Approximately 16 years ago we brought a darling little angel home from the hospital. She was so sweet-tempered, even at age 2 ¾, that we decided to press our luck and bring home another.
Since then our lives have been blessed with two little rays of sunshine. There were a few grey clouds here and there but they cleared quickly, never more than a passing shower or minor squall.
Just like that they both turned into sullen, surly teenagers. Over night. Last night to be precise.
I tucked them in as Momma's Little Angels, they woke up as The Reasons Momma Drinks Before Noon.
I shouldn't be surprised. I mean, they both are teenagers now. But The Little Prince has been 13 for a whole month without a personality downgrade. It must take a while for hormones to spin completely out of control.
The Princess has been a moody teen for three years so we've learned to expect her anti-parental behavior. She's always made it clear that I have absolutely no idea what it's like to be young. When these situations arise I roll my eyes, sigh in a put-upon manner and ignore her the best I can (behavior I obviously learned from her, having never been a teenager myself).
Unfortunately it is not legal to list surly teens for sale on Craigslist. Read the fine print. Also, it is no longer politically correct to threaten to sell surly teens to a band of wandering Gypsies.
Since The Prince began his descent into sullenness, The Princess has moved on to unbearably perky, chatty and goofy – becoming a stereotypical “Blonde,” although she's not blonde (but she wants to be and would be if only her uncaring, clueless mother would let her bleach her hair).
So I have one child who communicates monosyllabically, and one who communicates non-stop-o-syllabically.
Put the two of them together? God have mercy on my soul.
Today was a textbook example of life in the eye of the perfect hormonal storm....
The Princess arose uncharacteristically early – before noon – and asked what we would be doing for fun. I realized with a shock that summer is almost over (SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER!!!) and we haven't done anything fun together yet.
They have been wanting to go paddle boarding (Princess) and fishing (Prince), so with Dad at work (lucky, lucky man), I figured this was the perfect day to hit the open-ish water. I told the little former-angels they had an hour to get ready.
Fortyfive-minutes later I was the only one not wearing pajamas.
At this point I reminded them that they should dress appropriately for boating and/or fishing. I continued to make this announcement every two minutes until it was time to go.
My mistake was assuming that my children knew what constitutes “appropriate” clothing for boating and/or fishing on a hot, humid Iowa afternoon (eg: swimsuits/grubby clothes).
They do not.
They do, however, apparently think it's perfectly normal for me to randomly decide to wear a spandex miniskirt (AKA skirted “hide-my-ass” swimsuit) in public. My example, like my announcement, was completely ignored. But let me sing one little Billy Joel tune in the car... then they notice!
Officially, the body of water we went to is a “lake.” Unofficially, we have christened this former quarry a “lonk,” as it is somewhere between lake and a pond, size-wise.
Unofficially it could also be termed a “field,” as it was so clogged with water plants The Prince decided he could not fish and would instead share a canoe with me. This ensured him a captive audience while he silently brooded over the infinite un-fishing-fairness of the universe.
Officially, this lonk boasts 95 acres of surface area. I wouldn't know. If one acre is approximately the size of a football field, we spent 60 minutes paddling our canoe back and forth and sideways in an area the size of one end zone. Despite our lack of skill, we were at the mercy of high winds and currents. Or lonk monsters.
Princess Paddle Board had a little more luck. She was also stuck in the end zone-sized area, but at least she was able to avoid the thick, gooey, paddle-snagging weeds growing thickly enough to walk on near the shoreline.
Or she was lucky until we almost ran into her while trying – for the umpteenth time – to escape our own personal Bermuda Triangle and make it to the dock (it would have been easier to portage across the weeds).
That's when she fell in the lonk. And I found out she did not, in fact, have on a swim suit. And I would have to haul her lonk-water logged body home smelling like a lonk.
“ARE WE ALL HAVING FUN YET?!” I screamed.
The children answered in the usual teen manner of indistinct mumbles, grumbles and sighs.
I answered with clear, distinct and creative swearing.
So, would we do it again?
After everyone dried off, cooled down, and filled up on junk food, their angelic little faces lit up with broad smiles as we laughed about our adventure.
A smile is the non-o-syllabic form of teen communication that speaks the loudest.