Sneaky Teenagers And Their James Bond 007 $h!t

She prefers her family shaken, not stirred.  Her mind games are masterful.  You can never be sure of what she's got in secret pockets, or of her intentions with whatever it is she's got.  She's completely predictable in her chaotic, sporadic, mercurial way.  Why, she's the most interesting teenager in the world.  She's a smuggler of the highest class, and regardless of who she associates with, she's always working for herself.

No, seriously.  Punkin is an expert, at a level that nearly makes me proud.  I nearly applaud her ingenuity, and exhausting perseverance.  If only she had the focus, she'd make an excellent attorney; the way she can spin a story (and stick to it!) and of course, bury evidence.  Consider this:

We entered her room, mentally prepared to execute the parental search warrant upon the premises of the teenage daughter.  Unassuming and nonchalant, he blended in so well among the other plush toys on the shelf.  He was unnoticeable and forgettable.  But during a bedroom shake down, all things become suspect.  The mattress is tossed, and the dresser drawers emptied, every pocket gets turned out, and even stuffed animals get the Charmin Experience.  Well, Mr.Penguin didn't hold up against interrogation, and he turned over the "contraband" he was smuggling beneath his cap, which was barely secured with a few loose stitches.  Articles were confiscated, and the mastermind was charged.  For his cooperation in the matter, Mr. Penguin was released, but placed on probation.  We were pretty sure that this location was now a bust for future operations, but he would remain under surveillance, probably for the rest of his existence.

When it came time for the inevitable followup shake down, all of the usual locations had been exhausted.  After all these years, we were well schooled in the arts of this parental hide and seek.  We know about the old "under the mattress trick", and even the "tucked into the webbing under the box spring, where the cat sometimes hides" maneuver.  We've been through the pillow cases, and even through the stuffing in the pillows.  Every zipper and pocket of every extra purse, backpack, bookbag, suitcase, pencil case, and jewelry box.  Among the clothes in the dresser drawers, of course... where do you think we found the collection of secret cellphones?  We search shoes, boots, socks, between the pages of books, as well as within CD, DVD, and various video game cases.  And now, inside and out of the plush toys that are kept as childhood memorabilia.  All of that.  Been there, done it.

We knew we would have to step up our game.  Start thinking outside the box, which is something we thought we had been doing.  But we had to start looking at the room from her perspective.  Scan with a keen eye, look for something out of the ordinary, but don't forget to keep your eyes on what could be hidden in plain sight.

The carpet fibers... they were loose, right there in the corner of the closet.  Did we forget to push the carpet back down under the baseboard last summer, when we ran some cable wire through here? Nope.  It was "contraband", tucked a few inches in, under the corner of the carpeting, inside the closet.  Yeah, she was getting good.  No, she had gotten good, and in a way, she had trained us to be good at catching her. That's why, the next shake down revealed an assortment of hidden treasures, not inches in, but expertly spread about four feet into the room, under the carpet, and the padding.  

She's come a long way since trying to sneak my eye-liner pencil to school by smuggling it in her underwear.  It was a brand new six inch long pencil!  (Not to mention the eye shadow assortment).  It was sticking up, out of her pants, and over the waistband of her jeans!  She looked like an Amazonian native with a penis sheath.

Anyway, when do you know that you've gone too far?  When do you ask yourself if you've become just a little too paranoid?  When you start tearing up the carpet to look for things that your dear child may be hiding from you?  I seem to remember taking a step back and saying something like "What are we doing?  This is crazy!"... just moments before Hubsy discovered the second hidden carpet chamber.  

No, you know it's gone too far well before you have to start pulling out the power tools, and roping off grids for excavation.  We may seem paranoid, performing these shake downs and going to extremes to find the things that she hides from us.  But how paranoid are we, really, when we keep actually finding these things in every one of the places I've mentioned?  And you may ask, what are we even looking for?  What is this contraband?  Well, contraband is really anything that you don't want your child to have, and that you have made your wishes about the items known, loudly and clearly, over and over again.  Maybe its for their health and safety (as most of our reasons have been), maybe its about age appropriation, or maybe its just about something that we don't accept or condone in our particular family.  "Contraband" is relative to a situation, to a social morality, and to family ethics.  Perhaps that another blog post for another time.

Those days are over, for the time being, now that Punkin is testing her independence and renting a room from a friend.  For now, we're closing her case here at Inter-Parent-Pol.  We can only search her teenage bedroom, here within the confines of our home, to find her mistakes, and try to save her from them... we can't shake down the whole world.  

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