Raising Teens is Like A Roller Coaster: Part I

You know that cramp in your gut you get when you first see your kid holding hands with the opposite sex? Well, assuming your kid is not a Dugger. Whether they are a boy or a girl, it’s inevitable.

It’s a feeling akin to the drop in your stomach as you crest the hill of a giant roller coaster–your stomach takes flight and you feel that helpless grip of fear like a shot of adrenaline. Every fingertip, every toenail lights up with dread and the knowledge that there’s nothing you can do except hold on and ride it out.
Need a refresher? Watch this video for some butt-cheek-clenching action.

Having raised two Water-girls relatively safely to adulthood, I can tell you that going through the same thing with Mancub is just as terrifying, and the roller coaster analogy fits perfectly here. Based on this idea, I have some tips and encouragement for you.

1. Don’t close your eyes. When things get tough–and they will–your kid needs you front and center to help him decipher what is real and what is fake. When we see our kids in the throes of unrequited love, it stings. If you have any issues with chemical imbalance (or other craziness, like me), you can trust that it will appear out of nowhere if you think your kid is being mistreated or not appreciated. More on this to come.

2. Just when you aren’t expecting it–life will throw you a corkscrew turn and it’s hard to tell what’s up and what’s down. You wouldn’t think that other people’s family problems should screw with your family dynamic, but they can and will. If it’s 10:00 on a school night and your Mancub (who is supposed to be asleep) knocks on your door in a panic because something is happening with one of his friends that can’t wait–oh yeah. That’s happened to is before. In this case, you have to do your best to calm down your kid and be trustworthy enough that when you say “We’ll check on this in the morning,” he actually believes you. This is so important–he’s watching to see how you handle this, and he needs to know that adults are trustworthy and he doesn’t have to solve it himself.

3. Sometimes you get the air knocked out of you–it’s friendly fire but that doesn’t put the air back in any quicker. There’s nothing that brings out the worst character flaws in both your kid and you than an argument about his/her Beloved. No matter how close you are, those raging hormones you’ve heard tell about will win every single time–for a season. You just have to roll with it, and the best position to embrace the madness is on your knees.

4. Sometimes you just have to raise your arms and embrace the terror. Scary things happen to teens in a fraction of a second and sometimes we have to think on our feet. When you are going through a scary time with your teen, it can really seem like forever. This child that was knit in your womb may seem like a stranger. Hang on dear parent. Hang on for dear life. You’ll be on the ground soon.
Until the next time.

The Blog Where I Talk About Mancub and Aunt Sandi’s Surprise Visit


So I’m sitting in the car enjoying some chocolate custard with my girls and my phone rings. Incidentally, this is the day I wrote the “Choose Joy” post … so you know God was up in heaven stroking his beard and saying, “Hmmm. Let’s test this theory.”

Here’s the conversation.

Me: Hi Honey (My husband is on the phone. Thought I’d clarify so nobody starts any rumors, because I don’t call anybody Honey except Hubby, except for that time I was under anesthesia which doesn’t count).

Hubby: So guess what? (I’m a bit nervous here, because he’s using THAT voice. No, no not THAT voice, THAT THAT voice, the one that says, “I have something to tell you that is gonna freak you out.”

Me: What?

Hubby: “Aunt Sandi’s here. She’s sitting in the driveway.”

Me: What?

Aunt Sandi is Lee’s 70-year-old maternal aunt. She’s kind of like Mary Poppins in that she flies in and is gone as quickly as she came. Also, she has a huge purse, so there’s that.

Hubby: “Yep. She’s here. She said she told YOUR SON she was coming yesterday.”

My son, aka Mancub, said nothing of the sort. He suffers from short-term memory loss, which is highly selective. He can’t remember to give me field trip forms, to tell me he needs lunch money, or to let me know that Aunt Sandi is coming to visit.

Let me be clear: I love Aunt Sandi. She’s a kick. The last time she flew into town I got my first tattoo, and she got her 5th. Or 6th. Whichever. And the whole time the 20-ish year old man was inking a dragon on her right buttock she shamelessly flirted with him. I had to tell her to behave. She also speeds and has severe road rage, but she is super kind and supportive and very fun.

One of the things Mancub and Aunt Sandi discussed on this easily forgotten phone call was that he said, “No Auntie, don’t get a hotel room! That’s crazy. You can stay in MY room. No of course, I don’t mind!” Then he went back to Minecraft world where the biggest problems he encounters are creepers and griefers. Sounds like my high school years.

