You know how sometimes you find your completely adorable child incredibly, gratingly and undeniably obnoxious? It’s kind of an amazing transformation when you think about it. One moment you are mourning his speedy entry into adolescence because it means he will soon be leaving you and the next you are seriously considering reaching over him to open the passenger door and boot his sorry butt to the pavement.
Take, for example, the long car ride home from school today. Youngest was reaaaallly getting on my nerves: he kept putting the windows down after I put them up, he veered dangerously close to being bratty and actually called me "fool" at one point – not a fool, not you fool, just "fool."
As payback for his behavior (note to self: plummeting to their level is not an ideal parenting strategy), I refused to change the music from Bach’s Mass in B Minor to something more melodious to his thirteen-year-old ears.
After a really, really long time, we arrived home. And as we were walking inside, I heard him singing a piece of the mass, which pleased me enormously. He had returned to his old form, thank God, and was sliding happily into my good graces until I realized that he had replaced the sacred text, "Hosanna in excelsis", with something to the effect of "Osama vin chelsis." That did it. I turned to him and said tartly, "you know, Youngest, sometimes you can just not say something that is floating around in your head. You don’t always have to express yourself."
As he disappeared into his room, he tossed this back to me: "Mom, if we didn’t express ourselves, we’d still be English."