Alright, friends. I need an all-inclusive instruction manual of how to deal with a 12-year-old and I need it now. What was all this nonsense I always heard like "Be grateful you had boys, they're so low maintenance!" or "You're so lucky you have boys instead of girls!"?

First, I'd like to take this opportunity to say I don't really advocate such statements because they make it seem like girls are less desirable or what you might wind up with as an unlucky second choice, like "Oh, sorry, we just ran out of donuts but here, have some Cream of Wheat with kale syrup instead." I'm actually quite sad I won't ever have a daughter, because everyone knows daughters are the ones that will pay attention to you once you're old and alone. Daughters are the donuts of your golden breakfast years and I'll just be the old lady Cream of Wheat at the breakfast buffet nobody ever visits or calls.

That said though, I totally thought I was in the clear with my house too full of testosterone and muddy shoes to leave any room for hormonal breakdowns and bad attitudes. Excuse me while I finish laughing.

Sadly, this couldn't be farther from the truth. I don't know what has happened to my sweet little boy, but I fear his soul has been captured and replaced with something I can't even describe. Try to imagine a hybrid of an angsty teenage girl mad at the world because nobody understands her and a cranky toddler two-hours overdue for a nap and trying to put his shoes on by himself and this is what I'm dealing with.

Things I've learned lately, as a result of this "attitude adjustment":

1. Like Jon Snow, I know nothing. And by nothing I mean nothing. Like really, really nothing. It's a miracle I manage to dress myself and navigate this dangerous, confusing world. It's a good thing I have my twelve-year-old to tell me everything I'm doing wrong, and to tell me often. Very, very often. I have no idea how I lived before he came along to tell me the ways of the world.

2. The only reliable source for accurate information in the world is YouTube. Sorry, Neil deGrasse Tyson, you might be a world-renowned physicist that went to Harvard and Columbia Universities, but my kid saw a guy on YouTube blow something up so why don't you just go have a seat?

3. I have no idea what to do about any of this. I try arguing and actually teaching facts, but that's usually combative right off the bat. I'd probably have a more peaceful result swimming with feral cats. And the cats definitely wouldn't display such massive eye-rolling that I'd be left wondering if their little cat eyes will ever return from the back of their little cat heads.

I expected all of this, of course, after all I'm not stupid (debatable, if you ask my kid), but I certainly thought I could at least make it through ages 11 and 12 before this beast reared its ugly head. Alas, I was not so lucky, and here we are, just me and my toddlerteen, arguing about life and YouTube, and everything it has to offer (and blow up).

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