Tag Archive | teenagers

What Kind of Junk is Stuck to Your Trunk?

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant person, but sometimes when a pet peeve of mine is triggered, I momentarily lose my amiable nature, and become something akin to an R-rated version of Oscar the Grouch. I’ve had the same pet peeves for years, most of which are pretty standard. But recently I’ve felt a new one beginning to crop up. At first, it started out like one of those underground pimples – an annoyance that I tried to squelch before it came to a head. But now this sucker is red, ripe, and sitting right on the end of my nose, just begging to be popped.

 

I CAN’T STAND “Proud Parent of….” BUMPER STICKERS!!  Damn that felt good….

 

I’m aware of the fact that I probably just offended half of my readers, but it has to be said because parents have gone totally over the top with these stickers.  The back of some of these cars read like college applications. Since the dean of Harvard is unlikely to be driving behind you, why do you feel the need to advertise all of your child’s academic and athletic achievements to the world?

 

I get it, you’re proud. By all means, call Grandma and tell her all about the fact that little Sally made the honor roll, won a gold medal at her gymnastics tournament, and then rescued a baby whale during her Greenpeace excursion. She’s SUPER awesome!! But nobody but Grandma (and maybe you) cares.

 

You might argue that you’re just letting your child know that your pride for them is like these bumper stickers – permanent and unable to be removed without the use of a razor blade and/or blowtorch. But here’s a secret that your child might not be willing to share with you: they find these stickers just as obnoxious as the person driving behind you. And if your child is over the age of twelve, you can add a hefty dose of teenager embarrassment to that as well.

 

25001382846325_You-know-who-really-hates-that-Proud-parent-of-an-honor-roll-student-bumper-sticker-Your-honor-roll-

 

Part of me gets why these bumper stickers are so popular. Besides people wanting to brag about their kids, they also promote a sense that the world is a perfect place to live in. A place where all children get smiley face stickers on the top of their math tests, and score the winning goal at their soccer game. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s also total crap. Parenting is a messy, complicated business, and rarely idyllic.

 

Which is why I’ve come up with a better way for proud parents to decorate their cars – I’m calling them “The Real Deal” bumper stickers.  Not only will EVERY parent find something they can relate to, but my bumper stickers also won’t make the person driving behind you want to smack the shit out of you.

 

1.  For some kids, getting on the honor roll is about as probable as Macaulay Culkin getting another big movie deal – but that’s OKAY!!  Getting straight A’s isn’t nearly as important as learning not to share your poop with the people you live with….

proud parent toilet

 

 

2.  As a parent, it’s important to not only pick your battles, but also take your victories where you can get them.  No matter how small they may seem….

math.homework.

 

 

3.  Let’s face it, sometimes sitting on the sidelines of your kid’s game is BOOORRRRRING!!  There’s just so much cheering you can do before you start to pray for death – beginning with the screaming parent next to you that just ruptured their spleen (and your eardrum) because their son missed the ball.  For those parents who want to show support but would honestly rather be somewhere else, this one’s for you….

soccer parent

 

 

4.  After the age of ten, most honor students are like those cars that drive themselves.  They really don’t need parents behind the wheel directing them where to go (or taking credit for getting them there).  I know this because my daughter is like one of those freaky self-driven Google cars.  So I made this version of the “proud parent” for her because we both know the truth….

Honor.student.

 

 

5.  Being a parent is hard.  Being a parent stuck inside a metal box with a toddler is HELL….

wheels.on.bus

 

 

6.  It’s not much easier when they get to be teenagers and discover dance music that makes you want to gouge out your eardrums with a set of car keys….

homicidal radio

 

 

7.  Sure, driving around with your kids can sometimes be annoying, but those little rugrats can be a real lifesaver to the other drivers on the road.  Especially for the ones who cut you off in traffic….

giving.the.finger.

 

 

8.  It’s been a decade since I had a baby, but I remember the trauma of sleep deprivation the way most soldiers remember the horrors of war.  For all you parents out there driving around like extras from The Walking Dead, I’m here to make sure you don’t get pulled over during your commute to work….

sleep deprived

 

 

9.  Along with sleep deprivation, babies can also make you forget that you have sexual organs, and that you once used those man/lady bits for something other than creating life.  Go ahead and post your problem on the back of your car so other new parents won’t feel like the only sexually castrated Ken/Barbie dolls on the block….

babies libidos

 

 

10.  Having a teenager brings with it a different set of hardships, most of them chock full of hormones and seething hatred.  While I may get a full night’s sleep now, I have to do it with one eye open….

road.rage

 

 

11.  Most kids will test your patience on occasion.  GOOD parents learn how to control the urge to strangle their offspring when their kid throws a temper tantrum.  GREAT parents go on to promote world peace despite being given a lot of shit at home….

ghandi

 

 

12.  Just once I’d like to see a “drive carefully” bumper sticker that wasn’t put on a car to protect someone’s baby or grandma.  Like a drug lord, for instance….

drive.carefully.

