Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Properly embarrassing my 8th grader . . .

The following are a few things I have learned through experience that are completely and utterly off limits when you are around your 13-year old boy and his friends or classmates:

1. NEVER sing along to songs in the car . . . it's bad enough when it's show tunes, but don't even try to stay synchronized to Coldplay.

2. NEVER show up to your child's Jr. High school unannounced - you always need a legitimate reason for crossing the threshold into the valley of hormones.

3. Don't attempt ANY semblance of a conversation with the other kids in the carpool, especially if they are 9th graders. "Hi, how are you?" is all that is allowed, don't you dare try to talk "powder" with the cool skier in the backseat. Your job is strictly a taxi service - stay invisible!

4. Don't use the word "jam session" when asking his friends if they are going to get together and play electric guitar.

5. Please don't yell, "HEY FRIEND!" down the Jr. High hallway if you happen to see a good friend whose son also attends the school . . . oh, and after yelling, you're apparently not allowed to run up and give the said friend a big hug.

6. Don't mess up and use the word "play-date" when inviting your teenage son's friends to come "hang out." Oh, and don't ask, "would you like a treat?" when they are rummaging through the pantry looking for some grub.

7. Absolutely under ANY circumstance try and run your fingers through your son's hair with the lame attempt to discreetly push it out of their eyes in front of his peers . . . major points lost for that one.

8. DON'T attempt giving your kid a giant hug in front of all their friends, and don't take it personally if they turn into a steel beam if you try :-).

OK, that said, yesterday was the pinnacle of embarrassment for Ryan since I broke at least four of the rules within a 15 minute period. First of all, I did have a good reason to go to the school - 9th grade registration and information session about high school credits for next year. That's it - I was to show up, keep my mouth shut, fill out the paper work, and leave as discreetly as I came. Are you kidding?? This is my opportunity, one of the rare moments when I can watch Ryan in action . . . see all his cute friends he hangs out and watch with interested the interaction between my son and the other 8th graders.

Well, first off, I arrive just in time to give him a hug and offer a cheery "hello" and "what's everyone been up to lately?" to all his friends. Now Ryan starts rolling his eyes and shooting me the "please mom, don't embarrass me" look. This is a delicate rule - I can ask these things when it's just the "guys," but you throw some cute girls in the picture, then you're not allowed to speak. So, we get seated at a table by the entrance and I just can't keep my hands off my son's hair - really, I just need to see his face, he's overdue for a trim! I quickly realize I'm breaking another rule by the look he gives me "the look" accompanied by the, "Mom, don't touch my hair" under his breath. I'm really trying here, but apparently losing some points. So, we begin and the counselor begins asking questions, which I didn't realize were intended for the kids, and accidentally blurt out one of the answers. . . "MOM - shhhh, don't answer the questions!"

OK, I figure I've done about as much harm as could be done and tell myself not to say or do anything else to embarrass Ryan. Well, it just happens that the next minute my Costco soul-mate and friend, Jodelle, frantically enters the room late. Ryan and I are at the first table by the door, her son Bowen is across the room on another table (dang those counselors and pre-determined seating, or we would have all been together). I offer an excited wave and try to discreetly point to where her table is while the counselor is talking.

You have to know Jodelle, she's not what most people would consider "discreet" when excited about something. She waves to us, offers a whispered "hello friend," then suddenly stops (in the front of the classroom), takes off her coat to reveal that we are wearing the EXACT same sweater from Coscto - same color, everything. Then she points to her sweater, points back at mine and blurts out: "COSTCO BABY!!" That did it . . . all the kids (and their parents) are looking at me (and Ryan) and back at Jodelle while she scurries to her table. I have NEVER seen Ryan's face so red and really, he was beyond embarrassment. He literally couldn't speak - the look on his face said it all . . . "are you kidding me? . . . that DID NOT just happen . . . you and Jodelle are NEVER showing up at my school together ever AGAIN!"

That, my friends is the only way to fully and properly embarrass your teenager :-). The good news is that we all shared a good laugh about it at dinner last night . . . Ryan bounces back quick - what a kid.


Kristin said...

OMGOSH! That is the funniest post I've read in ages!!!! I am seriously peeing my pants, and secretly telling myself, that it will never happen to me, bc my son adores me and would never be embarrassed by me... and he loves me... and and WAAAAAHHHH! I don't want them to grow up!!!!
Thanks for the heads up on the rules. I'll keep them in mind. In the deep dark secret scary recesses of my mind. NOOOOO!

Nakita Ellis said...

Haha, I can only image what kind of embarrassment I will cause my kids some day. This is too funny!!

lyn. said...

Been there, done that... LOL

Kathryn said...

That is a great story Julie! How funny that you have me in a panic about when our registration is because Kayla is the same age.
Sing in the car? NEVER!
Talk to everyone - oh no - you are invisible! How funny that the rules are kind of the same for boys and girls.

Carrie said...

How funny! I'm glad my kids are all under the age of 7 :)