Thursday, 5 February 2009

Things My Teenagers Can Do That I Can't

In the interest of fairness, here are twenty things my teenagers can do that I cannot.

1) Spell U-Tube. I mean YouTube.

2) Figure out how to use any mobile phone. In, like, seconds.

3) Dance skillfully without unwittingly amusing spectators.

4) Turn heads when we go downtown (without falling down, spilling the contents of their purses, or otherwise making spectacles of themselves).

5) Sit down in the midst of Great Turmoil and Chaos with a perfectly clean conscience.

6) See a sink full of dishes without feeling oppressed and culpable, even when they generated most of the dishes.

7) Math.

8) Sit for hours looking at a computer screen. It is true that I sit for hours when I write, but when I am by myself and thus not in danger of having my internet access snatched away, I have to get up and walk around frequently. My kids can sit still almost entirely motionless for hours at a time -- I've seen them.

9) After sitting for hours on end, arise without moaning, "Oh, my poor back!"

10) Lie convincingly, most of the time.

11) Apply eye liner without smearing it.

12) Handstands (Eldest).

13) Go back for seconds, third, fourths and fifths and never gain as much as an ounce (Youngest).

14) Remember how to get to a place after only going there once (Acquired Daughter).

15) Watch Japanese and Korean soap operas without snorting in irritation at the stupidity of some of the plots and poor quality of some of the acting.

16) Use any floor as a clothes depository without the least bit of embarrassment.

17) Read the labels on packages without the aid of glasses.

18) Fall in love with items of clothing without looking at the price tag first.

19) Immediately tell the difference between CDs and DVDs without making the mistake of inserting them into the wrong piece of equipment first.

20) Go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that someone else will lock the doors, check the windows, and turn off all the lights.

Now maybe they will forgive me for my last post...


The Anti-Wife said...

Wow. Your kids are really talented.

Barbara Martin said...

Part of the answer is teenagers live in a different parallel world than adults do. It was no different when you and I were teenagers, just over different things. Sometimes I thought my parents were so daft not to realize some things.

I can add a few of my own to your list: - figuring out how to attach a DVD player to an older model of TV.

- isn't it interesting that children everywhere are linked with ignoring dirty dishes, picking up after themselves, doing whatever they want without remorse over responsibilities.

Of course, now parenting is more relaxed without the corporeal punishment I and my brothers grew up with.

14] I have always been able to find a location after being there once. It must be an inherited ability.

One way to keep a teenager speaking to you is to hold tight to the pursestrings (unless they have their own part-time jobs). I babysat as a teenager, but what did 35 cents an hour buy you?

Mary, I wouldn't worry about them not speaking to you...stop preparing their meals, cleaning up after them, doing their laundry, buying anything for them: maybe it's time they left home where they have to do all these things themselves.

Lily Cate said...

I love some of that stuff!
And I miss it, too.

adrienne said...

I just read through both lists - so funny (and true). I can remember the days when a sinkful of dishes and clothes all over the floor didn't bother me at all...sometimes I wish I could still be that oblivious.

Travis Erwin said...

Such talent. You must have given them some of t. ;)

Robin said...

Wow. It's so true. Let's never let my kids see this post, OK? When you truly tally up their talents it becomes clear that they could easily wipe us out and take over the world. And make it a really, really messy world.

Mary Witzl said...

Anti-wife -- Some of their talent won't last forever, though. I was able to operate electric appliances that flummoxed my mother, but look at me now.

Barbara -- Our teenagers will never be our equals when we parents assume most of the labor and responsibility, and you are right: only full independence will make them truly see the light. It is all a matter of time.

We are on speaking terms actually; I just put the last part in for dramatic emphasis -- (I've since changed it). Most of the time, they do their own chores pretty well, but we have a very different idea of what constitutes a good job -- or the exact meaning of 'one minute'.

As for tight purse-strings, believe me, I could write a book on this. And some day my kids probably will: 'Mommy Cheapest' maybe...

Lily -- I miss sitting in the back seat of a car, listening to my parents squabble over which road to take and whether the car in front of us was going slow enough to be overtaken. Now I'm one of the guys squabbling in the front seat. And sometimes I long to let my clothes fall into a heap on the floor instead of going to the trouble of putting them away.

Adrienne -- Those were the good old days, weren't they? When the big pile of laundry wasn't ours to do; when the dinner that everybody wanted to eat wasn't our sole responsibility; when the noses that needed wiping were someone else's disgusting problem. Wait: I don't have to wipe noses anymore! I've just cheered myself up.

Travis -- I'm pretty sure I passed on that floor-as-clothes-repository gene. Not the dancing thing, though. I never could dance.