 

 

13.  Trying to keep your child engaged in activities that challenge their mind and body is hard, especially when it’s Sunday afternoon and all you want to do is take a nap.  You wish they came with an auto-pilot button so you could just get a little bit of  “me” time.  And then you realize that they do…..

xbox.parent

 

 

14.  A subset problem of  the “Proud Parent” bumper stickers are these stick figure family decals.  Here’s why:  you know that creepy guy who lives in your neighborhood?  The one you checked out online to see if he was a registered sex offender or just gave you the willies for no reason?  Well, your decals just made his life a whole lot easier….

stick.figure

 

 

15.  Whether you choose to go back to work or stay at home after having kids, it’s easy to feel like the grass is always greener on the other side.  I chose the latter and after about a decade, having a misogynistic boss who doesn’t appreciate me has become a fantasy of mine….

stay at home mom

 

Advertisements

Sigh…. I Miss the Pole Dancing Days

No, not MY pole dancing days.  I’m a 40-year old woman with two herniated discs – if I attempted to pole dance, there’d have to be a chiropractor and a bottle of Vicodin on standby.  I’m talking about Miley Cyrus’ pole dancing days….

I miss this Miley -  the one who still enjoyed wearing pants.

I miss this Miley –
the one who still enjoyed wearing pants.

Honestly, when Miley decided to pole dance to her hit song “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice Awards back in 2009 I wasn’t all that scandalized.  She took a 3-second dip on the pole, and suddenly everyone was treating her like she gave Mickey Mouse a blow job on stage.

I took it for what it was – a 16-year old trying to let the world know that she wasn’t a little girl anymore.  Personally, I think it would’ve been more disturbing if she were still trying to play Hannah Montana at the age of 25.

Given the over merchandizing and popularity of her hit Disney TV show, it was bound to be difficult for her to break free from the squeaky-clean Hannah Montana mold that she was kept in for four years.

Look - even LONGER pants!!

Look – even LONGER pants!!

Part of me was sad to see Hannah go because it meant that my daughter Meghan, who grew up right along side Miley, wasn’t a little girl anymore either.  Even though Meghan isn’t straddling any poles, it’s obvious that she’s no longer the excited 9-year old that dragged me to see the Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds concert back in 2008…. although that shrieking little girl makes an appearance every now and then when Justin Bieber is around.  (I’ve been dragged to that concert too.)

So would Meghan continue to idolize Miley during their transition into teenage/ young adulthood?  I got my answer the night of the MTV Video Music Awards a couple of nights ago when Miley put on this performance….

MTV Video Link

It was clear to me (and probably the rest of the world) that Miley was officially hammering the final nail into Hannah Montana’s coffin…. with her ass.  I had a bewildered look on my face as I stared at my TV screen while Miley shook her ass in front of everyone on stage like a feral cat in heat.  Meghan was kind enough to dispel my confusion by telling me that Miley was doing the latest dance move called “twerking”.  If you don’t have a teenager to keep you apprised of such important matters, I’ll give you the lowdown.  Imagine that you’re having sex with someone in a vertical position.  Now take away your partner so that it looks like you’re doing some kind of masturbatory rain dance.  That’s twerking.  And obviously Miley likes it…. A LOT.

I didn’t have too much of an issue with her “twerking” on TV – I lived through the 80’s and did stupid dances like the MC Hammer and the Cabbage Patch, so who was I to judge?  But the twerking along with the tiny nude bikini, her tongue perpetually hanging out of her mouth, and her semi-pornographic use of the foam fingers made me want to blindfold Meghan and protect what little innocence she had left since discovering the internet.

If Miley was strictly going for the shock factor, then I think she hit the mark….

I’ll never be able to look at foam fingers the same again…. ever.

I’ll never be able to look at foam fingers the same again…. ever.

Mickey Mouse’s skanky little sister, Twerky Mouse

Mickey Mouse’s skanky little sister, Twerky Mouse

Robin Thicke was dressed like a referee,  so why the hell didn’t he call a FOUL??

Robin Thicke was dressed like a referee,
so why the hell didn’t he call a FOUL??

She probably hit the g-spot of every dirty old man watching, but it honestly made me a little sad to see her exploiting herself like that.  I tried to look beyond the raunchy gyrations and porno-tongue to find the artistic element, but I couldn’t.  I only saw a 20-year old who was trying too hard to make the world see that she was no longer the Disney poster child.  Miley, believe me – we get it.  Now can you PLEASE put on some pants?

All the factors that people have come to expect from a good pop performance:  choreography, set design, costumes, and (of course) vocals, were all sorely lacking and nonsensical.  Miley was so busy trying to remember to stick her tongue out and hump everything on stage that she totally lost sight of actually performing.

