The Pre-Teen.

Ya’ll, I am not a perfect mother. Not even close. I can’t even pretend to think that I know all there is to know about parenting.

And parenting a pre-teen boy, or PTB as I like to call them? Well, buy stock in coffee, because at this rate – that’s all that keeps me from doing this on a regular basis –

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Let me give you some insight on what I’ve learned so far on this ‘raising pre-teen boys’ journey.

Showers.
While uninterrupted showers seem like an out-of-reach oasis to us – they’re not that important to pre-teen boys.

I’m convinced that the PTBs have evolved past the point of normal human smell detection, and can no longer compute their own odor.

However, the rest of us can, yet they are completely unapologetic about it.

Style.
Yes, I remember the days of wanting to shop at Deliah’s and Aeropostale for everything. But alas, I had boobs and an ass that could bounce a Toyota Camry into a ditch. So I shopped at more practical places, like Stage and Hot Topic.

But pre-teen boys? Who knows? Who knows what they want to wear?!

Seriously, I’m asking.

They’re at this stage of wanting to have their own style, but still not ready to commit to what that means. So you, as a parent, end up buying this hodge-podge of flannel shirts and things with emojis and obnoxious sayings on them alongside a TON of athletic shorts.

Honestly, I’m convinced that athletic shorts are the PTBs yoga pants.

Sass.
For the love of all that is holy, the sass level is real. Forget a teenage girls, because these pre-teen boys have a level of sass that would put Carson from Queer-Eye to shame.

This is mainly because in PTB world, their little bodies are starting to flood with testosterone and it comes out as pure unadulterated attitude…like Ironman.

And anything can send them into a tangent.

Hair is out of place? Forget it. The sock goes up too high on the left ankle? Nope, not today. Mom doesn’t know who a certain YouTuber is? Get out of their way ma’am, because you’re about to learn.

Girls.
Girls are now on the radar. They have been noticed. There are school dances happening and awkward first kisses, for some. All I can say about this one is this – beware of Axe.

Pre-teen boys equate love with excessive amounts of body spray.

“If I spray it, they will flock to me,” seems to be the going philosophy.

I have been awoken from a dead sleep by the smell of my own PTB bathing in an ungodly scent called “After Hours.” After hours?!? Young man, you are in bed by nine, you know nothing of what happens after hours, nor do you need to smell like it.

See, the body spray industry is partnered with the housing industry. This is because any sane person knows, if you let someone spray in the traditional “X” pattern they recommend on the bottle, you have to either move, or burn your house down. There’s just no coming back from it.

Appetite.
I have a board on Pinterest filled with zombie preparation stuff – not because I’m actually preparing for a zombie apocalypse, oh no. It’s because I’ve had to learn how to hoard food away from pre-teen boys.

They may as well be dinosaurs. Feed them an entire mammal – and in twenty minutes they’re looking for more.

As their legs are growing, they’re hollowing out. That’s the only explanation.
I bought a bag of Doritos once, gone. GONE. Devoured in one sitting by one, singular PTB. I’m vegetarian, and thought stupidly, “I’ll just buy more veggies for myself, because he would never eat those.”

Wrong. Nothing is safe.

And grocery shopping? I can help you with your resume because you’re going to need a second job and maybe even a second mortgage on the house to pay that tab.

Interests.
Ah, yes. Our pre-teen boys are starting to form their own taste in things. This can be anything really, and will absolutely change on a weekly basis, so don’t get too attached to the idea that they’re interested in guitar playing, skateboarding, etcetera.

For example, ‘Trap’ music (I’m still trying to figure out what it is EXACTLY) seems to be the “in” music right now among PTBs.

The always hilarious cat videos from days of yore will still pepper your internet search history, but you’ll notice new things starting to pop up, like ‘parkour’ and ‘how to be a YouTuber.’

This is where you ensure the insurance cards are easily accessible. Parkour never ends well for PTBs who have friends with video cameras.


Gone are the days of the sweet-smelling baby whose face I kissed, and who would hug me in front of his friends. I have entered the world of having a pre-teen boy, one who smells within ten minutes of stepping out of the shower and eats everything in plain sight, including some things I’m not even sure are edible.

But you know, I wouldn’t trade one stinky minute of it.

The journey is always interesting. Always. Enjoy it. Write about it. You’ll look back and laugh…even though right now you may be drowning in Axe body spray and crying into your box of chocolates.

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Without Further Ado…

I’m so happy to finally be able to say this – It’s here! The Witty Bean has received its much needed makeover.

All summer long I have been brainstorming, redesigning, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and just taking a step back.

I will spare you the assisted virtual tour and just talk about what you can expect! But seriously – click around, *EVERYTHING* is new. It’s like seeing the pirate ship in Goonies for the first time.

  • New Categories – I know, I know. I really liked the “bean” themed categories, but there were a lot – and they got confusing. I did keep “Little Beans” for all of the fun things that happen with the tiny-humans. Since, let’s face it, finding a snake in your backpack is a story that simply has to be told. There are also new categories for travel and writing.
  • New Ways to Interact – Not only with me, but with each other! There will be two new regular weekly posts, Coffee Chat Tuesday and Friday Favorites! I’m also introducing Coffee Review Monthly, where I will review a coffee related item – the tasty brew itself, a new coffee gadget or something you recommend.
  • Updated Social Media – There was a HUGE push to overhaul the Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages. So I did. They are all linked at the bottom of the page.
  • Writey Things – I’ve been working diligently…meh, okay trying to work diligently, on my novel, The Traveler and I have finally crested into 30,000 words. Hoorah! The goal is to take all of you on the journey with me through the last 50,000 during NaNoWriMo in November.

So aside from those few *little* things I’ve been working on- we have had a pretty awesome summer. We took a lot of trips in the RV and to the beach. All of the kids have turned another year older. Jack started middle school, Fisher started Kindergarten and Miles has taken a profound interest in repeating swear words. What more could you want from a summer, really?

The last few months have been filled with so many exciting new beginnings and I want to thank my family and friends who have been tireless supporters of me making this dream a reality.

Lastly, this thank you is for you, my dear readers, for your support and patience. Without readers and followers like you, none of this would be possible.

Thank you again and again.

I can’t even right now because I’m so excited for all of this to start moving forward! Stay tuned everyone. Stay tuned.

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North Carolina Soul

Nothing could ever convince me that I don’t have salt water in my veins.

We made our annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to the New Bern area this weekend for some beach relaxation. After a crazy, busy start to the year and being primed with the knowledge that the next two months are going to be equally hectic, I made a vow to live in the moment on this trip and not behind the lens or on a screen.

So I promised myself I would breath in the salt water, take in the scenery and enjoy watching my children play rather than try and capture every moment on film. Some memories are best kept in your soul.

I have kept my promise, and it has been glorious.

But something told me last night to grab the camera and take it with me while we ventured to the Outerbanks, and I am so glad I did. These were the only pictures I took that entire trek – but oh, so worth it.

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I pulled over in a “No Park” zone, jumped out and snapped this. I only had one chance because a sea lion rolled in the water and did not like me in his space.

 

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Sunset starting just as we cross the bridge to leave the Outerbanks.

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An amazing sunset and memorable drive, coming to a close.

There is something about this area of the state that makes my heart leap with artistic inspiration – the beaches, the architecture, the waterways…all of it. If you ever get the chance to come to the coastal region of North Carolina –

Do it.

I promise you will leave with a new light.

 

All Images © 2016 Ashley Price