Do you have a Mancub or Watergirl? You do? I’m sure at your house, your Mancub freaking DELIGHTS in cleaning his room, starting online competitions with his equally squeaky clean friends over who has the tightest bed sheets and the Shinyest Toilet Seat Award.

The last time I went in his room, it had that weird smell–you know the one. It’s a curious blend of sweaty socks, damp towels, old nachos and testosterone. The Exxon Station on the corner has a cleaner bathroom. There was a sad collection of empty toilet paper rolls stowed away behind the toilet, victims of the use and toss method.

You’d be so proud of me, though. I took a deep breath and counted to 10,000. I was only sobbing in the fetal position for ten minutes. That’s like a record for me.

Hubby is totally laid back about the whole thing. When he got home from work, he entered the house with the laizze fare of the mayor in the 4th of July Parade. I was surprised when he didn’t throw cheap candy to the crowd. Very rarely has Hubby EVER gotten upset…he’s a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy–even Steven. So I gave him a toilet plunger and pointed toward Mancub, whom I was fairly sure I was never going to see again in his Hoarders: Buried Alive room. At one point I opened the door a crack and threw in a couple of sandwiches and some hand sanitizer but that’s it. Those boys were on their own.

We always have such fun when Sandi visits. She shakes up the routine and we can’t help having a good time.

And Mancub’s bathroom is pretty clean for a couple of days–so win/win.

7 Quick Breakfasts For Your Procrastinating Teen


In Leave it to Beaver, June has her pearls on and looks like a supermodel as she whips up a hearty breakfast for her family. Ward has time to leisurely read the paper and drink coffee while Wally and the Beav are encouraged to eat their eggs. June proudly gives them fresh-squeezed orange juice to go with the five-course meal, and everyone leaves for work or school with fuel for the day, lunch boxes and smiles on their faces.

That’s just on TV, people. Here’s how it goes down in the Jungle.

I’m standing by the stove in Nate’s Angry Birds t-shirt, pj’s and fluffy socks, hastily throwing together a lunch for him with one eye open (this is if I’m not teaching that day). The blind chihuahua is underfoot, betting I’m gonna drop something, creating an obstacle course of sorts as I stumble around. Nobody even comes out of their rooms until 7:15 so if I don’t have something portable they aren’t gonna eat. There’s no cheerful music in the background–only Sid the angry angelfish looking at me with that one weird eye. He’s judging me, I know. I make Nate’s lunch every day, but he always loses his lunch box so I end up putting it in a used Wal-Mart bag. Don’t judge me.

Mancub ALWAYS underestimates the amount of time it takes to actually get ready for school in the morning. I think he mistakenly believes that he is “The Flash” and has superpowers that enable him to get up, shower, tame his mane, find clean weather-appropriate clothes, get his school work together, grab his lunch and hydrate in .27 seconds before his dad leaves for work.This is a false assumption.

This is imperative because should he miss his ride he has to WALK TO SCHOOL which inevitably leads to Kardashian- sized drama, industrial-size sighing and frantic last-minute calls to Watergirl and other Cubs to try to grab a ride. I’ve already told him I won’t drive him if he misses his ride with his dad, because he’s dang lucky that I got out of bed at 6:00 to make him breakfast and a sack lunch (because the school lunches are LAME), help locate clean socks (you’re welcome) and remind him to for the love of all things holy NOT FORGET HIS SPANISH HOMEWORK that he spent 16 hours on the night before.

Maybe it sounds cruel to you, but we had a time period of about 4 weeks at the beginning of the school year in which each morning after repeatedly lying around in the morning listening to the clever antics of Kidd Craddick’s hilarious crew, and then moving at the speed of a drugged slug to get his stuff done in the morning. I’m serious. Had we filmed him, and put the images on fast-forward, he would STILL only move about one inch per second, roughly the speed of a stop-motion filmmaker. It was a Herculean effort each morning, leaving the both of us drained and bitter. Something had to give or else Mom was bound for a breakdown. Again.

For all of you parenting experts out there, YES, we tried the “get up earlier” and “get your things together the night before” tactics but to no avail. There was little we didn’t try, short of hiring Mancub a personal butler. The only thing that seemed to motivate him was the effect of natural consequences. We actually live less than a mile from the school so it’s not super barbaric to make him walk, I swear. But to hear him tell it, it’s likened to a 30 mile hike up Pike’s peak.

