Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble (Parenting, Teens and a Little Romance)

The sixteen year old boy in this post is now twenty, but this still applies for all parents, teens, and true romantics. First published 02/2013.

red heart

Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble,

Nereid

Sea Maiden

Poseidon’s loyal helper

Sailor’s guardian angel

Violet beauty

I looked at the note on yellow lined paper written in black Sharpie that I found in the dryer. Fragments of the musings of a 16-year-old boy.

The first line is names of a town not far from where we live, founded during the California gold rush. The rest of it is taken from Greek Mythology. I knew what it was.

It is Ione. His long time friend Ione. Once a funny little fair haired girl, now a leggy and shapely blonde of 16. She is also, like my son, a Vampire.

I unfolded the note more, crisp from the dryer and still warm.

I have known you forever

Since our time began

As babies

Then children of the night

As teens

Now growing into adulthood

Our hearts

Our minds

Our future

Am I to be with you?

My mythical love

My desire

My chance

A kiss from you

And I would be

Happy forever

Ione.

So far, aside from the occasional glances at Vampire girls and life long friendships, he has never set his heart on one, especially not one in his tight-knit social circle of “The Vs” as they call themselves.

Ione is quiet and funny and smart. But don’t piss her off because she isn’t one to forgive or forget anything. She also sees herself in some mythical role as avenging angel, taking on the cause of the bullied, down trodden and anyone in her opinion who has been treated unjustly.

Most people see her sort of an exceptionally smart, brilliant dumb-blonde. Smart and goofy. Sort of like my son’s best friend Randy.

I was ready to pocket the note when Garrett came into the laundry room and said “Give me that.”

“I didn’t know you liked her that way,” I said.

“It isn’t what you think.”

“Did you write it for Randy?”

“No. Don’t’ say anything Mom. It isn’t anything.”

“OK.” I smiled.

And then he smiled the shy way 16-year-old boys do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Ione

Ione

 

And yes, Ione is the name of a real town that used to be called by some interesting names back in the day.

Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble …teenage boys and love

School will start soon (high school) and for teens that means socializing and flirting and crushes and giggling and whispering with friends when “she” walks by (especially for my son and his friends.)

I’d posted the blog post below back in February 2013 but thought it was worth revisiting…

 

 

 

Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble,

Nereid

Sea Maiden

Poseidon’s loyal helper

Sailor’s guardian angel

Violet beauty

I looked at the note on yellow lined paper written in black Sharpie that I found in the dryer. Fragments of the musings of a 16 year old boy.

The first line is names of a town not far from where we live, founded during the California gold rush. The rest of it is taken from Greek Mythology. I knew what it was.

It is Ione. His long time friend Ione. Once a funny little fair haired girl, now a leggy and shapely blonde of 16. She is also, like my son, a Vampire.

I unfolded the note more, crisp from the dryer and still warm.

I have known you forever

Since our time began

As babies

Then children of the night

As teens

Now growing into adulthood

Our hearts

Our minds

Our future

Am I to be with you?

My mythical love

My desire

My chance

A kiss from you

And I would be

Happy forever

Ione.

So far, aside from the occasional glances at Vampire girls and life long friendships, he has never set his heart on one, especially not one in his tight-knit social circle of “The Vs” as they call themselves.

Ione is quiet and funny and smart. But don’t piss her off because she isn’t one to forgive or forget anything. She also sees herself in some mythical role as avenging angel, taking on the cause of the bullied, down trodden and anyone in her opinion who has been treated unjustly.

Most people see her sort of an exceptionally smart, brilliant dumb-blonde. Smart and goofy. Sort of like my son’s best friend Randy.

I was ready to pocket the note when Garrett came into the laundry room and said “Give me that.”

“I didn’t know you liked her that way,” I said.

“It isn’t what you think.”

“Did you write it for Randy?”

“No. Don’t’ say anything Mom. It isn’t anything.”

“OK.” I smiled.

And then he smiled the shy way 16 year old boys do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

ione

 

Teens, Relationships, Love (and somewhere in there PARENTS)

Now that my son is in a constant romantic fog at age 16 and my 13 year old daughter is talking frankly about more adult situations (what she would or would not do in any given situation she has yet to face), I’m just glad that I more or less know what is going on and what they are thinking.

