Homemade cookies are better than girlfriends.

Trust me, my almost young man, girlfriends are nothing but trouble.  Teenaged girls will serve but one purpose in your life: to perpetually confuse, baffle and mislead you.  One moment your arm will be around her soft shoulders and you’ll be wondering how she makes her hair smell so nice and the next moment you’ll be standing outside the movie theater minutes before the show starts, tickets in your hand, hard-earned popcorn money in your pocket and a dazed look on your face because she’s, once again, mad at you for not saying “no, you don’t look fat” convincingly enough.  Watch closely as she rolls her watery eyes, tosses her pretty hair and walks away with the cool indifference of a spoiled house cat.  It’s a scene you should familiarize yourself with because, as many good intentions a teenaged girl may have, her mind will change with such rapid fire intensity that she knows not what she does….half the time.  The other half she’s manipulating you with her feminine wiles just because she can.  And you’ll fall victim to them just because you do.  Supposedly it’s a timeless game the opposing sexes play throughout their tumultuous teenaged years and well into their self-seeking 20’s, but quite frankly I’d advise you to just cram your face into college books for the next 15 years and pay no attention to females until they’re at least 30 years old.  That seems to be the average age when their heads slowly begin to remove themselves from their asses.  Some would argue that the head/ass removal process takes the entire decade between age 30 and 40, but it’s a good place to start.

Cookie?  They’re peanut butter, so soft and chewy, your favorite.  Who loves you the most?

Of course I’m generalizing; not every adolescent girl intends to twist your heart into a salted pretzel, just most of them.  And having been a teenaged girl myself at one time, I know a little about this.  And also, given the random outbursts, mood swings and dramatic clashes between you and your 13 year old sister, you should listen closely to the tiny voice inside your head, cautioning you to tread carefully and stay focused around girls.  Do not, however, confuse that voice with the louder, more boisterous one encouraging you to fling yourself upon the rocks where the pretty pretty mermaids are singing pretty pretty songs.  It’s easy for that hormonally charged force of nature to take over your brain and send you soaring past the point of no return.  Be smart.

You are smart, which is why I hope you’ll navigate the labyrinth of relationships sustaining, hopefully, only minor injuries.  But you’re also sweet, sentimental and it seems you haven’t developed the negotiating skills to defend yourself in the wild.  Or maybe I underestimate you, but you always look like a heap of chopped liver when your sister’s done with you so I’m just going with what I know.  I would encourage you to practice asserting yourself on her because she’s your sister and has no choice but to love you.  I gave you a little brother for the wrestling practice and I gave you a little sister so you’d already know what you’re up against.

Speaking of that persistently sparkling 13 year old you share a bathroom with, I’d be telling her the same things about teenaged boys if I were writing about her.   It would seem that what I’m saying might have less to do with the truth about the opposite sex and more to do with my own fears for you, my desires to protect you from heartache or the unhappiness that unavoidably follows one relationship to the next.

My method for tackling parenting dilemmas is to write things down and reread them, each reading bringing me closer to an understanding and appreciation of my role.  Aren’t you glad I work my problems out in a public blog?  What, you think my blog is embarrassing?  Let’s talk embarrassing.  Try having the bearded, lisping, hippie math teacher at school be your Dad.  Try growing up on a 200 acre tree farm, ten miles from civilization, having minimal contact with the outside world unless watching staticky CBC and PBS television counted.  Or try having your mother hang your head upside down and haphazardly snip pieces of your hair off because she thinks it will look cute, and when it doesn’t look cute she’ll tell you not to worry about it because this new cut is “all the rage.”  And when it isn’t all the rage no amount of dimpled charm or Aqua Net will save you.  Go ahead and roll your eyes at your refurbished iPod that sometimes needs rebooting, because the day you have to attach six feet of tinfoil to the end of your Panasonic tape deck radio antennae just so you can almost listen to Rick Dees and The Weekly Top 40 on WDHP is the day I feel badly for you.   And don’t give me that “I’ve heard this before, Mum” look because it could be worse.

You may feel like you’re completely ready to handle those magical, enchanting creatures called “teenaged girls” and even though I know you’re not ready and even though I worry that all the hard work I’ve put into raising a “good boy” will come undone, I’ll do my best not to sabotage your dates.   I can’t promise I won’t glare at her when you’re not looking though.

I will, however, tempt you into staying home with warm cookies and meaty pans of lasagna.  And in the end, if you still choose that crappy movie popcorn, I hope you’re nice to her, respect her and really stress the word no when she asks you if she looks fat in those jeans.

Love, Mum

Renée Chalou

About Renée Chalou

Renée Chalou lives and raises her family in Presque Isle, where she owns a fitness center, LiveWell United. Her oldest son is in his second year at UMO, her daughter plans to attend UMPI in the spring and her youngest son is an active, happy 11 year old in 6th grade. From her life experiences as a homeschooling parent, blending a family, and transforming herself from an overweight, side-line mother to a competitive athlete mother and fitness leader in her community, she writes about what she knows: living life well even when it's not perfect. She writes about finding and clinging to the good even when it would be easy to focus on the bad, no matter what challenges life brings. Life in Northern Maine is wonderful, full of adventures and sub-zero temperatures. It's not for everybody and nobody claims it's easy. But it's a good life, it's hers and she'd like to share some of it with you.