Things That are Awesome About Teenagers: A Comprehensive List

I’ve noticed that more often than not when I get a compliment on my kids these days it is kind of coated in pleasant surprise that we all actually still like each other now that they are 16 and 13.  We’re right in the thick of the teenage years and I’m realizing that a lot of people are terrified by the thought.  Honestly I was one of them at one time.  I think that there’s this misconception out there that these years are destined to be full of angst and slammed doors and, well I’m just gonna’ say it…moody, hormonal assholes.  But I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.

I mean, okay maybe that’s sometimes true.  But they usually forgive me.  Badump bump.

Lean in and let me tell you a secret that is not often told: The teenage years can be really, incredibly awesome.  I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite phase of parenthood yet.  Well, at least tied with that sweet, chubby, laughing baby phase.

Things That are Awesome About Teenagers: A Comprehensive List

1.  A teenager will NEVER wake you up at twenty til the buttcrack of dawn asking for Cheerios after she has kept you up all night insisting with a pouty lip that she needs to immediately watch The Little Mermaid for the eleventy-millionth time WITH YOU.

2.  Teenagers want to sleep in their own rooms…nay, in their own beds in a weird teenage blanket-burrito formation that keeps all their limbs neatly tucked in and will make you wonder why they didn’t sleep burrito style like that all the times they kept sneaking into your bed and somehow simultaneously stuffing one foot in your ear and another firmly in your crotch  while you prayed, “Just two solid hours of sweet, sweet sleep please God please.”

3.  If a teenagers spill something they can clean it up they dang selves.  What what.

4.  Teenagers do not demand to be carried, say, from the furthest point in the mall all the way to the car at the end of the parking lot.  They will willingly walk.  Unimaginable while you’re stuck in the toddler phase, isn’t it?  And even if they do get a little tired and over it, I have found that you can get them moving again by telling them that you think you saw a Starbucks near the entrance on the way in.

5.  You can share shoes and sometimes clothes.  I mean, they’ll always look better in them but let’s not focus on that.  This is a happy list.

6.  Teenagers can have actual meaningful conversations with you.  You know those days when you think that if you don’t get some grownup talky-time with someone who, say, doesn’t let their own nose drippings flow directly into their mouth that you might die by your own hands?  Boom!  You’ve got it!  Your teenager has real grownup thoughts and opinions on politics and religion and pop culture and love and there will be times when you will be stunned by the maturity and wisdom that just came out of the same mouth that just asked you how you tell if muffins look “done.”

7.  If they have a booger you can tell them and they’ll just, like, go handle that.

8. You can leave them home alone and go run errands, or get a pedi, or have a date night with your husband and not have to get a babysitter or worry that they might drown in a five-gallon bucket or stick their finger in a socket.  I know, that’s a revolutionary thought right now, isn’t it?   And moms everywhere shouted “FREEDOMMMM!”

9.  You realize that they are really growing into becoming their own person.  Not a mini-you.  Not a mini-him.  A separate, beautiful, independent and amazing person.  There will still be shadows and whispers of you and your spouse, to be sure, but there will be impressive and wonderful things there that you can take no credit for (believe me, I’ve tried. Nobody bought it) and you will marvel at them. This is when you realize your offspring aren’t merely little reflections of you, and that if you treat them as such you’re doing them a huge disservice (Btw, if you’re still doing that, stop it. Stop it now).

10.  Once they are 16 they can go to the grocery store for you when you forget the milk.  I don’t really feel like this one needs to be expanded upon.  It’s that obviously awesome.

I think that pretty much sums it up, but I reserve the right to add to this list often over the next several years.

Don’t fear the teenager, young moms.  And meanwhile appreciate those other stages too, because as much as I’m enjoying the now I don’t know that we ever stop longing for the yesterday too.  I guess that’s just part of it, isn’t it?

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“Have You Vinegared the Cat Today?” and Other Weird Things I’ve Said Lately

A year or so ago we found ourselves with a tiny newborn kitten that my mom found in the Walmart parking lot.  He was so eensy that he looked like a bobble head, and we had to feed him from a bottle.  It was the cutest thing…until we realized that he was also too little to pee and poop on his own.

Oh,  you didn’t know that was a thing?  Well it is.  The mamma cat has to, uh…help them if you know what I mean and I think you do (it’s enough to make you thankful you’re a human mom and not feline mom, let’s just say).  So, several times a day we had to get a wet paper towel and kind of go to town on the kitten’s more delicate areas.  And it isn’t just like you can attend to this task half-heartedly.  There’s a certain way it has to be done to get any sort of result, and I might even go so far as to say it’s sort of an art form.  A sad, sad art form that leaves you feeling a little weird about yourself, but I digress.

