While I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, I have learned a bit about the care and feeding of 13-year-old boys over the years. My current insights:
- The statement “everything is fine,” can mean anything from things really ARE fine to their world is about to implode.
- They almost never stop eating. At minimum, it’s breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert, snack and late-night snack. They’ve also been known to drink a gallon of milk in a day.
- They will wear shorts in any weather. ANY weather.
I’ve pretty much figured out how to manage numbers 1 and 2 (rely on mother’s intuition/probe more when warranted and keep running to the grocery store) but number 3 is really a head scratcher. For the absolute life of me, I cannot fathom what is going on with the shorts thing.
Let me clarify: we don’t live in a tropical climate. We aren’t even close to the Mason-Dixon Line. We live in New England (okay, southern New England, but still). Most winters, it gets REALY cold…bitterly cold…normal-people-dress-in-layers-and-bundle-up-cold.
And yet, every morning, there goes my son…off to school in shorts. He’s not alone; I see dozens of his classmates similarly outfitted as they dash from their parents’ cars at drop off. A bit of research revealed that this trend is not confined to our little corner of the world. Indeed, kids everywhere are sporting shorts year-round, much to the bafflement of parents and school officials.
My son echoes the sentiments of the boy profiled in the article: he doesn’t like the “feel” of long pants, especially jeans. In his case, I also suspect that his middle school may be excessively warm and shorts keep him more comfortable. Of course, there’s also the benefit that he’s perpetually ready for gym class, which means one less transition in his busy day.
Every so often, though, he gets a look or a question from a well-meaning stranger or grandparent. They’ll ask him, “Aren’t you cold?” then stare at me while they wait for him to answer. This reminds me of the era when my kids were little and would rip off their shoes and socks and fling them out of their strollers; (more…)