Perhaps I'm growing a tad nostalgic as my oldest nears college age, but I think it's more than that.
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Late nights have become commonplace recently as my son attempts to meet all the deadlines of advanced classes, scholarship applications, fine arts competitions and other responsibilities.
He tells me not to get up in the middle of the night to check on him, but I tell him I can't help it. Sometime each night between midnight and 2 a.m., I move his laptop off his bed, take his books from under his pillow and turn off his light.
It is tiresome, but I feel this obligation just as I did when he was a newborn and needed my care.
Being up at all hours of the night is just part of the newborn-teenage connection.
Teenagers, like newborns, eat all the time. As a newborn, my son wanted to eat every 90 minutes. That's about how often he becomes hungry as a teenager, too.
Each time I go to the grocery store, people stare at my cart filled with gallons of milk, piles of produce and mountains of meat.
I smile sweetly, shrug and explain, "I have two teenage athletes."
People just nod with an understanding look.
It takes me back to the days when my cart was full of formula, dry cereal, baby food, wipes and diapers. Those were expensive trips, too.
Then there's the laundry room consideration. Newborns go through several outfits a day. It seems like they are only clean for an hour or so when a mess happens at one end or the other.
Teenagers also go through a lot of laundry. School clothes, practice clothes, uniforms, weekend wear ... load after load of laundry seems to parade through our house.
My kids had such long arms and legs when they were little; it seemed to take forever to dress them. Those lanky limbs that go hither and yon are once again hard to control in the teenage years. Grow spurt? Yeah.
Consider, too, that, like babies, teenagers seem to be able to fall asleep anytime, anyplace and in any position.
As I'm driving a group of teens to a game or competition of some sort, I'll be talking away and notice that I'm not receiving any response. One glance in the rearview mirror explains why. Everyone is out. Did you ever put your baby in the car and drive around the block so the baby would fall asleep? Guess what? When they are teens, the car ride trick still works.
Sometimes attempts to communicate with a teen take me back to those newborn days. Wonder why he's upset? Why is she crying? Wish I spoke their language.
One form of communication is the same and it still works. Teenagers, like newborns, need lots of affection to help them grow and feel confident about who they are.
I loved providing for that need "way back" then, and I still love making that connection today.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.