Monday, September 10, 2007

Teenage chicks gone wild: An adolescent gang is terrorizing our neighborhood.

Remember the turkey chicks? They've grown a lot over the Summer and have become a marauding horde, terrorizing the neighborhood's tidy lawns and flower gardens.

They're almost as tall as Emily now. The smallest is taller than Gretta.

The local residents are much less amused with them than they were in May.

On a related note, Mother in Israel says "teenagers are a tikkun". As I have a teen, a tween, and three 'in the wings', (my apologies - couldn't resist the ornithological pun) I find this attitude very helpful. "Tikkun" is a much better -more accurate and more positive - word than "nissayon" (test/trial) which I had been using.

A trial is an opportunity to fail, to be found lacking, to be found guilty. (Okay, it's also an opportunity to succeed, to be found competent, to be found not guilty, too. But show me a parent in the trenches of adolescence who sees it that way, and I'll show you someone whose confidence gives me an involuntary shudder of superstition. Sometimes, bliss is ignorant.)

Instead of thinking of this time as a trial, I'm going to try to think of it as an opportunity to repair. Instead of thinking of it as the bill coming due for how much trouble I caused my parents, I'll (attempt to) see it as an opportunity to 'pay down the balance' that I owe them.

Which brings me to my revision of the "Parent's Curse". The Parent's Curse is when parents see their child misbehaving, and say, "May you have kids just like you."

This always bothered me, not only because of the incredibly distasteful idea of cursing your own kids, but also because of the astounding short-sightedness of wishing for ill-behaved grandchildren.

Instead, when I to catch them doing something extraordinary, I offer them my Parent's Blessing: "May you have kids just like you." (G-d forbid they have kids just like me! If they do, I'm not babysitting.)

(Please give me 10 points for having the restraint and good taste to refrain from referring to "leaving the nest" or calling grandchildren "a feather in my cap". See the Savage Chickens: The Optimist Cartoon and Savage Chickens: Therapy Hut Cartoon for more foul advice.)

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