Here are 7 quick breakfasts that I make for Mancub that he loves. Some of them are portable so he can scarf them in the car. If he doesn’t eat breakfast, it only hurts me (and my food supply) when he gets home and is starving and feels like he must clean out the fridge to make up for the injustice his stomach has endured all day. It’s a vicious cycle, people. And before you ask, we do have cereal available but he hardly ever eats it–again–it’s pretty time-consuming and time is a luxury for organized people.

1. Breakfast burritos. These are so quick and easy I can assemble them in about 5 minutes. I scramble up a couple of eggs and add cheese and salsa and he’s good to go. If I have bacon, sausage or turkey, it’s even better. I’ve even been known to make 20 or so of these over the weekend for reheating. It lasts about 2 days once the boys discover they are in there–so better just to make them as needed.

2. Frozen waffle sandwich. I take two waffles, toast them, spread Nutella on each one, slice fresh strawberries or bananas on top of the Nutella, then put it together like a sandwich. He LOVES this. If I’m out of Nutella, I use peanut butter and banana.

3. Fruit smoothie. In the blender, I add a small container of high-protein yogurt, whatever fruit I have on hand, a cup of milk and a few ice cubes. I give it to him in a disposable cup and he’s good to go.

4. A protein shake and a baggie of sliced apples. There are many ready-to-go protein shakes that are available, and I just chuck them in the fridge for mornings that are really rushed. He can grab it on the way out. I make sure they have at least 15 grams of protein.

5. A bagel with cream cheese and fruit. It’s the same concept as the waffle sandwich. I always have some kind of flavored cream cheese on hand. If I buy strawberry cream cheese then I put strawberries in the middle. If it’s blueberry cream cheese then I use blueberries. I can also put some blueberries in a baggie to go with it.

6. Fresh fruit/veggie juice. This actually takes a bit longer for me to make because I have to wash the veggies/fruit and juice them in the juicer. Nate’s favorite is a carrot/apple/pineapple blend. I can get away with 1 leaf of kale in it but not much more than that. There’s a mathematic formula Nate calculates that directly correlates his likelihood of drinking juice depending on how green the final product is. The greener it is, the less Nate is willing to drink it.

7. Banana muffins. These are quick to make and always portable. They take about 5 minutes to mix and about 10 minutes to bake. I add applesauce to the batter for extra flavor. He loves them.

If you and your family have a routine that cuts time in the morning, please share it here!

UPDATE: Here are a few other gems I’ve discovered that need NO COOKING and can be grabbed on the way out the door.For nutrition’s sake,  I try to combine a couple of fruit/veggie/protein combos so he’s not hungry later. For example, a yogurt, a box of raisins and a baggie of nuts. Here are some things we mix and match for busy mornings.

8. Chobani yogurts to go. They come in Go-gurt type tubes but are lower sugar and higher protein. Nate loves them, and they have chocolate!

9. Boxed raisins or other dried fruit/fresh fruit.

10. Protein shakes (to go). We like Muscle Milk and I’ve been trying the new Post brand. Muscle Milk has more protein and less carbs though.

11. String cheese. These come in so many different kinds.

12. A baggie of almonds or cashews.

13. Fruit bursts. They are like portable applesauces, but some have veggies too.

Your Teen and the Chore Question



(Photo: my “clean” kitchen). Mancub is supposed to clean the kitchen before he goes to bed. However, there is a huge canyon between what he sees as clean and what I see as clean. Think Grand Canyon sized. So we’ve been cheerfully chatting about what “clean” means. I’m sure you’re picking up on my tone here…about as cheerful as a millionaire on tax day. Sometimes, enforcing chores makes for a rough night.
What I view as clean, Mancub views as hospital sterile. White glove inspection winner. You get the drift.What he views as clean is somewhere between an episode of Hoarders and moving day for the Gosslins.

We have got to find a happy medium here if we want peace to return to the jungle. It’s not just him; it’s the species. Teens naturally do not want to take time away from more worthy pursuits such as Mine Craft and Skyping with their Watergirls. On a scale from 1-10, I’d say finishing up chores is somewhere around -150.
I realize not everyone agrees with having their teens do chores. One of my friends just does everything herself to avoid the never-ending heartache of trying to make her teens help out around the house. Sometimes, admittedly, it’s similar to trying to rope a rattlesnake or to go cat fishing with your bare hands. Remember that show “Hillbilly Hand Fishing”? A breeze compared to getting your teen to cooperate on the chore thing.
I just feel like it’s important that Mancub learn to do these tasks of doing chores, and that learning to do things you don’t like to do is just part of life. I for one do not enjoy squishing my hands through 2 pounds of hamburger in order to make the perfect meatloaf, but cubs gotta eat.

