Tag Archives: teenagers

A Pop Quiz for My Teenagers

I was ready to divorce my teenage kids this past Memorial Day weekend. I had called the Divorce attorneys on the back of the phone book and had the papers all drafted. Thankfully, my wife talked me off the cliff and I was able to save the attorney fees. She’s good that way, at talking me off the cliff. Sometimes I have to talk her off the cliff. Sometimes we both want to jump off the cliff… and maybe have sex as we plunge to our deaths because it’s the only time we’d have any privacy. Plus the guy who spoke at the Memorial Day parade said lot’s of stuff about finding peace and happiness with the people who you care about and that settled me down a bit.

My kids hadn’t really done anything wrong. I was just tired of them. I was tired of driving them places, tired of cooking them meals, tired of picking up their stuff, tired of trying to keep their lives organized. Is it okay to say you’re tired of your kids sometimes? Well, whether it’s okay or not, I’ll man up and say it… I WAS FUCKING TIRED OF THEM!

They’re actually really good kids. Well behaved most of the time, well respected by their peers and teachers, “A” students. They participate and are successful in a lot of school activities.  But sometimes… well, most of the time…. okay look… all of the time, they just don’t get it. They’re messy, they’re lazy, they roll their eyes a lot, sometimes they’re even a little… GASP… disrespectful. They’re TEENAGERS!

So I decided to take a cue from all of my teacher friends. You see, the way that teacher’s know if their students are “getting it” is they give them regular quizzes.  So, I am going to start assigning monthly quizzes to my kids.

Here is the first one… it’s multiple choice:

1. A reasonable amount of time necessary to straighten up our home before guests come over would be:

A. 1/2 hour.
B. 1-2 hours.
C. 2-4 hours.
D. 17 days.

2. The proper place to put dirty dishes when you are done using them:

A. Washed and dried and placed back into the appropriate cabinet.
B. Washed and set in the dish strainer to dry.
C. Rinsed well and set on the counter next to the sink.
D. Under the couch.

3. The appropriate time to tell your parents about something you need completed for school is:

A. As soon as you learn about the assignment deadline.
B. The day after you learn about the assignment deadline.
C. One week before the date of the assignment deadline.
D. “Dad, you need to sign this paper from my teacher so you know I missed an assignment deadline.”

4. The reason we have a strict “bed time” on Sunday nights, between 10:00 – 11:00 pm is:

A. Children who get enough sleep do better in school.
B. Monday morning is the most difficult day to wake up on time.
C. Weekends are busy and we need to give our bodies adequate rest.
D. Your parent’s haven’t had sex in three months and that’s the only night we might be able to stay awake.

5. If a pair of your dirty underwear somehow ends up lying on the kitchen floor you should:

A. Pick them up and carry them to the laundry hamper.
B. Pick them up and while you are bending down, with a damp paper towel, wipe up the entire animal full of fur that has accumulated under the cabinets.
C. Question why your dirty underwear is on the kitchen floor.
D. All of the above.

6. The proper use of lights and light switches in the house is:

A. To turn on when you are doing your homework and to turn off when you are completed.
B. To provide temporary light while you are using the bathroom and to turn off when you are completed.
C. To provide low level lighting in the evenings when it gets dark outside and to turn off before bedtime.
D. To light up our home like the sun in case there are Aliens looking for life on another planet.

7. The number of allowable pairs of shoes that each family member should have in the shoe pile by the entryway door is:

A. 1-2 pairs of shoes representing the appropriate season.
B. 3-4 pairs of shoes representing the appropriate season.
C. 26 pairs of shoes representing all four seasons, plus every sports season.
D. What’s the shoe pile by the entryway door?

8. The day after spending an entire week of vacation fun and having to re-mortgage the house to pay for it, the proper response is:

A. “Thanks Mom and Dad, that was awesome.”
B. “I love you guys, would it be okay if I cleaned the bathroom to show my appreciation!”
C. “That was so great, maybe we could do that again in a couple of years.”
D. “I’m so bored, what are we doing today?”

9. The normal and usual scent in a regularly used home bathroom should be:

A. Azaleas and other flower arrangements.
B. Bleach with a touch of lemon.
C. Fresh mountain air.
D. Boy Scout camp.

10. When Dad says things like “I can’t wait for you guys to go to college”, what I really mean is:

A. You know, there’s a nice military school down in Indiana.
B. When I was your age, I had to do my own damn laundry!
C. Seriously, I can’t wait for you guys to go to college.
D. I really do LOVE YOU, I just need a “time out!”

Do you ever get tired of your kids? Yeah, I know, stupid question…

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The End of an Era and the Tooth Fairy

I’m concerned that we’re running out of cool things that we can lie to our kids about.  There used to be all kinds of things we could lie to our kids about.

For example:

“The stork delivered you… in a sheet… that he carries in his mouth.”

“Daddy and Mommy were just wrestling… on the bed… naked.”  Just kidding, I’ve thankfully never had to pull that from the repertoire.

And of course the MOTHER OF ALL LIES…

“Santa Claus brought you all that stuff… in a giant sack… that he carries in a sleigh… with flying reindeer.”

