WE passed a milestone this week. My son reached his 13th birthday.
Had we been Jewish, there would have been the mighty tradition of the bar mitzvah. Were we ancient Spartans, he’d be coming back from the mountains, where he had learned to be a warrior. Even today, in some parts of the world, a young man marks his 13th birthday or thereabouts by meticulously tracking and killing prey such as a giant anteater or a Thomson’s gazelle, then bears it back for the family to roast and feast upon.
We don’t get that many Thomson’s gazelles in Leith. Come to think of it, there aren’t that many left on the veldt, either, so I don’t imagine the authorities will be that thrilled with an endangered species forming the centrepiece of a birthday tea.
Boys, in general, aren’t encouraged to hunt in Scotland, although packs of lads are seen roaming parts of Edinburgh. It’s the mothers who do the hunting here in the west for that special gift, mainly in shops staffed by earnest young men who apparently seldom see daylight, judging from the pallor of their skins.
He wanted a computer doodah. It tracks his movements and he appears to actually be in the computer. It all sounds a bit suspect to me. I’ve seen these films, where the computers suck people into the screen and use them to take over the world.
Oh, by the way, if that is the plan by the fiendish computer mind, can I just point out that luring the average 13-year-old boy into your world domination scheme is a rubbish idea. Teen boys aren’t very interested in conquering the world. They are more interested in games that involve blowing up zombies. They certainly have no interest in saving the euro, which, if you are planning to take over the world, you are going to have to do at some point. In fact, given the state of the world economy, you might want to completely rethink that global domination plan.
So, for this milestone birthday, when he officially became a teenager, he got a new computer gadget and mama hunted down a birthday feast of La Favorita’s finest pizza. We insisted on a birthday cake, though, and made him blow out the candles.
No more tiny tempers as red rage takes hold
HE is now a teen boy, which, I can tell you from bitter experience, is a far simpler creature to deal with than a teen girl.
Teen girls are walking masses of hormonal rage with huge reservoirs of teen tears bubbling behind the eyes just waiting for the moment to flood. As a former teen girl myself, I recall being capable of ending any hosepipe ban the second David Smith failed to notice me in the playground.
Oh, and the door-slamming temper tantrums. My daughter, now safely in the calms of the 20s, rocketed from pre-teen toddler standard temper tantrum, to Nuclear Meltdown Unfettered Teen Scream Fury (Black Belt) overnight.
Boys transit the teen years by suddenly taking up a lot more room, learning to mumble and getting a lot more embarrassed.
Teen boy embarrassment is a joy to behold. Just how red can a face go?
Well, it’s easy to find out if you’re his mum. Wait until you spot him walking home from school then sweep across the road screaming “Coooooeeeeeee, my wee darling, come and give mummy a hug”.
Bingo! You could read by the light of that glowing fizzog. It was worth the midnight trip to Simpsons just for that.
Lifeboat shoes anchored to the floor with not a soul in sight
TEEN boys, though, do tend towards other baffling behaviour. The shoes, for example, which bear an uncanny resemblance to the lifeboats used aboard modern cruise liners, minus skulking Italian captains.
When not on teen feet, the shoes tend to sit in the middle of floors, looking like two content whales sitting side by side on the ocean surface. They cannot be put away for some reason. Teen shoes are clearly afraid of the dark.
Will this fridge vigil never end?
TEEN boys are inexorably drawn to refrigerators. As soon as they get home, the school bag hits the deck and it’s straight to the fridge. The door is opened. Teen boy stares at the cheese slices and yoghurts. He closes the door. He goes into the living room to take off and leave shoes where they can watch the TV.
He returns to the kitchen. He believes that the Fridge Fairy has, in the interim, loaded the shelves with teen boy goodies. He opens the door.
Of course, the Fridge Fairy has done no such thing. There before him lie the same cheese slices and one low-fat rhubarb yoghurt. He will go away. And come back about ten minutes later, and do the same thing again.
Is he getting some sort of teen boy tan from the fridge light? Is that how they top up the blush reaction?