get a phone call from him.
“Hi, Jonah. What’s up?”
“Well, I think I’ve encountered a situation.” (This is actually how he’s talking to me, which is as weird as it sounds.)
“What do you mean?” (I’ll admit, at this point I’m already annoyed at what he’s about to tell me.)
“I was just laying in my bed and my stomach started making these weird sounds.”
“What do you mean? Does it hurt?”
“No. It doesn’t hurt. But, it’s really loud. It’s like it’s yelling at me.” (I, literally, don’t even know what he’s talking about.)
“What do you mean it’s yelling at you?”
“It’s yelling at me. It’s really weird. I don’t know what to do. What should I do???”
“Jonah. Seriously. What the hell do you want me to do? Call the doctor and tell them your stomach is yelling at you, but it doesn’t hurt, but maybe we should schedule an appointment? Are you even serious right now?”
“Well, what should I do?”
“I don’t know. Just wait and see if it goes away, or call me if it starts to actually hurt.”
Later on that day, Jonah plops down next to me and says, “So, I figured out what was going on with my stomach.”
“Yeah? What’s that?”
“Well, you know that stuffed animal pigeon from that book that the kids have? Turns out I was laying on top of it and it was yelling LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!! And, that’s what I was hearing. It wasn’t my stomach.”
This is what I’m talking about. Is he just messing with me or is he actually trying to tell me that he mistook a stuffed animal talking for his stomach talking?
So, I casually close my eye lids, clench my jaw together enough to bypass the amount of frustration with the entire situation that I have, and simply say, “Wow. Really?”
While inside the space of my own head I am saying, “WHAT THE HELLLL IS WROONNNNNNGGG WITHHHH YOUUUUU!?!?!?!?!?!!?!”