Jeni Marinucci: Panic Button Years


Welcome to the Teenage Years

Once the Ride Begins, You Can’t Get Off

I have a teenage daughter, which, according to my nonsensical mathematical prowess, should entitle me to free chocolate until she’s twenty-one and also maybe a sparkly crown of some sort. If you have — or have had — one of these mystical teenage creatures, you understand what I am talking about. If your children are still young, and not yet spouting hair on their faces or in their armpits and smell not yet of AXE or Warm Vanilla Sugar body spray with subtle “goat” undertones, perhaps you are reading here in because you thought some preparation was a good parenting strategy.

Why not?” you may have asked yourself. “My sweet little Michael/Olivia/Sebastian/Rainbow Sunshine Rain will be a teenager one day and so maybe I’ll have a peek to see what this whole “teen” thing is all about.” If that’s the case, read no further. Be off with you; head back into that blissful low-stress bubble wherein your only concerns are dietary needs and playdates, skating lessons and grade four homework. This here is being deep in the trenches; this is the big time. Keep your cuddly little one close, for those days will be over before you know it and the child who hold your hand all the way to the front door of the school will one day request you drop them off 3 blocks from school property in a -17 Canadian winter. That same child will also act like a perfect stranger if you happen upon them with peers in a public setting. If your child has not yet slammed a door, used $15 worth of hair conditioner in one week, and doesn’t know what “Hashtag” or “Close the goddamn refrigerator door!” means, then you are not ready for this jelly.

Don’t get me wrong. I speak with absolute sincerity when I say I love teenagers. But I love them much in the way I love the grand wild beasts of the African safari: with a great deal of respect and caution. Approaching them with food in hand is also a good idea. I think teenagers today get a bad name when the vast majority are hardworking and responsible kids who yes, make some mistakes, but who are for the most part lovely creatures who deserve second and third and fourth and fifth chances. I am no expert at this “teenager” thing, other than having been one back in (as my teenager refers to them) “Ye Olden Thymes of Yore.” And she’s right, for the most part. At almost 15, this girl is amazing in many ways. She’s bright and wry and caustic and biting and witty and frustrating and stubborn and I love her all of the time. But I don’t always “like” her and if you have teenagers yourself then you know exactly what I mean.

I hope to use this blog to start a dialogue about our teenagers, using both topical and newsworthy stories as a springboard, as well as some of my personal experience as I navigate these new parenting waters. We need each other, fellow parents. I’ve spoken to my daughter and she knows I’ll be talking about her sometimes and she’s cool with it. She knows I have her privacy and best interests at heart, and that while I may employ humour as a coping device, I have a deep respect for teenagers and the challenges they face. At least I think she knows that. When I asked her what she thought of my new blog she threw her hair back, rolled her eyes and said, “WhatEVER....”

Please let me know if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss as it pertains to teenagers. I’m looking forward to posting at Yummy Mummy Club, and remember parents of teens: We’re all in this together. See you at the liquor store.