Friday, January 11, 2013

Coffee Klatch

Oliver, Noah and I sat at a little table in the coffee shop, sipping our drinks and eating treats. We were waiting for Henry to get out of his school meeting. I used the opportunity to slyly inquire about the goings on at the middle school -- you know -- smoke out who has what boyfriend or girlfriend, who's in trouble, etc. I heard about a young "couple" who were "dating," and asked, "Who?" Oliver and Noah exchanged smiles and started laughing, and for a split second I thought it was going to be about Henry, but then they named another boy and another girl, both of whom I don't know.

Oliver: What that girl and her boyfriend do is so gross.

Me: What do they do?

Oliver: Ugh. It's just so gross. I don't even want to tell you.

Me: At your school? Come on! Tell me!

Oliver: NO! I can't! It's too gross!

Me: I think I can handle it, Oliver. Tell me.

Oliver: Give it up, Mom. You're past that. You're too old. You don't get it. You're soooooooo over all of that. You need to give it up.

For a split second I felt indignant and defensive, and then I realized that the image of ancient crone who has no idea of what's going on is a proper charade in these times. I smiled into the sunset and tried to figure out in my head just about when I realized that my parents were people. Good Lord, it took a while.

Reader, do you let your tweens and teens think you have no idea what's going on?


  1. I think my children were under no illusions (delusions?) about that.
    I was so much younger then.

  2. I love this posting. Not sure about the answer to your question, but I love it.

  3. I don't have kids, so this is pure conjecture -- but I wonder if it's really Oliver who has no idea what's going on. Perhaps he can't or won't describe it because it makes no sense to him.

  4. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!! Thank goodness I'm there but it took a long time.


  5. Ha! I'm afraid I was not above using all manner of approaches to get answers, i was a relentless journalist and lawyer's daughter, so my kids often just gave up the goods because they didnt want me to go all ninja detective on them. At least telling me stuff they could control the details I was privvy to. But I made sure to never appear shocked or alarmed because then they'd just clam up. And what Steve said!

  6. I try really hard to let my kids know I do know what's going on and they can ask me about anything. My son, who is 10, is already getting too much misinformation from his friends so I agree with Steve. They think they know a lot more than they do. Or could it be that Oliver was just too embarrassed to share?

  7. I spent so much time dishing out "TOO MUCH INFORMATION, MOM!!!" to my kids when they were younger that now that they are both in middle school, I think they enjoy reciprocating just to see if I'll squirm. I sometimes feign it so they'll keep talking about those 'gross' things, but I am secretly thrilled that they are sharing. I get lots of info from the other girls in the carpool, too, because most of their parents don't want to know. Me? It's my soap opera ;-).

  8. The approach I have always taken with my Teen (a college freshmen) is that she knows I totally know what is going on. She is used to it and rolls her eyes in an endearing way. For us this has worked really really well. It helps now that she is and adult (I use the term loosely) and is away from home with lots of opportunities for scary choices - we have a history that allows me to ask the tough questions to make sure she is safe and smart. This works for us.

  9. My kids are way too smart for me and can tell I'm snooping from a mile away. Even an innocuous question like "who did you have lunch with?" gets a sarcastic, "I ate alone. I have no friends. I thought about how I could get a gun." or "Not sure who the father is, must've happened at the drug fueled orgy." Since you don't really know them personally, I feel compelled to add that they are really good kids, they are just little smart alecks. I can't imagine where they got that from...

  10. I gave a long and rambling explanation of spin the bottle on the drive to drop mine (age 12) at their first co-ed new year's eve party (it was a sleepover but we picked them up at 12:30 because I aim to be the killjoy parent). They tolerated the historical example and then were unable (unwilling? disinterested?) to tell me the 2012 version of spin the bottle (would it even work with a cheap plastic bottle that would skitter around the room?).



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