Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How To Play With Your Teenager

I think most mothers of teenagers will agree with me when I say that "play time" with teens is quite limited.
That is, I am no longer the go-to for entertainment. Mommy, will you read me a story? Watch this movie with me! Mommy, I just want you to hold me. Can we play Candyland? (I specifically remember wanting to run away in some of those moments...)
And now I find myself ecstatic when my kids "invite" me to play along with them.
Anyway - back to my point. I don't have a lot of play time with my nearly-grown-up kiddos.
Which is why I secretly don't really mind that Matthew never gets up with his alarm in the morning.
The kid is a heavy sleeper!
Because that means I always get to go in and play with wake him up.

The regular morning routine is this:
6:30 - Matthew's alarm and my alarm go off. I hit snooze; Matthew doesn't budge.
6:39 - My alarm sounds again. If Matthew hasn't gotten up (which is the typical behavior) I groan, get up, and go across the hall to play.
6:40-6:45 - I open the door, turn on the light, and announce to Matthew that it's his lucky day, because he gets to go to school. (Or, if the timing was right, and I just heard the "Clean Joke of the Day" on the radio - I tell Matthew the joke. So he gets a chance to groan. *wink*) I then proceed to ask Matthew if he's getting up on his own that day, or if he needs my assistance. Note: He NEVER gets up on his own! So I walk over to his bed and either grab the blankets and pull them off, or skip the blanket step and go right to poking and tickling. Matthew swats his arms at me, calling out, "Stop it! Stop it!" and I dodge. Then I go in for more poking and tickling, and he keeps flailing his arms. Sometimes he gets me good, but most of the time I'm quick enough to get out of the way. And occasionally, if I am not convinced he's awake enough, I pull him right out of bed so he drops on the floor.
By this time, I am confident that he's awake so I go back to lay down for a few more minutes. Always listening of course, to make sure he gets up. Now and then I have to go back for a repeat performance.

One morning as Brian was observing this routine he commented something about Matthew depending on me for his wake-up call. And hinted at the fact that I could just not go in - thereby making Matthew take responsibility for himself. While I could see his point I conceded the fact that I like going in to get Matthew up each morning, because it is a rare time when the two of us laugh and play together. Besides, I said, the reason I hit snooze every day is to give Matthew a nine-minute opportunity to get up on his own.
Brian got my point.

The thing which absolutely touched my heart was the day Matthew was calling out for me to "Stop it! Stop it!" and I said, "You know, if you just got up on your own I wouldn't come in here and torture you every morning." And he responded by smiling and saying, "Yeah. But this is when we have fun!"
And at that moment I knew, my teenager still likes playing with me.


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