How do you solve the chore question? I’d love to hear what works or doesn’t work in your jungle!

Mancub, Roseanne and Bonding


I came into the living room to find Mancub sprawled out in front of the TV, taking up the chair, the ottoman, and part of the living room floor with his ginormous 16 wide-sized feet. He was watching…get this…reruns of Roseanne! I could not believe it. As he chuckled at Roseanne’s antics, my heart welled with pride and somehow, I felt, we’d never been closer. Note to the reader: this picture does not accurately reflect Nate’s gigantic size.

As an 80s kid, I watched tons of television.
I watched The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Magnum P.I., I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Gilligan’s Island, Fantasy Island, Dallas, Knight Rider, Little House on the Prairie, Scooby Doo and Batman (the original, not-so-cool Batman with Adam West).

When my grandma babysat me in her tiny retirement community apartment that smelled like cigarette butts and potted plants, she loved to watch The Price is Right, followed by All My Children and General Hospital.

Honestly, I don’t know how she could stand watching T.V. with my 8-year-old self. I would often run around her apartment like a crazed lunatic, pretending Bob Barker had chosen ME out of the crowd to win a new washer and dryer set and a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni. She never did tell me to quiet down or stop being nutso. I think her little stash of Kentucky bourbon had something to do with it. By the time As The World Turns was on, she was prettttty relaxed and open to suggestions.

At home, I have to say that my favorite TV family was the Connors of Roseanne, BEFORE they won the lottery. This is such an important distinction. After they won the money and Dan cheated on Roseanne, I couldn’t watch it anymore.

Do you remember Roseanne? If you are over 30 you could not miss her.

She pretty much blew away any kind of preconceptions of motherhood and wifedom with her self-proclaimed title, “Domestic Goddess.” She was loudmouthed, irreverent, but most of all, honest.

My mom and dad both loved the show, and life would freaking STOP when Roseanne was on.

Other than my dad’s short obsession with Star Trek, I can’t think of any other show that held my family captive. Each week, we sat, suspended in time with baited breath, just waiting to see what kind of stunt Roseanne was gonna pull this time.

Was she going to “tell off” her boss at Wellman Plastics? Was Jackie going to take her young hottie boss (a raven-haired 20ish George Clooney) up on the date he asked her on last week? I couldn’t wait to find out.

For thirty minutes every Tuesday, time stood still. Dishes sat in the sink and laundry waited in the dryer. Roseanne was on!

And here, in my living room, the tradition continues. My DNA is in that boy–and here is proof.

Who is your all-time favorite TV family? Prove it by voting here.

On Plato, Hungry Teens and a Super Easy Roasted Chicken




My son Nathan is momentarily experiencing bliss–all from a chicken. “Mom…this is soooo good,” he says with his mouth full. I giggle. It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and I’m home from class, so I thought I should cook something. It’s kind of my thing. So many times I am not here to do the “mom” things for him (I work 30 hours a week and am a graduate English student, a writing tutor and a writer) so when I’m able, I try to make something he likes.

I sometimes wish I had something else to share with this man-child who has grown six inches in as many months, but I tried playing “Call of Duty” and (it’s just sad) ended up blowing myself up. So, I go with my strengths: cooking. That’s how I get him to turn off the video games and chat with me for a while–or as long as the food lasts. It sometimes bothers me that I have such a connection with cooking. It’s so cliché, right? I guess 50 years of feminist rhetoric have done little to change that part of me that equates feeding with love. Did the works of Gloria Anzaldúa and Julia Kristeva (whom I adore) fall on deaf ears? When I read these women, I learn from them, but I find little of me, my soul, changes. They have done little to alter that part of me, inherited from my grandmother, that takes pride in creating something from nothing. It seems confusing, but it’s not.