Robin -- They're still a long way from being able to inherit the earth. Just think: where would they get the wherewithal for ice cream, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies? And what would they do for socks?

Charlie said...

Thanks, Mary, for this post and the one before it--I've been in need of a good laugh since I worked two days this week on our income tax returns. All of Martha's good money (or what's left of it) down the government tube.

Which means if we had teenagers of either flavor (or mix 'n' match) the drawstrings of the family treasury would be tied in tight knots.

And I love Barbara's comment. MY parents were as daft as they come . . .

Anne Spollen said...

#6 -- Coffee out my nose laughing. Love the way you put that. Just finished picking up the dishes from the boys' rooms (spoon inside ice cream container and ice cream container inside desk drawer!)

I better get a napkin.

Charles Gramlich said...

You've hit it on the head. I agree with everything you've said. Well almost.

Charles Gramlich said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marcia said...

Love this list. Really have to agree with #14. But I can do #7 and they can't. I do #8, too, and hope I don't get blood clots or something.

debra said...

Since we are computer immigrants and they are computer natives, they can help us navigate the waters of the cyber world, and translate if necessary.

Get as much sleep as they need without feeling guilt.

Fill my heart with immeasurable joy :-)

Patois said...

I love that list. Totally talented teens, eh?

Mary Witzl said...

Charlie -- My heart goes out to you; it's bad enough for money to go down the tube, but down the government tube is just unsupportable. We haven't done our taxes yet; we get a special time extension for being expatriate. I suspect when we sit down to do ours, tears will be shed.

And I'll bet if they had a daft parent competition, I could have won prizes for mine. Though you are right: years on, some of their daftness has worn off. How does that happen, anyway?

Anne -- Thank God someone else's kids do that too! Don't get me started on what I've found in dresser drawers! And they actually wonder why we've got ants.

Charles -- Now you've got me wondering what it is you don't agree with me on. Please tell me!

Marcia -- Lucky you! With all my heart, I wish I could do math. It burns me up when guys say math inability is a girl thing; my mother and both my sisters were all skilled mathematicians. It's my father I take after.

As for sitting at a computer for long stretches, my bad back is probably an asset. Lucky for my family, too, because otherwise the laundry might never get done.

Debra -- That is so true: they are native speakers and we are all clumsy immigrants. If only I could depend upon their help! The problem is that they often lose patience halfway through and go off in a huff. Whatever teaching genes I inherited have obviously not been passed on.

Patois -- I'll bet you could write your own lists, right? Any parent of teens could do this; it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Kanani said...

Oh, teenagers completely exhaust me!

Carolie said...

I loved this post and the last. You've got a lovely, deft hand with the sarcasm, very subtle all the way through that last little *twist* of the blade. I'm in awe!

(And I know, I know...I owe you an e-mail...but I FINALLY have a new blog post up! Also, still need your address, to send your box!)

Kappa no He said...

Those should be posted somewhere. Scary, scary, scary. But so damned true.

Phil said...

Enjoyed this and the one previous. Lots I could add, but I fear I wouldn't be able to stop!

Engaging as ever.

I've sent you an e-mail with a link I think might interest you. Don't know if you've changed your e-mail address since moving. Let me know.

All the best.


Mary Witzl said...

Kanani -- Yep, me too. What is interesting is that they feel the same way about us. And my parents definitely tired me out on a routine basis.

Carolie -- You're good to appreciate my sarcasm; if only the kids enjoyed it! And you don't need to send us a box! (Though after reading your post about kaiseki ryoori, I was close to drooling.)

I'll e-mail you again soon.

Kappa -- I tell myself that if my kids hung up all their clothes and took an eager role in housework, I'd probably be more nervous and they'd definitely be weirder than they already are. But part of me wouldn't mind if they were just a little neater and more considerate. Is your son untidy too?

Phil -- Yes, I'll bet your list would be good. I remember an amusing thing or two you wrote about your son's room...

I've gone and lost YOUR e-mail address too! For silly reasons, I no longer publish mine, which has cut down on the spam immeasurably. But never fear: I know how to contact you and with any luck, you should hear from me shortly!

Chris Eldin said...

I thought I commented on this post. I must be losing my mind. Unless somebody else did a similar teenager post recently.
I'm not going to make fun of teenagers because their brains have more cells.

Mary Witzl said...

I did twin posts, Chris -- one about what I can do that my kids can't and the other about what they can do but I can't. They were a lot alike, actually, in that they helped me tease my kids.

Don't worry about your brain cells. I'm seriously thinking about giving up coffee if mine keep sloughing off in such numbers.