Yes, if we all knew then, what we all know now. If that was the answer I wouldn’t have silly situations like a few of my past blog posts try to explain. Then again, I came from a different time when parents didn’t really talk to their kids about “those things.” Some parents still don’t.

Love, sex, relationships aren’t to be hushed up or feared. They aren’t to be jumped into like one is skydiving. They aren’t something to be flippant about. But it is part of life, and a part of life we shouldn’t tell our teens to completely avoid. Young love can be sweet if your kids are smart and informed – and if you are informed.

I told my daughter that when I was a teen I never told ANYONE about who I had a crush on. Not even my best friend. Sure we’d giggle about boys and talk about who was cute but I’d never tell a soul who my special someone was.

Of course being a Vampire teen one has other issues like donors and hunts and that just confuses things. Don’t confuse romance and food. I mean, there is a certain romance to food, but that is food on a plate that you fix in the kitchen with vegetables and fish. Never make your crush your main course. But back to the rest of the world…

You can be one of those fools who encourages your kids to pursue every single crush and get serious about their high school sweethearts and ruin their lives by pushing them over the abyss of young love. You can be one of those parents who get so hung up on virtue that your child lives in fear of love or they resent you for your cold views on love.  Or you can be like most of us and be open and honest and be the parent with good sound advice based on the fact that our kids are teens. They are totally and completely social animals. Let them love and learn – but guide them into doing it with their brains as well as their hearts.

That first time your kid gets a  broken heart it will break yours too – or you’ll sigh with relief.

No, life isn’t like a romance novel, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all have our moments. Talk with your teens about it (not to them, at them but WITH them). They’ll be a lot more open than you think and they’ll listen to you (really) even if they don’t act like it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

waterhouse romance

A normal vampire teen – love poems and letting go

She stood by the trees

Green leaves glowing in sunlight

Hope and desire glows

From her perfect skin

Her blonde hair like a halo.

My heart breaks

For my fondest desire

Is to grow old and frail

With my springtime girl

She stood by the trees

And smiled back at me

I waved and smiled

Just friends, not lovers or donors,

Friends for a while

And I wish her well

A long and happy life

As I watch and wonder “what if?”

———————–

I found that free form verse scrawled on a paper in my 16 year old son’s backpack. I wasn’t snooping, he told me he had a paper in there I had to sign.

But it broke my heart, a little, to see him so grown up, but yet still so young.

His father and I have had “the talk” about the different life spans of regular humans and those of us who are vampires.

I know the girl. Her name is Amber. She always kisses our cats when she comes over with the usual pack of teens for swim parties and study groups. She played Olivia to his Orsino in the school production of The Twelfth Night.

He let her go so she could date another boy, a boy who isn’t him, a boy she won’t fall in love with.

I see him through his bedroom door sitting on the bed with his laptop, black skinny jeans, hair in his eyes, skyping with friends, laughing. A normal 16 year old by anyone’s standards.

Excuse me? You want to convert your girlfriend into a vampire?

The weather is warming up and more than a hint of summer is in the air. I sat with my son on the back deck last Saturday night, basking in the knowledge that I had raised the most mature and smartest and level headed vampire teen in the entire universe.

Then he asks “Mom, if I fell in love with a human girl why couldn’t I just convert her. I mean, it isn’t like I’d really be hurting her, I mean if that is what she wanted.”

“Excuse me?” I said, mellow mom suddenly gone and vampire mom at full force. “Don’t even think about it.  I thought I’d raised you better than that.”

“What is wrong…” he started at me being a typical 16 year old that knows everything.

I had to get through to him. “Here are the facts. 80 percent of vampire conversions end in death. Of those 80 percent who die, about 20 percent are immediate deaths.  Those are the lucky ones. The remaining die insanely painful deaths within two weeks.

Of the remaining 20 percent who live, let’s say we started with a sample of 100. So 20 who are converted survive the first two weeks. They have survived Hell. It isn’t about sucking blood, it is about having your entire body chemistry and DNA structure change. It is a genetic engineering miracle and a nightmare.

Out of the 20 who survive, at least 10 will go mad. Some will commit suicide. Some will refuse to feed, go into a coma and die. Some will linger for years hurting themselves and everyone around them. I’ve told you about the damaged crazy ones. Do you want me to take you to see one? It’s worse than any strung out or insane human you’ll ever meet. Would you do that to a friend?”