I am a liberated, educated, American woman who does not need to lean on archaic ideas of womanhood. Except, maybe it’s the misconception of those ideas that distracts us. Maybe the feminists of past and present wrote and spoke not to take away from my freedom to roast the perfect chicken, but rather to keep that freedom to do what keeps us happy. And writing does make me happy–just like cooking. I don’t have to choose. Good writing is cooking, when you think about it. Taking letters, forming them into words, and stringing those words together in a meaningful way, it’s not for everyone. Plato wrote, “[Rhetoric] seems to me then . . . to be a pursuit that is not a matter of art, but showing a shrewd, gallant spirit which has a natural bent for clever dealing with mankind, and I sum up its substance in the name flattery…Well now, you have heard what I state rhetoric to be–the counterpart of cookery in the soul, acting here as that does on the body.” I guess I see the connection: To take an ugly chicken carcass and to baste it in olive oil and garlic and roast it to perfection (that makes my teenage son ecstatic) or writing a short blog, are not so different. Either way, it sure feels good to see my son, who I don’t always understand, get a second plate.

Mama’s Roasted Chicken


1 whole chicken

1 12-oz bottle of Italian dressing

4 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Remove chicken from wrap, as well as inside package. Rinse thoroughly and place in a roasting pan. Pour dressing over the chicken, coating thoroughly (I use about half a bottle). Top with salt and pepper, as well as garlic. Cover with foil and bake for two hours,then take the foil off. Bake another half hour then check with a meat thermometer to ensure it’s done. It needs to be at least 160 degrees.

This story was originally published in Story Circle Network One Woman’s Day Blog:http://onewomansday.wordpress.com/about/

5 Easy Ways to Reconnect With Your Teen



I picked up Mancub from school the other day and I’ll just admit it: it was tense. We had an argument that morning before school and it pretty much ruined most of my day. My stomach was in knots about it and my overactive imagination was running away with me. I pictured him never speaking to me again, joining a gang and getting in a rumble downtown. That’s where rumbles happen, people.

If I didn’t nip this in the bud, we were a Lifetime Movie waiting to happen.

I asked myself why we had that conversation. Why did everything go down that way? Why did everything feel so sad, so desperate? Where did my sweet little boy go? And, perhaps more importantly, where did his patient Mama go?

With school, work, band, church–sometimes it feels like the only time we talked with each other is when I’m asking him to wash dishes or checking on his homework. That wasn’t working out so well. We needed to connect positively–to make a deliberate effort to spend time together in a non-nagging environment…STAT. I’ve been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy.

When he got in the car, I didn’t take the normal route home. I was honest–I told him our argument had bothered me all day long.

Get this: he apologized.

Afterward, we stopped by Chipotle and I bought him a giant burrito (you know the kind–it’s roughly the size of a newborn baby). There are few things besides Water Girl and Minecraft that put THAT kind of a smile on Mancub’s face, and I love that smile. It’s sort of my world. I need more of it.

I’ve experimented to find ways to reconnect with Mancub, and I hope you don’t mind if I share it here.

5 Easy Steps to Reconnect With Your Teen

1. Have a weekly lunch or dinner date, just the two of you. Here’s the kicker: let him pick the restaurant. Even if he wants to go to the greasiest hamburuger joint or the most questionable Chinese food in town, let him. His arteries won’t likely clog from this one event. Let him be the boss on this. He has so little control in most areas of his life.

2. Make him breakfast. It doesn’t have to be fancy–you don’t have to make heart-shaped crepes or anything. Rice Crispies are fine, as long as you are there. Take a minute to say hi to your sleepy Mancub–bringing a food offering is a safe way to approach him in his early morning jungle.

3. Take an intererest in his activities. Mancub plays horn in the band and if it’s at all possible, I’m there at every concert and most home ball games. I cheer at a volume that frightens flocks of birds. He knows I’m there.

4. Share your interests with him. I’m an English professor, so I love books. I have little hope of converting Mancub to enjoy love poems written by the British Romantics, but I might be able to engage him with the hottest YA titles. We are currently reading the Divergent series. I put the audiobook on the car stereo when I pick him up from school. It’s sort of the only choice. We talk about the story–try to guess the protagonist’s next move. We make fun of him/her when she screws up. It’s a good time.

Here’s the link if you don’t already have this book series.


5. If the teen won’t come to you, go to him. Sometimes I just hang out with him in his room while he’s on his computer and chat. When he asks me, “What’s up?” I just say, “Nothing. Just missing you.”

And I DON’T mention that his room resembles an Exxon bathroom. It doesn’t matter today. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What are some easy ways you connect to your teen? Write your suggestions in the comment box below.

Teen Speak: A Translation for Beginners

Teen Speak: A Translation for Beginners

Tracking Your Mancub/Watergirl

Sometimes, keeping tabs on your Mancub is akin to trying to catch a greased pig in a swimming pool filled with Jello. You know he’s around somewhere—you can see the wake of his destruction—and chasing him SEEMED to be a good idea at the time. I mean, greased pigs can’t stay in pool of Jello (however delicious) for unlimited amounts of time, can they? The Jello itself is not good for you and it’s really messy.

