Having a preteen is exhausting.
My 11 year old, or as I lovingly call him, Jerkface, is a particular blend of it. For starters, he's a good looking kid. If this is his "awkward phase" which 11 usually is, then I'm in serious trouble. He has his dad's good looks which I was afraid of. His father, in his younger and healthier days was very handsome despite the fact that he was always stocky. I admit that his good looks made up for a multitude of sins when we were dating.
Jerkface also has a mix of both me and his fathers personality. Which means he is overly emotional, an attention whore, vain, chatty, a hypochondriac, afraid of strange things and a pretty good dancer. I won't tell you which trait comes from which parent. So chances are he will grow up to be handsome and charming, but with a dark side...AND a pretty good dancer.
Big fucking trouble.
The thing about preteens is that they are AWARE of their preteen status but think that it means something. Being a preteen means you have not reached the asshole status that makes you a teenager, but that's your next step. It's like being next at the checkout stand at the grocery store. It's not your turn yet. You can put your items on the conveyor belt, but the cashier is not going to look at you just yet so don't try talking to her. Preteens start talking to the cashier and trying to hand her money for the items that haven't been rung up yet because they think being next is as good as being first. No. Being next means you are NEXT. Wait your turn, pal. Simmer down.
Lets face it, teenage boys are assholes. They are useful for household chores and later on, to lift things that are heavy- but they do it while whining and asking you to make them something to eat. Or money. Or the keys to your car. Teenagers want to barter everything, or worse, they have the audacity to think the family dynamic is some sort of democracy. I have a 19 year old, who I call PunkAss, so I know what I 'm talking about. Just last month when he came home to visit he tried to tell me he didn't have to help with the dishes because he was on vacation. I reminded him that this is not a hotel and unless he wants to pay me $69.99 and buy his own food, he will be happy to help out around the house and pick up his own damn mess. Seriously dude, I may be cool, but I'm still your mother.
So Jerkface is a preteen. With all of his 11 (almost 12) years of experience on this planet, he is certain that he is telepathic and doesn't need to listen to what I have to say because he knows already. I can explain something once, twice, three times a lady and he will say "Ok Ok" - which is the universal code for, "I'm not listening anymore." Then he will go and do something sort of in the vicinity of what I asked for, but not quite. Sometimes not even close.
Jerkface has only one regular chore. Doing the dishes/ cleaning the kitchen. He took over this job after PunkAss went off the Marines. He is not very good at it. Every few days I have to go in and ACTUALLY clean the kitchen, wipe the counters and often rewash some dishes. I don't complain about it too much, because his version of tidying up is often sufficient for my sanity. However, I do acknowledge that he doesn't do a great job. He has been asking me for an allowance. He wants weekly money so he can, buy stuff. By stuff, I know he means candy and other miscellaneous junk. I don't know what he needs more junk for anyway. My kids are not without snacks around here. Hello, do I have the ass of a woman who doesn't keep snacks around the house? The kids expect some sort of dessert every night, thank you ex husband for starting THAT horrible tradition. There is no lack of chips, soda, and cookies around here. We have pizza at least once a week, every week.
I started out giving him an allowance when he took on having chores, but that deal was quickly rescinded when he had to be reminded to do his chore constantly. He would do whatever he could to get out of it. Complain of being too tired, or not feeling well, or whatever dumb excuses an 11 year old can come up with. Sometimes I would give in, sometimes not. Then, when I noticed the piss poor quality of his work, I said I wasn't going to pay him for it, and YES he still has to do it.
I got an allowance when I was a kid. I think the intention is to teach kids the value of a dollar and how to save their money etc. Didn't do me any good at all. My allowance was always blown the same day I got it and to this day still tend to shop within a few days of payday and have little to no savings.
He asked me again last week about getting an allowance again, since the complaining and angling for ways out has lessened. At the time, I was cleaning some dishes I had used for baking. I said. "No and here's why." I opened the dishwasher and showed him bowl upon bowl of "clean" dishes that were in fact NOT clean. I told him how often I have to rewash things before I use them. I pointed out the mini crock pot that had water soaking in it for 4 days now. Gross. I told him that when he actually starts doing a good job, perhaps there will be rewards, but no promises of gold.
His efforts to improve lasted about two days before is started to slack off again. I have asked SR numerous times if we can pay someone to come in and clean the house. Not daily, but maybe once a week. Have someone come in and do the floors, the counters, the bathrooms, vaccuum, wash the sheets and remake the beds. Three hours tops. How much could that possibly cost. Personally I think it's worth it. A few hundred dollars for me to have a clean house AND a big ass is a win/win for me.
So today I gave Jerkface a simple task of throwing out the cat box and sweeping the floor. No not, cleaning the cat box, but putting the whole think in the bag- and out to the trash because I got her a new one. First he complained about why HE should have to do it. Then he tried to get me to do part of it. Then he whined and said "Ok Ok."
Can you see where this is going??
Seriously- this is a pretty easy job. Take offensive box and slide it into a garbage bag. So I go into the room where he is doing this task, and I see him trying to dump the box into a bag, and then half of it spilling on to the floor. Ack!! At least it's a tile floor and not carpeting. He looks at me and attempts to BLAME ME for this because I should have helped him.
Ho there- cowboy!!! If you has LISTENED to me in the first place you would know that I instructed you to throw the whole thing in the trash. Not dump it. I made it as easy as possible for you. So this is not MY fault. This is your fault for being a jerk, you asshole.
Ok, I didn't say that last part- but he's telepathic. He knew what I meant.