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The Greatest Disguise

According To A 2003 UN Survey, 1 In 5 People Are Between The Ages Of 10 And 19, That’s 1.2 Billion Tweens And Teens Masquerading As Adults; Why We Need To Watch Out For These Wirls And Moys

I opened the freezer and found a mango with a steak knife through the core.  It took me just moments to perform my own style of CSI and deduced “The Imposter” had struck again.  I know I am not alone in these strange, inexplicable occurrences, according to a 2003 UN survey 1 in 5 people are between the ages of 10 and 19, that’s 1.2 billion tweens and teens masquerading as adults.

There is no doubt nature has a wonderful way of giving creatures adaptations for survival, Polar Bears are snowy white, whales have blubber,  puppies are cute or we wouldn’t put up with the poop. But I remain stumped when it comes to the human race.  Seriously, where is the wisdom in making a person 6’2," seemingly overnight, lowering his voice, giving all the appearances of an adult and then not connect the brain? 

This is the one time I find fault with my Irish grandmother’s old saying, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck."  Not so with teenage sons and daughters, for all their adult looks, they are not. Breasts will develop ahead of the brain, gonads mature before grey matter, and facial hair out-paces the frontal lobe. Adolescence is one of life’s greatest disguises.

Scientists have finally confirmed what parents have known since the dawn of time, the teenage brain is not fully developed.  The frontal cortex, the area for reasoning and impulse control many not be completely mature until a person’s early 20’s.  So is it any wonder the common chorus of parents around the world of, “What were you thinking?” has become ever louder.  He pees off the roof of the pizza parlor, she dyes her hair blue, he shoots his friend in the butt with a rusty B. B. gun, she drives a car on to the lake.

What were they thinking?

Science would answer not only were they not thinking, they could not think.

I mentioned this theory to the guy in my house posing as an adult; he promptly informed me, “Only the human race experiences adolescence.  All other animals do not become sexually mature until they are fully developed."

OK, so he read this on cracked.com but I did check it out and followed links to http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9938-instant-expert-teenagers.html. I found something even more interesting, science can’t really pinpoint the purpose of adolescence.  A pimply face, clumsiness and noxious breath were hardly the things of tribal honor.  But raging hormones, there’s a plan.  Truly, when would be a better time for erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness than the teen years?

Toddlers are so named because they can tumble at any minute, so we stay nearby to keep them safe.  Their bodies are telling us by their mere size, we need to stay on our toes. But a teenager’s physique is telling us back-off.   Where are the training wheels for adolescence? Should we not refer to those wandering between child and adult with words like Wirls and Moys. (Woman + girl=Wirl ... Man + Boy= Moy)

I, like so many other parents I know, thought once my kids hit the double digits I might get part of my life and brain back.  Instead I sit bewildered, realizing the bigger they grew the bigger the consequences.  I try to remind myself that her cup-size does not equate with maturity or his manly swaggers translate into good judgment.  Now I view this massive population of puberty-plagued-people as perhaps the biggest part of our population in need.  So, just as I would help an elderly person cross the street, or come to the aid of a new mother struggling with groceries and a baby, I try to be there for a Wirl or Moy.  It’s a personal thing, I do what feels right to me, it’s never the same thing twice which is what makes it all so interesting and bearable.

Why was there a knife pierced mango in the freezer?  Upon interrogation, The Imposter answered, “Because mangos are easier to eat frozen and I didn’t want to forget where I put the knife”.  Elementary, my dear Watson!

Caroline Davey March 02, 2011 at 08:10 PM
Great article! However... if we look back a mere few thousand years ago, by 14 you were starting your family and died by a ripe old age of say 35!
Lisa Nee March 03, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Yes no need for a tummy tuck or any of those other glorious markings of age. Hey but on the bright side we might be able to enjoy grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thanks for reading and commenting neighbor! Best Lisa
Caroline Davey March 03, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Lisa -- you are a very talented writer and always make me laugh and smile.... Keep 'em coming! --Caroline
Susan Wivell March 03, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I enjoyed reading this! I find it helps to think of teenagers as 'toddlers in big bodies'. That gentle-yet-stern & simple approach when parenting toddlers can be very effective when needing to get through to teens, LOL!
Pem McNerney (Editor) March 03, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I loved reading this too! I love the terms "wirls" and "moys." So true, so true! Looking forward to reading your next column, Lisa, I always learn something and usually get a laugh and a smile out of it as well.
Lisa Nee March 03, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Susan, great perspective. thanks so much for taking the precious timeto read and comment as I know you are well into the moy, wirl stage yourself. All the best Lisa
Lisa Nee March 03, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Pem, you always have great direction, it is such a pleasure to be a contributor to patch. Best Lisa

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