I know that raising teenagers can make parents wonder why they ever decided to move from small pets to children. Tonight was just that night for me. My oldest son (almost 17 years old) wanted to do nothing more tonight but debate EVERYTHING I told him. “Come and eat before your dinner gets cold” — his respond “it won’t get cold in the next 2 minutes!” …. “it’s time to turn off the tv and head to bed” — his response “babies go to be this early — you need to deal with me being a teenager now, Mooooom”.
I recognized the tone in the word “Mom” . The long drawn out “o” sound to reinforce that he is a teenager, cool and doesn’t want to be treated like a kid anymore. I remember trying that tone on my Mom and finding my Dad wasn’t a big fan. I reminded him that he is still a child and will be a child until he is 21 years old. Introducing the Great Debater. My son has a mild form of autism called Aspergers. I can’t imagine him any other way — his view on life makes me smile each and every day. Kids with autism are masterful at talking in circles – so much so that you can often find yourself completely confused and not able to remember where the entire debate even started. The Great Debater decided tonight was the night he would debate me until I raised a white flag in total exhaustion.
So it began. Somehow we started the debate with “you are still a child even though you are called a teenager”. “It isn’t called teenchild – it is called teenager”.
His debating skills began early in the honeymoon phase of his adoption. We were in Chicago for Thanksgiving with family and friends. I was seated next to Tra for Thanksgiving dinner. We had our plates, wine and we prepared to say our Thanksgiving blessing. I notice a frown across his forehead — I know this frown. What is he thinking? Please God don’t let him blurt anything out during the blessing. Uncle Frank at the head of the table thanks God for this Thanksgiving dinner. Amen. “This isn’t Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s 3:00 p.m. It isn’t Thanksgiving lunch and it isn’t Thanksgiving Dinner. God isn’t going to bless it because it ISN’T dinner. I see eyes darting back and forth across the table and I try to quiet him so I can explain. Nope — he wasn’t going to have it. The Great Debator was born. 13 minutes of a Dr. Suess style debate. It isn’t lunch, it isn’t dinner … said with a familiar Suess like style. Finally, Aunt Amy comes to the rescue — “Thanksgiving Dunch” – a cross between lunch and dinner and perfect for 3:00 p.m. Tra sat there for a minute and then decided the Great Debate would now end. Thanksgiving Dunch it would be from then on. I downed two glasses of wine and thanked God that we had ended the Great Debate before the entire Thanksgiving dinner was ruined.
Tonight the Great Debator won. After a long day at work – fixing dinner for the tribe of 5 — and Dad being out of town – I decided he was correct. He isn’t a teen-child — he is a teenager and I have 4 more coming up behind him. I either need to sharpen my debate skills or buy more wine!