Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tour of the Thirteen-Year-Old's Bedroom

Here's a brief tour of my son's room at age 13 1/2:

He sleeps on the top bunk of a bunk bed but, since he can't get his sheet on by himself and my husband and I aren't agile enough to get up there, he's just kind of laid it out on there with its springy, fitted edges snapping back, and sleeps in the little puddle of sheet in the middle.

He considers the bottom bunk of the bunk bed to be a storage area for the top bunk. He just throws things down there when he's marooned up above.

There is a desk on which, when he was five, he scratched the words, "I hate my mom and dad."

There are about 200 books all stuffed into bookshelves backwards and upside down.

There are little white cloth balls mysteriously rolling around on the floor of his room. When these are examined closely, they turn out to be socks that were thrown at the laundry basket but didn't make it.

Under the bed are a few rolling plastic bins, one containing swords and other weapons, another containing light sabers, and the last containing Bionicals that had been put together and then cast into this jumbled heap, since their play value only, apparently, lasts till they're built.

So, when finally, nearly six months after the Bar Mitzvah, I'm looking for a place to put away all the paperwork from the event, I immediately have to rule out Bar Mitzvahzilla's room. It's tempting to just sneak down the hall and throw it in there - how would he ever notice something in that mess?- but I can't.

Before this time this stuff - a folder containing receipts, guest lists, and contracts, and the extra invitations, all the response cards (do I have to save these forever? Will Bar Mitzvahzilla ever want them?), and all the extra envelopes - migrated around my room. And you know I'm going to use beige vellum envelopes with black lining to pay bills, especially when I pay all my bills online, right?

First everything was on the top left of my dresser. Then it was on the top right of my dresser. Then the pile got too high and I moved it under my dresser. Then it got kicked around and toppled over on the floor. One dust-filled month at each location. So I naturally had to ask myself, where should this stuff go? It never occurred to me to actually throw anything away, no more than I threw out the nearly identical folder I had for my wedding to Bar Mitzvahzilla's Dad 16 years ago. And that's when I know where it could go - right next to that one in our office. And that one did end up coming in handy, come to think of it, sixteen years later, when I had to look up addresses for this one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

After a long absence, BarMitzvahzilla returns

When you name a blog something as event-specific as mine, Bar Mitzvahzilla, it kind of has a beginning and an end to it. The beginning was the time period when my son was tormenting me, not studying his Torah portion, not writing his speech, refusing to go shopping for suits, for shoes - you know, just being 12. And then the end was the Bar Mitzvah and his party that evening. So it ended and the blog ended.

But tonight I found out in my new Mothers Who Write class that I should be blogging. And while we were talking about this I realized that, being a lifelong journal-keeper, I missed blogging. So here I am again. I'm keeping the name since it's kind of applicable since I'm living in Post-Bar Mitzvahzillaland. I'm also living in a kind of Pre-Bat Mitzvahzillaland, since in about 3 1/2 years my daughter will be there too. Might as well start blogging now.

Here's what's happened to Bar Mitzvahzilla since the event six months ago:

1) He's grown about 4 inches. I'm a giantess of a Jewish woman - by which I mean I am 5'5 - and he's almost as tall as me.
2) He still believes soap and water are optional for bathing and contraindicated for his face.
3) He is still reading a book a day, like 300 pages. Who'd he get that from?
4) When he's in a snotty, adolescent mood, which is just about every day, he can say some of the meanest things imaginable. Sometimes it's not what he says, it's the huffing and the puffing and the muttering under his breath, his uncanny ability to call me on everything I say and do, and to somehow find fraud in everything I am. He watches me closely, like a spy.
5) Since I'm still the source of all good things that happen to him (the spender in the family, I'm the one who buys him all those books!) I know I can win this ware. I refuse to give in. I go with the excellent advice of my best friend, a mother of a 24-year-old, "Don't let him get away with anything."

And just in case you have a bad impression of Bar Mitzvahzilla, I just want you to know that his bad behavior is only half the time. The other half of the time he is the darling boy I've raised: affectionate, funny, kind, and honest. I'm determined that we'll exorcise that other boy - that weird stranger - and my boy will be there, waiting for me, whole, when he's eighteen and ready to go to college. If I live.