Oct 20

The Frontal Lobes and My Children

Jon Monastero and I got lunch last week.  It was there that he gave me some valuable insight into my child.  Did you know that inside our head is a pile of spaghetti called a “brane?”  That’s right!  And in this brane there are….oh, I’m sorry, I’m getting a message right now….oh I see.  Ok, pardon me, I’m getting word now that I should actually be referring to this goopy mass as a “brain” not a “brane”…although if your computer is reading this out loud to you because you can’t read, or you’re blind, then this part really doesn’t apply to you.

But this brain stuff gets better:  this one particular brain situation, the frontal lobe, doesn’t fully develop until somewhere in the twenties.  And the frontal lobe handles things like, say, for instance, determining whether it’s a good or bad idea to eat a piece of bark because it looks like Turkey Jerky. Or maybe you’ll be faced with the idea that jumping off the roof of your house holding an umbrella will simulate a parachute and will be “rad.” That’s your frontal lobe, or lack thereof. Probably a bunch of other lobes are missing on that one, too, but you get my point.  Here’s the one article I read on the matter to piggy back my conversation with Jon (who is extremely smart by the way, and was a teacher of snotty/loveable adolescents for a number of years.)

Copied from a medical textbook I found....a professional, accurate one.

What is interesting to me is the relationship to how developed our “decision making” lobe is as it relates to important milestones in our lives.  It will explain a great deal, I imagine, later in life when Noble and Alistair become teens.  But for now, it is helping me to understand why Noble will play a game called “Crash Into My Bedroom” and be completely shocked when he accidentally slams his head into the floor because of an ill timed and ill placed launch attempt off his bed and “supposedly” onto a pile of pillows.  Accidents do happen, yes.  So do frontal lobes.

The milestones I was referring to previously:

  • Age 16 – get your drivers license! Can I borrow your car?!  Just for a quick spin through town! Yeah yeah seatbelts, get off my back grandma….I mean dad, sorry. Oh hey, look!  A steep cliff off the side of the road.  This is a four wheel drive, let’s do this thing!
  • Age 18 – LOTTERY TICKETS! Oh, and I can join the military. Guns and Gambling!  YEAH!
  • Age 18.5 – Out of the house!  YEAH! No more parents giving me good advice!  Time to experiment with all those things everyone told me to stay away from!  WISH ME LUCK!
  • Age 19 – Wanna head up to Canada to drink some brewskis?? It’s legal at 19!!  Woo-hoo!
  • Age 21 – SHOTS!!  Beer Time! Or liquor time….or wine coolers time, do they still make wine coolers? Who cares, somebody get me drunk cuz I can! What do you mean what’s new?  I’ll tell you what’s new: I can get stupid drunk in a bar now, and not in my 21 year old friend’s basement.  No, you are!
  • Age mid 20’s – Frontal Lobe is fully developed!  Sorry about the exclamation point there.  I didn’t realize there wasn’t a party for that one.  This is wierd, what is happening to me?  Oh no I’m making informed decisions about my behavior now!  What the hell IS THIS?! Memories of idiocy are flooding back.  Why do I have this strange desire to apologize to my parents.  I’m totally frontal lobed!  Maybe I can sleep it off like I did with everything else in my life up until now……ah crap, it didn’t work.  Well, let’s try therapy and journaling…

This clearly lays out why I’m scared out of my mind for the adolescent years with my boys.  I remember what I did as a young man, and seeing hints of my reflection in them scares the heckinbiscuits outta me.

It helps, though, knowing that Noble and Alistair have these little tiny infant lobes in that frontal part of their brane, excuse me, brain.  Because at least when I tell them 800 times not to jump on the couch, and they do anyway because it’s so much fun, and they smash their face on the arm rest, and it hurts because it’s not as cushiony as they think….it’s mostly wood with a thin pad and then some upholstery…not like the rest of the bouncy fun couch, I can point to them and say, “I told you so!”…..that really has nothing to do with frontal lobes.  But it feels good to say.

I hope I made you feel a little bit better knowing that  your kid isn’t a deaf, defiant idiot who gets hurt over and over doing the same crazy dangerous things….because that’s just not true.  It’s just because he’s missing branes.

PS – if you haven’t entered the contest to win a sweet prize, please do!  All you have to do is guess what the hell my wife made with her lego creativity.  Click here to go to the post, and leave your guess in the comment section!  Good luck….if you have half decent frontal lobes, this should be a walk in the park.  Unless you have trouble walking, in which case that was a really bad way to describe how “easy” the contest should be.  My apologies, then.


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