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Life with Teens - It's All Good Until You Burn Dinner

Archive for the ‘Life with Teens’ Category


Courtesy of Zaptoons

My son, Noah, arrived home from the beach yesterday afternoon the color of a severely ripe tomato (I’m not sure how a tomato can be “severely” ripe, but it’s the only way to appropriately describe the way he looked…). Did he wear sunscreen while he was out frolicking in the sun? Duh! Of course not! Noah wouldn’t be caught dead cracking open a bottle of Coppertone and applying cream  in front of actual people at the beach. How embarrassing would that be? 

Apparently, it’s much “cooler” to sport a fancy shade of crimson than to protect your skin from the damaging, blazing ultraviolet rays of the sun. Never mind the stinging pain of bed sheets during the nights that follow, the singeing showers in the morning, and peeling skin he’ll be experiencing in a week or so. 

“Chicks don’t dig boys that are molting. You need to wear sunscreen,” I tell him. “Besides, you don’t want to end up with cancer.” 

“Mom, I don’t like smelling like a chemical bomb. Besides I’m fine,” is always Noah’s response. 

Occasionally, he’ll cave and I’ll see him delicately applying a microscopic dot of Banana Boat to his forearm or shoulder, but he never seems to use enough to actually ward off a burn. Then after being outside for a period of time, he’ll return later in the day sporting a pink and white camo design across his body courtesy of his “hit and miss” style of lotion application.  

Back in my day it was cool to smell like a coconut in the summer. All of the hippest, grooviest kids I knew seem to be constantly slathering on Hawaiian Tropic or Sea & Ski lotions. In fact, you wanted people to see you putting the stuff on. For some reason, it made you feel grown up –  something akin to getting a driver’s license or smoking a cigarette. Even if you had already applied 17 layers of the stuff, applying just one more coat could up your cool factor by about 20 percent. No  beach bag was complete unless it contained thongs (and back then, they weren’t undies…they were what are known today as flip-flops), a beach towel, and a envy-inducing bottle of suntan lotion (aka sunscreen).  

But what’s interesting is that in the wintertime, Noah displays the same sort of dangerously inappropriate habits as he does during the summer. It will be 20 degrees below 0 and he’ll still leave the house in shorts and a t-shirt. Does he wear gloves? No way! Unless he’s snowboarding, he would never be caught wearing anything to protect his hands from the elements. 

“It’s going to be pretty hard to hold a chick’s hand if you don’t have any fingers.” I tell Noah. “You’re going to end up with frostbite.” 

“Mom, it’s not cold. I’m fine,” he’ll respond. 

As a worrisome mom, I can threaten Noah to be careful when it comes to the sun or subzero temperatures but I can’t force him to apply sunscreen in summer or wear gloves  in winter. The only mom-measure I can take is to sneak a tube of Banana Boat into his bag or tuck a pair of gloves into his backpack. Then, if he’s extremely desperate he’ll have them. 

Last night I went into his bedroom to say good night to him and as he was sitting at his computer blowing his friend’s heads off playing one of his typically violent video games, I looked a the back of his neck. “You’re really red. Doesn’t it hurt?” 

“No. Not really,” Noah responded before hesitating and saying. “Well…maybe a little.”  

“Chicks don’t dig boys that are molting. You need to wear sunscreen,” I told him. “Want something to put on it?” I asked. 

“No. I’m fine,” he said. “Well….maybe. Yeah.” 

I retrieved a bottle of what I deem as “Granny’s Soothing Miracle Oil” from the bathroom cabinet and handed it to him. “This stuff is like $300 a bottle. Be careful with it,” I warned.  

Like when I give him sunscreen, I don’t know if he actually will/did put I on but I can’t force him to do it. At almost 15 years old, he’s at the age where he needs to figure out some of this stuff himself. But in all honesty, I think that all it will take to get him to start wearing sunscreen is running into Emily Cuteypants at the beach when he’s modeling a gruesome sunburn peel. Looking “repulsive” in front of a babe is probably be the only thing that will ever change his tune…because Mom’s advice is so not cool.

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