But what do I know?  I’m a mom, and everyone knows that moms are lame by nature.  We make our kids wash their hands, brush their teeth and wear clothes out in public – what a bunch of killjoys.

I was curious to find out what Meghan’s thoughts were after Miley’s performance.  So, I tried to pick my chin up off the floor and save my opinions until I heard what she had to say.  Before I could ask, Meghan simply said “Oh Miley, no.  Just….. no.”  I could tell in that moment that my daughter’s idol had toppled (or twerked) her way off of the pedestal that Meghan had placed her on nearly seven years ago.  I don’t think the pedestal started wobbling that night – it began two years ago when Miley started to morph into a “party girl” that Meghan could no longer identify with.

You should know that Meghan doesn’t pledge or retract her allegiance sporadically.  Once she decides to bring someone into her little world, she’s fiercely loyal to them, often for years – it’s like the Meghan mafia.  You talk shit about her idols, and you might wake up to find your beloved pet’s severed head in bed beside you.  Which is why I think it was really hard for her to let Miley go.  All of her Miley memorabilia is still in her bedroom, but instead of decorating her walls, it sits in a corner of her closet – small remnants from her childhood that she can’t quite bring herself to throw away.

I wonder who her next idol will be…. I just hope it’s someone with a shorter tongue and longer pants.

Are You Cool Enough For Michael Jeffries?

If you’re involved in any kind of social media, chances are you’ve read about the statement made by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Jeffries.  If not, I don’t want to be the only one who’s holding a torch and pitchfork, so take a look at this….

What a multi-million dollar douchebag.

What a multi-million dollar douchebag.

When I first read about this, I was offended on so many levels:  as a curvy woman whose left boob probably wouldn’t fit into an Abercrombie & Fitch’s size L t-shirt; as a parent who is trying like hell to raise kids who are accepting, kind, and respectful of others; and as a decent human being who doesn’t like it when someone acts like an asshole – especially when that asshole is marketing to kids.

When I brought this up with my 14-year old daughter and decisively told her that we would never buy another piece of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, she got angry…. which in turn made me angry.  I wanted her to join in the fight and be as outraged as I was about this man’s prejudicial opinions, but she wasn’t.  After a few minutes of bickering back and forth, it was clear that neither one of us wanted to budge.  So, we left the subject lying on the ground like a hot coal we didn’t know how to extinguish.  She stormed off to school and my head erupted like Krakatoa.

Michael Jeffries can kiss my XL SIZED ASS!!!!

Michael Jeffries can kiss my XL SIZED ASS!!!!

Once I simmered down, I thought about our conversation. In hindsight, I probably should have waited to talk about this when I could approach it logically rather than emotionally.  Although, given the fact that this subject is a bit of a hot button for me, I might’ve had to wait until she was collecting social security before I could’ve talked about it logically.

But I should have at least told her what I read and then asked her opinion on the subject, rather than acting like the parent Nazi.  Because once you tell a teenager they can’t do something, it becomes irresistible.  Even if you pick something they wouldn’t normally have done – like telling them that they’re never allowed to inject puppies with heroin…. you’d better believe some puppies will be tripping before bedtime.

I think my daughter saw not being allowed to wear Abercrombie & Fitch as the social status stock market crash of 2013.  Kids like to fit in because it means more friends and less bullying.  But often times, fitting in comes with a big price tag – in this case, it’s $58 for a pair of sweatpants…. and your immortal soul.

The message I wanted to send to my daughter, and to Michael Jeffries for that matter, is that it’s wrong to discriminate against someone based solely on his or her appearance.  And when we bear witness to that atrocity, we need to rally against it and prove that we care more about justice than we do about the label on our shirt.

BAN THE MOOSE!!!

I think the only reason Michael Jeffries still has a job, is because he chose overweight people as his target.  If he had blatantly stated that he didn’t want any minorities wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, he probably would’ve been fired and then burned over a pyre of his own overpriced clothing (or at least made to pay $50 million dollars in racial discrimination lawsuits like he did back in 2004).  But it seems a person’s weight is still fair game in the world of discrimination – whereas discrimination based on race, religion and sex (while still undeniably present) are a bit more taboo, more camouflaged  behind bureaucratic bullshit.

It is still socially acceptable to crack a few fat jokes, and portray overweight people in the media as lazy, unattractive and gluttonous.  These movie/TV characters are often seen as punchlines, not people – sadly, I think the same holds true off the big screen as well…. especially where Michael Jeffries and his stupid moose boxer shorts are concerned.

By saying that he only markets to “cool and good-looking” kids is the equivalent of saying that he doesn’t want ugly, fat kids wearing his brand (or working in his stores).  This guy has balls the size of cantaloupes not only for making such a brazen statement, but also for saying it while looking like this….

The only thing this guy should be railing against  is plastic surgery and botox injections.

