(Written for “Parenting in Fort Wayne” – a local parenting magazine. It was published in the January/February 2011 edition)
I admit it. I am a new mom. No, not as in a mom of a newborn babe. As hard as that is, I could probably do that again. I have done it before 3 times and feel confident I could handle it again. No, what I am is a new mom of preteens. I was blissfully unaware of the drama that can unfold as sweet little girls in pigtails move into the infested waters of hormone changes and social puberty. I was caught off guard when my oldest daughter caught a previously undiagnosed disease from her friends and brought it home to her younger sister, just 18 months her Jr. The speed with which it took over our daughters left us breathless and gasping for help!
What is this horrible disease you ask? Hold your breath. It is called Snarkinson’s Disease; defined as a common neurologic disease caused by uncontrollable bouts of snarkiness, a combination of sarcasm, snottiness, and cynicism. (Per the Urban Dictionary) Signs of the disease include sarcastic comments, witty quips, and rude comebacks. Often the bouts are followed by eye rolling, loud sighing, mutterings of “whatever” under their breath as they exit a room, and embarrassing displays in public places eluding to the fact that the infected child’s parents are completely lame and ignorant.
Where did my sweet daughters pick up this disgusting infection? How do you prevent it from infecting yours? (And beware; those of you who think you are scot-free because you have boys… My 7-year-old son has begun to display some of the same symptoms.) Gasp! Yes, boys too can catch this disease! Well, I am sorry to say I know of no preventative measures. It is running rampant in our schools. I know I am not alone in this battle.
While my husband and I are beginning to be successful in battling it, is with great sorrow I must say that we are quickly loosing our fun and cool parent status; living more and more in the lame category. But then again, maybe that means we are doing something right. In the blink of an eye, they will be grown. Do we want them growing into snotty, snarky, and sarcastic eye rolling adults? There are enough of those out there. So we’ve chosen to battle this disease head on. We won’t allow it in our home, but some weeks it feels like every word out of their mouths require our constant parenting force.
Whew! This parenting stuff is hard work! No one told me when I brought those precious pink bundles home, with tiny fingers wrapped around mine, that someday they’d look at me with disgust, arms crossed, eyes rolling, and then storm off down the hall because I dared to say the “N” word, (NO).
Be encouraged however! A girlfriend with several grown daughters called to uplift me the other day. She said the tough parenting pays off. Her girls are symptom free now and they no longer see her as a mean dictator, sent to ruin their lives. I needed to hear that!
So take heart, all you who have children suffering from this terrible disease! It is worth the battle and there is a glorious end in sight. One where we’ll gain back our cool status and maybe even get to be smart once again.
(Christi is a mother of 2 girls aged 10 and 12, and one 7 year old boy.)