As we watched our darling children grow, we were often amazed at their capacity to absorb ALL knowledge and information (including those things we wished they wouldn’t). Everything they saw heard, or did was sucked up into their inquisitive minds and retained to be spit out at the most inopportune times. Nevertheless, it was comforting to see that they were intelligent beings with the capability to learn and grow.
Imagine our confusion then as these bright young boys entered the beginning stages of puberty (somewhere around the ages of 11 to 13), and appeared to lose the capacity to recall valuable information, let alone retain anything new! Our once-intelligent sons would suddenly forget that soap was a vital part of the shower process; or that it was indeed necessary to put food out for the dog when reminded to FEED THE DOG! Simple daily information was lost completely—information they had known for a VERY LONG TIME! New information had to be given in one or two word commands—and these words MUST NOT have too many syllables! (Monosyllables appeared to work best). Any more than that, and they simply blinked at us in confusion—or worse; they would mumble “K” and wander off aimlessly.
After observing this phenomenon in our own young sons, and in the children of our friends, my husband developed a theory that I call “The Baby Brain.” (This is NOT a scientific theory, so don’t go getting all worked up! It is simply a theory of observation!) It goes something like this: Brains appear to be much like teeth. As young children develop, their Baby Brains develop and grow. Once the child enters the early stages of puberty, the Baby Brain falls out (we actually had occasion to see this happen in our youngest, but I will save that story for another time). During the teen years, the adult brain (much like adult teeth) begins to push through, then retreat over and over again. Sometimes it actually makes great gains, but it is still not fully developed and often retreats completely again (kind of like wisdom teeth).
According to this theory, our teenagers are not only operating without a fully-functioning brain (a fact observed often enough), but they are often operating without any brain at all! It appears that the fully-functioning adult brain surfaces sometime in the twenties, but, for some, it may take even longer. I have seen it take into the forties before an individual has full use of an adult brain.
Since this is not the fault of our poor teens and tweens, we must be patient and treat them with kindness and sympathy, resisting the urge to strangle them as we remind them for the fifteenth time that YES, they must change their underwear EVERY DAY and DEODORANT is NOT AN OPTION! (It is just good hygiene!) :)
Tammy is a writer, storyteller, artist, crafter, and bellydancer who enjoys working with children of all ages. She lives in North Idaho with her wonderful husband, three sons, and a goofy dog. She teaches bellydancing, crochets, paints and sketches, and is trying to complete her first book when she isn’t at work or transporting her youngest son around town. She loves a good read, a good laugh, and life in general (especially when there are cookies involved!)