I may be mixing some pretty serious metaphors here. First, don’t think I’m really calling Mancubs (or Watergirls) pigs. “Chasing a greased pig” is an old Southerny-type expression which refers to something that is inherently difficult. It’s also a game that they used to play on Little House in the Prairie, right before Pa took out his fiddle and everyone square danced themselves into oblivion.

But I digress.

Your Mancub wants to be a man. The last thing he needs (or so he thinks) is his Mama Bear or Papa Bear keeping tabs on him. He’ll resist this idea, to be sure. He wants to stretch that bungee cord that connects you as much as humanly possible, with the hopes that it will eventually snap, giving him his desired freedom from your nagging and authority and, through no fault of his own, slapping you in your middle-aged forehead.

There is a happy medium, dear parent, between needy helicopter psycho mom and laid-back “boys will be boys…let’s have some wine…I’ve done all I can do here.”

Not that I’m saying wine is a bad thing. I personally think that a glass of wine a day keeps the crazy away.

It’s true that when I was a kid (oh geez…don’t go there), my parents had little clue what I was up to or where I was at any given time. Part of this had to do with the fact that I was growing up in the 1980s and technology as we know it didn’t exist. Our parents couldn’t debate the pros and cons of kid tracking like they can today because … well, they seemed lots busier then and we were just a lot less supervised. I don’t know why. My best friend Pearl and I used to ride our almost identical bikes around town all day long, and nobody had the foggiest clue where we were. Maybe our parents hoped we would “get lost” like an overwhelmingly majority of my pets did. But we just kept coming back. Something about food and a comfortable bed.

 I didn’t have a cell phone, because they didn’t exist until my late teens, and even those were brick-like appliances roughly the size of a small dishwasher that you had to pull a giant antenna out and look for a signal, much like E.T. trying to phone home.

(Photo: Picture of an actual cell phone made in 1983. It weighed approximately 200 pounds. We were told to never use one, because it was certain that those who used these space-agey devices would suffer from brain cancer or at the very least stupidity.)

It didn’t matter that we couldn’t use a cell phone. Nobody had these unless you were on a Lethal Weapon movie or working for the government or possibly a drug dealer or otherwise “up to something.” So it was a moot point. Our parents could have also said, “If you see a spaceship, don’t go inside.” Having a cell phone of our own seemed at least as possible (or maybe less so) than having contact with alien life forces.

This has all changed. Most kids have cell phones and many have their own computers. Not all, but most. Most kids who have cell phones have smart phones, more powerful than the “computers” we saw in movies when I was a kid—computers that had the power to BLOW UP THE ENTIRE WORLD.

War Games is funny now, but then…it played on our parent’s fears of computers becoming too powerful and taking over human consciousness. Our parents, the Baby Boomer generation, had little trust for government and highly valued privacy. We laughed at their old-fashioned ways and told them that computers would never “take over the world.” I mean, that’s just laughable, right?

Ok, never mind. That’s a different blog. My point is, dear parent, that you should know where your kid is, and if he or she has a cell phone, it’s pretty easy to find them.

The first step is to send a text or call them on the phone you purchased and paid for. In a perfect world, they will always text back when you call them, and respond right away, and never let you worry for a second.

If that’s your kid you can quit reading here, and if you are Catholic, you can start googling “Nunneries Near Me” or “When Your Kid Becomes a Priest.”

Sometimes, though, your Mancub might not call back right away. This is normal for the species. He also might ignore your texts or even PRETEND NOT TO SEE YOU DRIVING UP TO THE SCHOOL so he can say a tearful goodbye to his Watergirl. This is also normal. I’m not saying it’s acceptable. It must be addressed.

Your Mancub may need a gentle reminder that all good things come from you, Mama Bear, (or Papa Bear) or Mother Nature…I’ve used all these to refer to myself. A boy that texts 23 hours out of a given day (he has to eat sometime) can all of a sudden develop “Selective Temporary Blindness/Deafness/Muteness.” This is also a temporary condition that is usually resolved when you locate him and remove the cause of the illness (the cell phone). Sometimes, in more severe cases, you may have to remove all screens (including computer and television) to initiate a complete recovery.

More on Tracking Your Mancub in the next edition of Teen Speak.