I have two teenagers now and I am acutely aware of the whole, parents are horribly embarrassing no matter what they do, wear or say, phenomenon. I do try not to be too noticeable when with them in public, however I do reserve the right to publicly humiliate them in the name of appropriate behavioral expectations.
I do not care if they are with friends or not. I have friends, I don't need more. I will call them out if they are not performing up to the standards to which I am accustomed. We've been together for 14 and 15 years now, we should all have it down.
When these incidents occur the 10 yr old usually looks on amused and silent, taking notes on how not to get publicly humiliated. Being #3 he is really good at this activity. #1 and #2 prefer to attempt to campaign and negotiate themselves into a punishment far worse than the one I had originally planned on. Now in my next life when I am queen of the universe we will be equipped with referee whistles for these kinds of interactions so everyone is abundantly clear when the discussion is over. For now I give them 'the look'. It has a 75%, well maybe 50% success rate.
It is becoming clear to me lately though that I am on the receiving end of my own array of 'looks'. Almost all of them are to be interpreted as, 'OMG! Mother, you are killing me and any chance I will ever have to appear semi-normal to people outside our immediate family'.
Now as I was saying I'm aware of the acute anxiety they have, so I try not to dress like a total mom, but not too much like them either. I attempt to be appropriately groomed if we are going to be in the same state together in swimsuits. I try not to dance in public (it's hard sometimes) and I do try not to always listen the the 70s or 80s channels on the radio. Last week though new heights were reached in the area of teen aged parent induced embarrassment.
I have come to believe that the neighbors watch us leave the house in the morning for the sheer entertainment value. I feel compelled to say that these are people that don't have children yet or have children all under the age of 10. Their time will come. On this morning the three kids and I were flying out the door. All of us laden with the necessities of the day; lunches, sports bags, backpacks, water bottles and for me my uneaten oatmeal in a to-go container.
We set out to drop the oldest at the high school with his gigantic baseball bag. Half way there, "Damn!" I exclaimed. "What?" the three chimed, "Oh, I forgot my oatmeal." Then as I slowed for the stop light, a growing revelation that I hadn't forgotten the oatmeal, it was on the roof of the van!, complete with a spoon. "I think it's on top of the van" I said. "NO it's not!" the oldest stated, terror creeping across his face. As if saying it definitively would make it so. "I think it is. I haven't seen it fall off in the rear views." - Yes I really use them.
We have now entered the drive at the front of the high school. He is horrified that there may be a container of oatmeal on the top of the van. Stepping out he leaned back in the open door, "It's still there." he mumbled shut the door and went to retrieve his equipment from the back. I leaned out and snatched it, spoon and all. "Yay! It's still warm." I'm easy to please.
Extreme eye rolling and pretending not to know the obviously mentally ill woman driving the red van, as he entered the school. "Really, Mom?" was the only response from the 14 year old, who seems to be getting a PhD in sarcasm with minors in eye rolling, huffy breathing and looking indignant. This I believe is a correspondence course given by the 15 year old. "It's like a science experiment!" exclaimed the 10 year old. "It is!" I cheered. Since there had been a heavy dew overnight the moisture had formed some sort of suction with the bottom of the oatmeal container. Eye rolling from the 14 year old - she is a great student.
But in the eyes of the 10 year old I am some sort of scientific super mom, able to perform experiments on the way to school, while driving. Only three short years until I am horrifying him on a daily basis. Life is short.