As it happened, we had a beach vacation planned right in the middle of this kitten fostering and so we had to pack this eensy little guy up in a shoebox and head to Florida with him nestled in the back seat.  We stopped in the parking lot of a Zaxby’s on the way and the girls were arguing over who had the last kitten bathroom duty and I snapped, y’all, and out of my mouth flew the following sentence:

”ANNA CATHARINE, TAKE THAT KITTEN AND GO POOP IT RIGHT NOW, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”

As soon as it left my lips we all stopped and stared at each other for about five beats of silence and then cracked up simultaneously.

To date that had held the title of The Weirdest Thing I’d Ever Said.  Until now.

Jolene the foster cat has ringworm.  I think.  Either ringworm or cat leprosy, which I don’t think is a thing but can’t be sure.  And look, I’m all about giving this hussy a temporary home until she has her babies and all, but I’m not super down with taking her to the vet and incurring expensive vet bills if I can help it (Before you judge me, remind yourself that I’m housing a stray pregnant cat with ringworm.  Give a girl a break).  I did a little Googling and vinegar is good for treating ringworm so twice a day I say the following as if it’s the most normal thing ever:

“Has anybody vinegared the cat today?”

This is what it’s come to, people.

Also, I just realized we’ve turned “vinegar” into a verb.  Somebody call Webster’s.

Reserve your kitten now!

I’m not, like, a qualified candidate for Animal Hoarders or anything but aside from the giant 150 pound mastiff, the neurotic shepherd/spaniel mutt, the obese/overly affectionate creeper of a house cat and the tiny brown flighty feline who spends the majority of her time outdoors we at any given point may have a stray or injured something-or-another living temporarily in our very modest-sized house with us.  Lost or wounded animals of all kind just end up here.  It’s kind of not normal.

The last few days I’ve had people ask me how Seth takes to this, and to those people I say Do not be fooled.  That guy is almost as bad as I am.  He came into the living room this morning holding this bloated, miserable momma cat like a baby with a big grin on his face.  Last Thanksgiving he was the one wearing gloves and patiently bathing the wild, razor-blades-for-claws, flea infested kitten in the bathroom sink before the holiday meal.  Friday night as we pulled out of the driveway for a date, he stopped and quickly pulled the car back into the driveway in a huff.  I thought he was going to gripe because I’d left the hose out (but seriously you guys, putting up the hose is a pain in the ass, am I right?) but instead he got out of the car, scooped a tiny green praying mantis off the windshield and deposited it carefully into the flowerbed.  I watched and melted, because duh.

…You know what?  He’d probably rather me not tell you that last one.  Pretend you don’t know.

Anyway, right now I’ve got a pregnant cat hanging out here whom we have named Jolene (because obviously she’s a hussy).  I couldn’t let her go to the pound, so here she is.

This tendency of mine is kind of a problem, for reasons that include but are not limited to:

1.  The girls get attached.  I rationalize this process by telling myself that this teaches them that life is full of little losses and that it’s good not to shelter them from it.  I’m either teaching them to do good works even if you have to let go and let your heart hurt a little in the end…or I’m beating all of the feeling out of them with every kitten, leaving them bitter and emotionally dead inside.  I guess we’ll see how that plays out.

2.  The previously aforementioned modest-sized house is at times overcrowded and requires constant vacuuming of animal fur.  I’ve considered having every animal we own shaved down to their spoiled pink skin on occasion and at one desperate point I stood in the aisle of CVS eyeballing their largest bottle of Nair.  Don’t worry, PETA weirdos, I didn’t do it, gosh.

3.  People know my weakness and they bring me their unwanted or found animals.  I’MTALKINGTOYOURAYWOMACK.  It’s ok.  I don’t blame you.  I’m currently wracking my brain for anyone who is a bigger sucker than I am so I can do the same to them.  I’m, uh…coming up blank.

4.  A pregnant cat, y’all.   Do you know how hard it is to give away a cat?  Now I have to find a half dozen people to take a half dozen cats.  This particular problematic point is compounded by the fact that I’ve already supplied all of the willing cat-takers I know with cats over the last couple of years.  I’ve run out of cat-takers, people!  Gah!

5.  People who don’t really like animals that  much look at me like I’m the stupidest person on the planet.  This one isn’t really that big of a deal to me, though, because who cares what people who don’t really like animals that much think anyway?  They’re obviously dumb and can suck it.

Anyway, I figure we probably have another couple of weeks until we have a littler of kittens keeping the girls busy. Eight weeks or so after that I’ll be looking for people to take them (and that hussy Jolene) and give them good homes.

So, I’ll be in touch.

And for God’s sake, go ahead and start saving up to get them fixed.  I can only do so much, people.