The First Boyfriend and the Art of Subtle Supervision

The first boyfriend: not among my favourite things. He is about as welcome as aphids on roses, and fleas on kittens; copper kettle build up, and wet woolen mittens.

You see, in the back of my mind stills lingers an image of my 15 year old, secretly playing with Barbies, and watching cartoons, not more than two short years ago. Now, she has all the working parts of a woman, and the frontal lobe of a toddler on a sugar rush.

I have often pictured this man-boy, who I knew destiny would one day stand and deliver. He’d be tall, handsome, with a feral look of a hungry tomcat appraising my wide-eyed kitten. Worst of all possible fates, he would have a car, and from first hand experience, I know those bucket seats recline.

The reality, when it comes, is a much different species. On my threshold arrives this neophyte adolescent, sporting a valiant attempt at facial hair (I am tempted to take an HB pencil and flush it out for the guy).  He is nervous, patently domesticated, comes up to my armpits, and needs a ride home because it is too dark to ride his bike.

Never judging a book by its cover (remember Clark Kent), I watch, poised for him to rip off his shirt and reveal the “S” (for Stud not Superman), emblazoned on his chest. As they slink off to the TV room, I begin my stealth reconnaissance. I pay younger siblings to randomly barge into the room and be annoying (not a hard sell). I, myself, retrieve books from bookshelves, layered with dust, as though my decades old textbook (“Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays”) just made the Top 100 Must Read Books. The poor kids, even I feel sorry for them.

By the time the evening is over, I am mentally exhausted by my Night Ops and self-congratulatory. I am convinced I have managed to provide the suitable supervision, while still respecting my child’s privacy – and all on the down-low.  Much later, my daughter turns to me and says: “Thanks for coming into the room so often Mom. You were so entertaining and nothing good was on TV. Next time bring in food.”

Wonder where she got her smart mouth from – must be her Dad.







  1. Avatar
    Lena da Silva May 22, 2013

    Again you deliver with a humorous and entertaining look at what we, as parents of teenagers must endure! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece even more than the last. Thank you for understanding!

  2. Avatar
    allison walsh May 27, 2013

    Very funny and very useful information at the same time. Really enjoy reading your posts. Please keep em coming!


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