Most people who work with teens will complain mightily of mood swings, and what they mean is the mood swings of teens. My take on it is a little bit different; I think they cause mood swings in the adults around them. Or maybe that's just me. I do know I have stable moods when I am away from them. Once I am around them, I am as mercurial as any emo friend of theirs.
This weekend, we had our first bad weather. I discovered an infestation of teens in my living room and they were the kind that eat tubes of yogurt and leave the wrappers behind, take fresh glasses for a second glass of juice and open all three bags of crackers because they have to smell them first to see if they will like them. They are the kind that never go home.
Of course, while I was glowering at them, Mazy came up to me and did one of these:
which means she has to go do what dogs do in the wild. Except it was sleeting and freezing out and when I asked one of those healthy, young teens to take her, they all burrowed deeper into their couch blankets. I pulled out the one teen who was mine.
"Dude Mom," Philip protested, "it's too wet even for the dog."
"Think of something," I told him, "you have to do at least one chore around here if you want to keep doing nothing."
I walked away. Five minutes later, Philip came back with the one girl who drives. They had an idea. We would put Mazy in her van, take the extension leash to the bottom of the street, reel it out and let her poop.
I thought about it. It sounded like a no. The wind howled. Mazy howled. "We'll try it."
Yup, there we were, inside the van, letting the dog leash out like fish line. The kids remembered to bring a flashlight so we could witness the moment of truth. Once they were certain Mazy was done, they started singing, "Celebrate..."
I thought they did really well on that one. I picked up the wet socks, food wrappers and soda cans in a fine mood. That was Saturday.
Last night, Sunday, Christopher woke me up around 3 a.m. "Mom Dude, you know anything about MLA format for research? You'll like it. It's writing. Sort of."
I sat up. "Did you start it?"
Dumb question. And another mood change.
He had been playing Halo all day, and apparently all night. I was saying psychically sensitive things like, "So, have they ever done a study that correlates brain tumors with that headset?" and other things like, "You know, this is the kind of thing Howard Hughes would do if he were still alive. Remember, he's the guy who saved his urine?" Christopher kept putting his hand over the mic and whispering to his friends, "Wait. My MOM is here."
So yes, between 3 and 5 am this morning, I had to "help" research his MLA paper because he was involved in a Halo tournament of some kind. ("Help" means he sleeps while I find sources for research and document them) Around 5, Mazy gave her call of the wild again.
Philip woke up, rushed over to me at the computer and bear hugged me, "Remember when you used to call me Little Big Beluga?"
New mood change. Happy one. He walked the dog. I finished the research. I glowered at Christopher until I was at work, looking through some pictures on my phone. I knew I couldn't stay mad at him; he had taken this one of the kittens:
And I don't think anyone could look at that picture and not feel better.
Of course,they're due home any minute. With grades. I'll see how long that picture sustains me.