As the mother of a 14-year-old daughter, who is really quite smart, funny, and an altogether good kid, I do find myself often in the company of teenagers. A few observations of some of the more mystifying traits:
1. They are never, ever, EVER cold. In what started out as a joke but took on a life of its own, Emily received about 30 pairs of socks for Christmas. Do you think she'd ever stoop to actually wearing a pair of them? Noooo. She went out yesterday in about four inches of snow in ballet flats and, you guessed it, no socks. Most of the kids in her school don't bother with winter coats because they don't want the hassle of carting them around all day (lockers are soooo last century). Another mom told me about dropping her daughter off at the same school a few years back, again with several inches of snow on the ground, and the girls were wearing flip-flops. What the hell is wrong with these people? Emily's boyfriend recently walked more than a mile in a thin sweatshirt and PJ pants (a staple of the teenage wardrobe) to visit with her. I asked him, you really like her THAT much? He just gave me a goofy grin. Again, I ask, what the hell is wrong with him? He did seem grateful when we gave him a ride home.
2. They think EVERYTHING is funny. We've come to realize that when Emily begins a sentence with the following words: "The funniest thing happened," you can almost guarantee it is not funny. Not even kinda funny. They also love to recite back comic bits from movies they've seen or episodes of Saturday Night Live (a recent discovery by our daughter who was shocked to hear we watched it when we were her age--and that back then it was actually funny). These recitations usually take place in the midst of hysterical laughter while their unappreciative (adult) audience waits for them to get to the funny part. And waits. And waits some more. Ahhh, okay. Again, not funny. However, when she busted up laughing with milk in her mouth at lunch today and milk came spewing out her nose? Now THAT was funny. Oddly, though, she didn't think so.
3. They are the smartest people in the universe. I never knew I was so stupid until I had a teenager. I mean, I am seriously, seriously stupid. Did you know? (If you are in any way related to me, do not answer that.) Emily was elected class president in September. Her first order of business was organizing a bake sale for open house. I, who work by day as the communications director for a 15,000-member national organization, suggested that she set up a Facebook page for her class so she could post regular updates and not have to make phone calls every time she needed to reach her classmates. To that she replied, "That is the worst idea I've ever heard. It's a terribly impersonal way to communicate." Oh. Okay. When one of her fellow class officers came up with the same idea a couple of months later, it was billed as brilliant. What do I know?
4. In keeping with no. 3 on my list, they are also the most technologically savvy generation ever. I mean seriously, if they weren't so self-absorbed they could take over the world. There is nothing they can't operate, manipulate, fix, reprogram, deprogram, etc. When my cell phone acts up, I hand it off to Emily. It comes back with a new ring tone I don't recognize and a silly picture of her on the wallpaper, but the problem is fixed. They master a complex cell phone or iPod or iPhone in minutes when it would take us parents years to just get started. If only they knew the power they hold in their hot little hands. Their potential is truly frightening. However, lucky for the parental generation, they are too busy texting LOL and LMAO and ROTFLMBO (see Item 2 on comedy) to their friends to realize the full scope of their power. Let's hope they don't figure it out.
5. What's up with the underwear on full display at all times? Thankfully, the girls aren't as into this trend as the boys (although the thong wearers like to make sure everyone knows they're sporting butt floss.) The boys are just ridiculous. It's called "busting a sag," or so I'm told. You've seen the pockets on the backs of thighs in the mall, right? News flash: that's not where they belong! My cousin Sue, the mother of three teenage boys, came up with the perfect solution to this issue when she was seeing more of her sons' boxers than their jeans. Digging through the dresser for her biggest pair of granny panties, she pulled them up as far over her shirt as she could get them and went walking through a family room full of her sons and their friends. MOM, they shrieked, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? If you can show me yours, she replied, I can show you mine. Ironically, that was the last she ever saw of boxer plaid hanging out the top of her sons' pants. (I'm pretty sure she cured their friends, too. They'll all be in therapy for years...) I say GOOD FOR HER. Inspired parenting at its very best!
What crazy teenager trends have you experienced? Did you know you were stupid or did it take a teenager to point it out to you? What tips do you have for surviving the teenage years?