Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things I Don't Understand About Teenagers

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?


Emmanuelle said...

Thank you Marie for this good lough. My abs are still aching (which just showes how In Shape I am) !!!

Marie Force said...

Haha, Emmanuelle! Glad you got a chuckle out of it. I know your kids are still younger, right? Or do you have boys busting a sag? Is that all the rage in France? My 11-year-old son is all about the sag. I may have to bring out Cousin Sue's inspired cure. I've got the granny panties in house... LOL

Sharon Lathan said...

Marie, it is a good thing I didn't have milk in my mouth or I would be pulling an Emily for sure. That was hysterical! As so scarily spot on. My kids are great, so we have few serious conflicts, but each point you made is a definite fact. I don't get the pants thing AT ALL! Kyle insists it is comfortable, which I will never believe no matter how many times he swears on a stack of Bibles, and my only salvation from acute embarrassment is that he wears very long T-shirts.

With my kids the biggest gripe is how they can dwell in absolute squalor in their bedrooms. The rooms actually smell and when we discovered a massive black widow spider in Kyle's room, I was not the least bit surprised! Neither of them comprehend that this is just plain disgusting, even though the rest of the house is kept immaculate. Bizarre. And I fear for my future grandkids, but that is another story.

Marie Force said...

You make such a good point about the horrifying bedrooms. I should designate that item number 6 on my list. Emily's room is a horror show. However, I have learned to use it as leverage when she wants to do something. Hmmm, I say, let me see how your room looks. She says, in a full on panic, give me five minutes. To which I reply, you'd better make it thirty minutes because five ain't enough to address what needs to happen in there. :-) Ahhh, I love having me some parental leverage (aka blackmail).

Now my cousin Jean loves to remind me (in front of my kids) of how my mother once said, late in her life, that she wished she'd spent less time haggling us about our rooms because we both grew up to have lovely homes. I suppose she was probably right, but I can't deal with any type of food item petrifying in the bedroom. I know to go there when we run low on glasses. And I HATE to see the clothes I bought her all over the floor. Those are my biggest peeves. Black widow spiders would have to be another!

Cheryl Brooks said...

Fun stuff, Marie!
My guys are in their twenties now, but the technology thing holds true. If my computer geek DH can't fix it, the boys can. If they are mystified, it must be something that requires directions. I am the only one who ever reads them!

Sheila Deeth said...

Never cold. They're amazing. Though the ones that went to college in California have come back older and colder. The Washington State student thinks Oregon is warm - and goes out in snow in sandals and a T-shirt!

Judy F said...

Ah Marie that was too funny. I worked part time this christmas at the mall and lordy it was snowing out and these kids had shorts on and freaking flip flops. When did I get so old and cold. I remember telling my niece once that now that I am older I don't care how silly I look with my ear muffs, scarf and hat. But damn it I am warm. LOL

I call my nephew who is 27 now for any computer problems I have. He has saved me many of times.

On a sad note my dad passed away yesterday. Its been a rough start to 2010 for us.

Marie Force said...

LOL Cheryl! I never read the instructions. EVER. I think I may in fact be allergic to instruction manuals. Drives Dan CRAZY! I say, so what? That's what I have him and the kids for!

Marie Force said...

Every time my daughter goes out with her wet hair in a bun, my grandmother spins in her grave. I know it. That was one of her biggest pet peeves. Of course the fact that their father does all these crazy things and is never cold, either, might explain why they are the way they are. My kids quit wearing winter hats years ago! I insisted today that my son wear a long-sleeved shirt to a hockey game. He was like, MOMMMM, are you serious? When he got home I asked if he was glad he'd worn long sleeves and he said it was colder this time than last time. After which I indulged in a little maternal nanny nanny boo boo. Moral of the story: Mom is always right!

Marie Force said...

I'm sooo very sorry to hear about your dad. What a difficult loss for your family. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

Old and cold--I am with you there. I am cold in my own house and Emily is sitting around in shorts and a tank top and bare feet. It makes me shiver just looking at her. Let's face it, they're all crazy!

Take care of yourself!! Big hugs,

SiNn said...

just laughes and laughs im soo gonna have to try the granny panty thing lol mebeing 27 i never ever understoods hown off ur boxers to god and everyone itannoys me to this day i wanna wlak up behind thema nd pull up their pants my self ty for the laugh my teen ager just thinks hes the hottest thing ever but doesnt show off his boxers thank god he just flirts withe everything with legs

Emmanuelle said...

Busting a sag is all the rage here in France too !! My sons are still young (3 and 9) and thank God they don't care much about trends (yet). I hate this way of wearing jeans though... I guess I'm going to be a very annoying mama in the years to come. ;-) (and thx for the granny panties tip).

Marie Force said...

Nothing wrong with raising a flirt Sin. At least he won't be forever in your house, right? :-)

Emmanuelle, watch out for those boys of yours in a few years. Mine has really gotten into it since he turned 11. I keep threatening to pull a "Cousin Sue" on him. He gets scared because he KNOWS what that means!

Barbara B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie Force said...

Aww, thanks for coming by, Barbara! An invisible skill or some kind of freakish gravity, perhaps!

Barbara B said...

Well Marie, regarding the "show me your underwear" concept: we do owe them some kudos...the skill required to even stand upright without their pants falling to their ankles takes some invisible skill that I surely don't have...or want!!!
And speaking from experience and personal knowledge...your mom and Jean's mom raised some pretty terrific kids...
Thanks for the laugh!

Mary G said...

OMG Marie
What a funny post. Butt Floss? LOL.
Love the mom in number 5. That's a big one at my house. If I see Jason's undies I will try to pull his pants down the rest of the way. Works everytime.
The first time he rolled his eyes at me I said "Do you think you invented that because I did the same thing to your grandmother".
Technology is good but... One day Jason could not reach his cousin who lives 2 streets away from us.
He complained "Franc is not on-line & we've got plans." I said, "Oh my God you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way & call him on the phone!!!" He so hates when his friends think I'm funny. He says "Don't encourage her." I say "Who do you think you inherited your sense of humor from?" It does get better. He's 20 now & still alive. Nuff said.

Marie Force said...

OMG, Mary, Emily HATES that her friends think I'm funny. She says the very same thing about encouraging me. She can't believe they laugh at all my dumb jokes. I love it! :-) Funny about your son actually having to CALL someone. Horrors!