My good friend Tina Foster warned me it would happen. She is wise in the ways of parenting boys, since she has two boys of her own. The difference is that her youngest is about seven years older than my oldest, so she's been where I now stand: on the precipice of the rocky abyss that is otherwise known as parenting a teenage boy. She told me that lo about the time that my cub turned 13, aliens would take him and replace him with a surly, snarling, eye-rolling facsimile of the sweet boy I'd once rocked to sleep. Boy, was she right. He'll turn 13 in eleven days, if I decide to let him live that long.
Twice this week I've tried to reason with an unruly, unreasonable, unrelenting, fit-throwing toddler trapped in a pimply, nearly man-sized body. I blame the aliens. Within twenty-four hours after the fit, he was back to his "normal" self: offering to do chores without being told and speaking in a calm, non-shrieking voice.
Today we were talking about the other night when he was in the middle of an all out tantrum. I told him that next time (because I'm NOT naive enough to think that this won't happen again) I'm not going to try to reason, argue, explain, or even placate him. I'll just say, "Son, you're clearly not yourself. I will deal with you tomorrow when the aliens return with the real you. Until then, go to your room and avoid all human contact." He agreed that might be the best plan.
I hope the aliens leave him alone for the next couple of weeks so that he'll actually get a chance to turn 13. It's really hard to plan a party and buy presents for someone whose face you want to rip off.