“Jeez Mom. No. But…” he stammered.

I cut him off. “Let me finish. So now you have 10 remaining. At least half will try to go rogue and do it on their own. Some will turn to religion with little or no comfort. Some will become hermits. Eventually at least half of those vampires will have to be eliminated.

Of the 5 left they will go on to be successful members of the Vampire community. Five out of a hundred. Are you willing to take that chance with someone you love? Are you?”

“What about Dad. He was successful.”

Holy crap. I didn’t expect him to bring up his dad. Successful? The vampire I loved? I wish I could say he was a success. I wanted to tell my son about the guilt and doubt that plagued his father. There were some nights when I’d wonder if I’d done right by marrying him. He never wanted to be a vampire. He didn’t even know what one was.

I calmly answered my son. “Your father did not become a vampire of his own will.”

“But what if the woman I love does. “ Answered my son as only a 16-year-old boy who still sees love as only romance can.

“You might as well cut off her head and make it quick.” I told him.

“ But mom, what if she was ill and I could save her?”

I wanted to scream but stayed calm. “What have you been reading? Sick people don’t survive conversions. It’s a myth that you can save someone you love. It is a cruel heart breaking LIE. You would only give her a cruel painful death. Baby, are you in love with a sick human girl?”

He scowled at me. “No. I was just asking. Don’t be so uptight.”

“I’m not uptight. I just want you to understand the seriousness of this.” I took his hand.

He gave me his best I’m the cool guy look. “I know. I had the same talk with dad, but he more or less said the same thing.”

“Do you understand me?” I asked.

“Yes. Ok. I understand you. Stop looking at me like that.”

We sat out looking at the stars. A few small bats flew overhead. The cat jumped in my lap and my son, still held my hand in his.

~ Juliette

Relating to your vampire teen: When I was your age…

“When I was your age…” you tell your vampire teen, knowing they’ll listen to your every world. Excuse me while I fall off of my chair laughing. If things were only that easy.  Most of us were the age of our children long before they were born; I’m talking 50-100 years or more.

The culture of my teen years is not the culture of my children.  I was 12 in 1871. People were still talking about the Civil War. My husband was 12 during the Civil War.  Even more distant is my BFF Elizabeth who was 12 in 1632. Samuel Pepys was watching Punch and Judy.

Modern teens still marvel at the idea that many of their parents had no computers in the home when they were teens and no Internet. When most vampire parents were teens there was no electricity, much less phones, recorded sound or shopping malls. How did our mother’s make it through the adolescent years without Target and Aeropostal? No really, I’m serious.

A few helpful hints for relating with and being actually helpful to your vampire teen:

  • Keep up with popular culture – this one of the top survival tools for any vampire, especially vampire parents.
  • Don’t be old fashioned. The phrase “When I was your age” will sink like a rock in water to your kids. Feel free to tell them stories of your youth – they will love and respect and understand you all the more for it. But don’t compare. We grew up in a different universe than they did.
  • Retro is cool for parties, decorating and clothing but not a cool parenting style – especially not for vampire teens. Retro is the kiss of death in the modern world for our kids especially.
  • Modernize your mouth. Don’t used old fashioned terms when talking to your teen. Do not refer to your son and his popular friends as “Swells”. And whatever you do, don’t call them “Sheiks”.
  • Never act like things were better when you were young. It wasn’t better – it was just different. No, actually it was worse. A lot worse. Deal with your own insecurities – don’t pass it on to your teen.
  • Practice empathy by helping your child understand that it’s normal to be a bit concerned or self-conscious, and that it’s OK to feel grown-up one minute and like a kid the next.
  • You couldn’t wait for your first corset and bustle. Your daughter can’t wait to wear make-up and strapless sundresses. Guide your teens into good taste but let them be individuals (and be grateful bustles and corsets are not everyday wear anymore).
  • Read what they read. Keep up with the new world of YA literature. They aren’t reading Dickens unless they’re forced to. Today’s young adult literature is full of ridiculous vampires (always a real treat for us), violence, post apocalyptic worlds, draconian societies, Goths, fractured families, paranormal everything, and more sex and romance than we could have imagined when we were teens.
  • Let your child know that some things are best kept within the vampire community.In English Lit your teen should know he can’t say, “My dad was friends with Oscar Wilde.”

~ Juliette