Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Awkward Turtle

I learned something new from my kids this weekend. I actually learn a lot from them, but don’t always acknowledge it. Here’s what they taught me: The Awkward Turtle. It’s both a gesture and a commentary. You take your hands and put one on top of the other with the fingers curled under. Then you extend the thumbs to the side and wiggle them. You use this gesture when you are in one of those situations where there is a looooong, uncomfortable pause and you have nothing else to say. It’s ironic that they taught me this, because lately, I could actually be doing the Awkward Turtle around them…a lot.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have teens. Conversing with them can be exhilarating one moment, frustrating the next. When they want to open up and are in a good mood, they share all sorts of things, like, for instance, the Awkward Turtle. But when life is bearing down upon them and they see me as the embodiment of all that is annoying, then there are lots of those long, silent pauses. It seems that the information they divulge is strictly on a need-to-know basis. And, since I feel that I need to know as much about what they do as possible, there are many times that we are having one of these conversations:

“So, how was school.”
“How did your test go?”
“Anything new going on?”
“Are you upset about something?”
“Gaaaaaaaaaaaah, MOM! Just stop talking! Leave me alone!!”
(Insert awkward turtle here.)

Now, in any other area of my life, I would take this as a sign to never venture down this conversational road again. However, teens are fickle. One day you’re amazing, the next you suck. It’s not personal, it’s just where you are relative to where they are divided by the number of hormones blasting through their system at that very moment. It’s quantum physics with many, many variables. In other words, don’t take it personally. When it doubt, try, try again. And if it fails, remember the Awkward Turtle.


At 6:44 AM , Anonymous Maryanne said...

The awkward turtle, now that's one I haven't even heard of. I've got to see if my teens have when they get home. I'm trying to picture it as I read it on your post and I'll bet it's hysterical if your in one of those silent moments. Conversing with teens, what an experience, huh? Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

At 7:57 AM , Blogger Karitown said...

The awkward turtle. Very cute story. I'll have to remember it.

At 11:44 AM , Blogger srp said...

I wonder if it works on 20 year olds.
You think that, OK the teens are over, they are in college, getting smarter at least one hopes so. And then you bring up a discussion of some basic moral principle they have been taught since childhood and one that hasn't caused problems before and you can usually discuss it with compassion for all and WHAM!!! You are on the "Least likely to be talked to list". My hands are getting tired of doing the awkward turtle here.

And just when I thought life had turned the corner for the better.

I must continually remind myself that this WAS a planned pregnancy 21 years ago.


At 10:36 AM , Blogger Goofy Girl said...

Hahha I like the awkward turtle! Sounds like you're doing ok with your teens, I'm impressed! :) Liked your answers on michele's site!

At 8:06 AM , Blogger Zephra said...

We have slammed head first into the teen years and what a hell of a ride it has ben so far.

At 9:58 PM , Blogger Mary said...

And when they get out of that secretive, disgusting, "You are soooooooo dorky, Mom. Leave me alone." phase, they will become your "OK" Mom/Friend again. Just hang in there. My daughter is 24, through college, and still regards me as a dork but will confide with me when she is ready. I like her a lot now, much more than when she was 15...while I did the "awkward turtle" too many times. I like that description "Awkward Turtle"! LOL

At 10:04 PM , Blogger Mary said...

And then they will leave that secretive, disgusting, "You are soooo dorky, Mom" phase and regard you as an "OK" Mom and friend. My daughter is 24, through college, and for the past few years she will confide and talk with me. Still considers me to be a dork but we really like one another now - much more so than when she was 15...and when I did the "Awkward Turtle" too many times. LOL! Hang in there.

At 3:37 PM , Anonymous Anne Glamore said...

My kids don't know about the Awkward Turtle, but they are not shy at all about announcing, "AWKWARD!" when the situation bothers them.

Makes me feel cool!


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