Every once in a while, Derek will exhibit signs of what he readily refers to as a "mood". Now, this may strike fear into the heart of any parent who's ever dealt with an adolescent...but before you panic, remember, he's a BOY. Therefore, his particular version of teenage angst is verrry different than the drama that, say...I might have perpetrated as a frequently emotional...sometimes hormonal...occasionally downright irrational...high school chick. To illustrate what I'm talking about, this is how one such episode played out yesterday:
We're driving home after completing an errand, when Derek spots a man walking his dog. He comments critically,"Jeez, it's 40 degrees, does he really need long pants and a Winter coat?"
I reply, "Well, maybe not the parka, but people DO cover their legs when it's this chilly, dear."
After a short pause, he muses, "Yeah...today Coach told me I should wear pants."
Now, filling in the blanks--because I do, in fact, speak fluent Teenage Guy Dialect (as much as that's even possible, anyway)--I inferred that he passed the Varsity Soccer Coach, standing outside his classroom and monitoring the...hallway mayhem. I feel I must note, here, that I personally have never EVER witnessed this man attired in anything but...cargo shorts and an athletic t-shirt (or polo, if he's being all fancy and whatnot). However, Derek assured me that, in deference to the temperature, on this day he had chosen jeans...and a Philadelphia Flyers jersey.
Curious, I asked Derek if many of the kids in his school tended to wear shorts at this time of year. He gave it about a second's deliberation, then responded, "No, mostly they wear pants if it's under 50 degrees." Aha! You see, this is NORMAL behavior, my polar bear son. After all, the mercury (or, you know, "digital readout") showed a balmy 25 this morning when you walked to the bus stop. Yet even in the face of this overwhelming scientific evidence...that he should protect his bare legs from, say, the very real threat of frostbite, for crying out loud...he still protested vigorously, "According to the weather app, the 'Real Feel' was 28!"
He delivered this news triumphantly, as though he expected it to end the argument in its tracks, with him being the clear victor. He didn't count on me standing there, head cocked, staring at him as if he had sprouted a 5th limb, confusion written all over my face. So he started to repeat his fascinating little piece of data, like the problem was that I didn't understand it the first time...rather than thinking he was being completely ridiculous. But I cut him off, "You're aware that that means it's below freezing, right?"
Now it was his turn to look perplexed, "No, it's not." Au contraire, my son--32 marks the point at which water turns to ice, ergo anything less than that is, well, "below freezing". His gaze turned mutinous as he continued to seek ways to defy this logic...and in another moment he snapped, "I'm gonna ask Dad!" while turning on his heel and stalking into the house. Don't get me wrong--I'm sure this changes nothing, and tomorrow he'll show up for breakfast in a sweatshirt and shorts, no matter what the thermometer tells us. But at least he knows the truth...for whatever it's worth.
Then there was the second incident, centering around the arrival of an Amazon order...
D (mildly intrigued): "What's in the box?"
Me (off-handedly): "Just some lotion."
D (jokingly): "Ooh, can I have some?"
Me: "Nah...you wouldn't want it; it's girl stuff."
D (nosing through the package): "What else?"
Me (only half paying attention): "Nothing."
He reaches in and pulls out another item that I'd missed, tucked into the corner of the carton.
D (in mock indignation): "Mom, for this relationship to work, you can't lie to me!"
Me (choosing to ignore the tone): "Oh, right, I forgot I ordered toothbrush covers."
D (shaking his head dismissively): "All I'm hearing, here, is a bunch of excuses."
Me (with very genuine exasperation): "ALL RIGHT, GO AWAY NOW, YOU OBNOXIOUS TEENAGER!"
Siiiighhhh. Life with Derek: usually amusing...occasionally annoying...seldom dull. And yes, I DO try to thank my lucky stars as often as possible that I was dealt Y-chromosome children. After all, how else would I be able to disappear behind a closed door for some peace and quiet once in a while, and use the excuse "Leave me alone...I need some girl time..."? (And maybe an adult beverage, come to think of it...)