7 Things Teens Just Won’t Do
Teens are often reluctant to do things that to adults are very basic and instinctive—we hang up jackets, take glasses to the kitchen, and recycle cans. We’ve learned that these are things inanimate objects won’t do by themselves, and no one else will do for us. While teens haven’t yet learned that coats do not spontaneously find hooks from which to suspend themselves, they also have a high tolerance for crap on the floor. My kids would rather step over something a thousand times than pick it up. While this isn’t unique to my children, nor is it likely to be the lead story on the ten o’clock news, it did make me think about some other things my teens refuse to do, which completely baffle me.
Loosen their shoe laces
A couple of my boys wear high top sneakers fairly regularly. It’s not a carefully guarded secret that the easiest way to get one’s foot into a high top—or really, any sneaker—is to loosen the laces so that the opening is wide enough to accommodate more of the foot as it slides in. And yet, my children seem to see this as an irreversible act. They insist on trying to jam their foot in with the laces as tight as they were when the shoe was taken off the last time, then declare that there’s something wrong with the shoe, because they can’t get their foot in. News flash, boys: it’s not the shoe.
Keep their socks on
Seriously, if I have to ask, “Oh for god’s sake, who left their socks on the coffee table?” one more time, I will probably spontaneously combust.
Put on shirts or long pants
I’m the first to admit that my husband is a bit of a miser when it comes to the heat. He’s from New England, and all that stoically enduring hardships shit combined with the penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned Benjamin Franklin crap means that he likes to keep the house at a setting that feels a lot like “meat locker.”
My boys, for reasons that haven’t ever been explained, prefer to sleep in just pajama bottoms, in spite of the fact that all their pajamas are sets, and I have no problem with them sleeping in regular t-shirts. They get up and feel a slight chill, so they grab the blankets from their beds and wear them downstairs looking like the Duke of Linens & Things. This drives me to a point just beyond insane, because eventually they warm up, or go get dressed, but naturally they leave the blankets draped all over the living room furniture. Or on the floor of the mudroom (which is what happened this morning—true story).
Take things all the way upstairs
Although usually related to the blankets from their beds, this problem is not exclusively confined to that. I hand them something and say, “Take this upstairs.” Half an hour later I go up to find whatever it is on the floor, in the place they could reach when they were about five steps from the top.
Put shit in their backpacks so they don’t forget it in the morning
They will spend upwards of ten minutes finding a spot for something so they won’t forget it in the morning instead of just going to the mudroom, opening their backpack, and sticking whatever it is in there. They’ll move the item around three or four times, usually because I say, “You can’t leave that there—I’m going to have to make dinner on that part of the counter, and it will be in my way.”
Naturally they move it around so many times that the next morning they almost automatically forget to take it with them.
Dry their hair before bed
This one makes me physically uncomfortable. It’s so cold to go to bed with wet hair, and I tell them that. Occasionally the boys will let me dry theirs, but my daughter almost never will. The problem is that they wake up the next morning looking like they got the worst end of a deal involving a fork and an electrical outlet. And of course they won’t…
Let me brush their hair
You think this would be confined to my daughter, but my sons are just as bad about clutching their scalps and howling, “Nooooooooo!” when they see me pick up a hairbrush. Guys, it’s a hairbrush, not a cattle prod.
I know that my job as a parent is to raise them to be thoughtful, polite, disciplined adults (bonus points if they don’t use the word “apropos” as an abbreviation for “appropriate”). But honestly I’ll just consider myself a success if I can raise them to put their socks in the dirty clothes instead of leaving them in the living room.
About Tracy DeBlois – Tracy has a husband, four children, a dog, and a full time job. Although she grew up on the East coast, she and her family relocated to the West coast almost ten years ago. She writes to maintain the tenuous grip she has on her fragile sanity. Her blog at Orange & Silver is intended to provide a humorous glimpse into the never-settling snow globe that is her mind. She spends her time answering questions about the location of her children’s belongings, and enduring the searing injustice that the upcoming season of Downton Abbey aired in the UK months before it will be shown in the US. Her work has been featured on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop website.