This all came crashing down the other night when my son lost a tooth. Now, granted we had already put on the “life schedule” that this would be the year that we tell the 11 year old son that there really aren’t any fat people in red suits or giant rabbits or leprechauns or fairies or anything of the sort that break into your house and leave you stuff in the middle of the night. In fact, we wanted to be perfectly clear that any people coming into the house in the middle of the night, whether that be through a chimney or a broken window or a busted down door, were likely sordid characters that were much more apt to be taking stuff from the house rather than leaving anything of value.

So our son loses a tooth on Friday evening… and Kim and I are lying in bed and she is doing the usual routine of cutting out a tooth shape from a sheet of paper, signing it in the tooth fairy handwriting (which I have to say looks very similar to the Santa Claus handwriting) and putting it and a couple bucks into a plastic baggie.

ME: And why are we still doing this?

HER: I’ll talk to him this weekend.

I have to say, Mom’s rule the roost when it comes to stuff like this, at least in my family, although I suspect it’s that way in most families. Sometimes I wonder, if I had been a single Dad would my kids have had all the experiences with holidays and birthdays and special events that they’ve had with Mom around doing the vast majority of the work. Or would I have said “look son, I know you’re only three years old, but this whole Santa Claus thing… it’s a ruse, how about you go out and get a job to help pay for all this stuff.”  I guess I probably would have stepped up but it likely wouldn’t have been quite as magical!

Saturday morning arrives and son is a couple bucks richer. Mom pulls him aside… it went something like this.

MOM: Can I talk to you about something?

SON: (probably thinking he’s in trouble): Sure?

MOM: Do you know who the tooth fairy is?

SON: You?

MOM: Yes, do you know who else I am?

SON: Santa Claus… and the Easter Bunny… and the Leprechauns… and…

And that was it. No shock and awe. No tears. No traumatic lifelong psychiatric issues. How long had he really known? When our daughter was told a few years ago at about the same age, there was lots of crying involved… even though, you know what? At a certain age, they know. In the backs of their incredibly intelligent little minds, they know… or at least they suspect. They’re just not ready to doubt anything their parents say… and in the long run, that’s a good trait to have.

As emotional as it can be for parents to move beyond those precious years of childhood innocence, I have to say, we’re ready to take the next step. Actually we’ve already taken the next step… we’re there. Sometimes it feels like taking a step off a cliff, but that’s what a family is all about, finding our way through life’s challenges as a team. I love where my kids are right now, they’re so talented and interesting and independent and funny as they dive deep into adolescence and teenager-hood.  Our daughter will be starting High School in the Fall, our son will be starting Middle School. It’s a big transition year and I am completely confident in their continued ability to stand out and shine.

So, now we’re running out of cool things to lie to our kids about.

My daughter will be learning to drive sometime during the next year or so…

… perhaps I can lie to her about that.

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Yet Another Good Reason Not to Clean the Bathroom

This is a guest post from my good friend Lisa over at The Big Sheep Blog.

Steve, thank you for graciously agreeing to post this on your blog. At the end, I’ll explain to your fine readers why I felt it was best not to post it on my own blog.  Lisa

If you have teenagers, then you already know that cleaning their bathroom can be a disgusting frightening experience. Usually, I’m pretty courageous and just go in there and get it done.

However, if you heard a shriek yesterday morning at around 9:20, that was me. It started out as a routine exercise in blasting the grossness with a variety of powerful cleansers and disinfectants. Then I opened the cabinet under the sink to put away the assortment of products designed to make teenage boys not smell like teenage boys. I peeked in to find some room and saw something on the shelf that looked like maybe a black crumpled up bandana. I reached in to pick it up. It was soft. It was furry. It moved.

That’s when I shrieked and simultaneously slammed the cabinet door shut. I bolted out of the bathroom and down the stairs to find my husband, who was working from home and in the middle of a conference call. “THERE’S A BAT! A BAT! A BAT!”

After ascertaining that I was not in immediate mortal danger, he calmly finished his call and sauntered upstairs about 15 minutes later. Armed with a bath towel and a plastic container, he caught the bat. “Wow, that’s a pretty good sized bat,” he commented, observing the critter in the container. “I wonder how he got in there?”

“Get it out, get it out, get it out,” I pleaded. (I don’t normally repeat everything 3 times, but once or twice seemed insufficient for the gravity of the situation.)

After the crisis was averted, I couldn’t help myself – I googled the implications of finding a random bat in your house. Apparently, 90 percent of the time, a random bat in the house is an indication that there is a colony of bats in your attic. Oh crap. After sharing this finding with my husband, I requested he commence an inspection, which is not as easy as it sounds because we don’t have a full attic, only a series of crawl spaces accessible from various places in my kids’ rooms.

It was critical to complete the mission before my 14 year old daughter returned home from school because if she had any idea there had been a bat in her bathroom, she would never set foot in the bathroom or the house ever again. In fact, we’d probably have to burn the place down and relocate to another galaxy, preferably a bat-free galaxy. And that is why I thought it was prudent to tell this story here, rather than on my own blog.  Besides, I know that Brown Road Chronicles is very critter-friendly.

On a positive note, I’m thankful the bat didn’t bite me, I didn’t fall down the stairs or have a heart attack, and that my husband was home.  I’m most thankful, though, that it was not my daughter who discovered our little visitor.

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