On our recent vacation (details to come in future posts) we made one of our periodic efforts at pushing M to cope with assorted aspects of the adult world himself. In this case, it meant handing him his passport and boarding pass, and then having him deal with the TSA agents at the security screening check-in himself.
It was rather funny to see the various TSA agents smile so much at the sight of this awkward gangly kid determined to do things exactly right. I even overheard one agent say to another, “They’re so cute at that stage.” Really? I’d have thought that almost-14-years-old is not a cute stage for much of anything.
Yesterday I drove M and his best friend north so they could spend a few days at my parents’ house. (My parents must have as large a blind spot about teenage boys as the TSA agents do, since they happily invite this chattering stinky pair to stay with them.) My mom planned to stop at a supermarket and have the boys help pick out foods they wanted to eat during the visit, since M’s friend is a notoriously picky eater. We had just watched the boys spend 5 minutes figuring out what to eat for an afternoon snack, so I suggested that she take advantage of the boys’ current obsession with Civil War history when getting them to plan what foods they wanted. Tell them to imagine it’s their job to provision the troops, and figure out what to get.
And so she did, and this corny strategy actually worked. She told them what the quartermaster had already stocked up on (ie what was already at her house) and she later told me that by the time they got to the supermarket, the boys had a coherent shopping list. I don’t know what was on it, but at least they had one.