The only thing this guy should be railing against
is plastic surgery and botox injections.

But there is one thing I love about Michael Jeffries’ statement – that he shot himself in the foot with it.  The world now knows him for the shallow, elitist prick he is, and it’s my fervent wish that his company will be deemed just as pathetic as his attempts to hold onto his youth.

 

I Accidentally Killed Santa Claus

We were still a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, but as my daughter and I entered our local mall I could see signs that the Christmas season was already beginning to rear its overly commercialized head.  I’m not normally a scrooge, but I morph into one when I see people decking the halls before they’ve had the chance to digest their turkey dinner.  I think that as long as the turkeys of the world are blissfully unaware that they are about to have an ass full of stuffing, Christmas should be nothing more than a tinseled speck on the horizon.

 

calm this shit down...

I guess the management at JCPenny didn’t care that I had just gone trick-or-treating with my kids or that I had no desire to have Santa crammed down my throat along with all the leftover Halloween candy.  The department store was already dripping with tacky Santa sweaters and twinkle lights.  As I tried to find the nearest exit, my ears picked up the familiar strains of “Frosty the Snowman” over the speaker system – it was my very first Christmas carol of the season and I had barely had the chance to step one foot into the month of November.  When I heard the first few chords, I looked around in disbelief, searching for some store employee to blame for the auditory assault. When I caught the eyes of a woman who worked there, I vaguely pointed in the direction of the offensive sound and mouthed the word, “Really?”  She shrugged sadly as if to say, “At least you don’t have to listen to this shit all day long.”

121_TooSoonChristmas_W

My 13-year old daughter, Meghan, was oblivious to my souring mood as she made her way over to the jewelry department.  Now thanks to Frosty the (unwelcome) snowman, I immediately started thinking about what Christmas presents to buy for her as she commented on the jewelry she liked.  I guess I fell right into the department store’s not so subtle consumer trap – hook, line and credit card.

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to buy presents for, and that goes double for teenage girls…. quadruple if it’s a gift of clothes or jewelry for a teenage girl.  You might as well just hand them the receipt for the item, along with your apologies for not even coming close.  I know that if it’s the wrong color, or there’s an offensive sparkle in the wrong place, the gift will be given a polite smile and then find it’s way to the bottom of their jewelry box or closet, never to be seen or heard from again.

terriblegiftrachel_Large

I knew I needed some help, so while we perused through the glittery baubles I said, “You should get a jumpstart on your Christmas list for Santa… and adding in some pictures would be a big help.”  Then I gave her an exaggerated wink and a nudge with my elbow, and continued to browse.

Meghan approached me with a look of stunned disbelief on her face and said, “Was that the moment??”

I was drawing a blank.  “You’re going to have to help me out because I didn’t wear my teenager decoder ring today.  What moment?” I asked.

“The moment every kid talks about – the one where their parent KILLS their childhood.”

I thought she was joking around with me, so I smiled and said, “Shut up.  Don’t act like we haven’t talked about this before.”

We have talked about the whole Santa scam before… right?  My brain started to frantically backtrack through all of our meaningful mother/daughter talks.  Here’s the checklist I came up with:

  1. Sex (check).  When she was about 9-years old, she wanted to know how babies were made.  I vividly remember her being grossed out when she understood what sex was and then realized her parents must have engaged in the behavior.  The conversation ended with a prolonged, “EWWWWWW!!!” and then she ran away.  Not exactly the bonding moment I had envisioned.
  1. Menstruation (check).  She got her period when she was 12-years old – if you count all the friends she texted first, I was probably the fourth or fifth person to find out.  I guess I should be thankful I was in the top ten, and that I didn’t have to find out about it on facebook.  After her admission, I took her through all the fun period paraphernalia and told her that Advil would be her new best friend.
  1. Drugs, alcohol and smoking (check, check, check).  We talked about the dangers of this stuff beginning in 3rd or 4th grade when I kept hearing stories about kids getting drunk and high in the 6th grade.  I would be thrilled if she never touched any of it, but realistically I’m just hoping to get through her high school graduation without having to ever find her laying down drunk in a puddle of her own vomit.

As my mind raced, I kept coming up blank where Santa was concerned.  Could it be that we had covered all these weighty issues and glossed over the fact that jolly ol’ St. Nicholas was a total load of Christmas crap?  It seemed impossible.  Equally impossible was the fact that none of her friends or older cousins had filled her in on the hoax.  But the forlorn expression on her face confirmed my worst fear –

I HAD JUST KILLED SANTA CLAUS.

SantaClaus

I tried to backpedal and pretend like I was just kidding, but it was too late – the fat man was out of the bag now, and there was no way of stuffing him back in.  I knew that Meghan would probably spend the next week mentally replaying all the lies I had told her over the years.  I could almost hear her future accusations, “You mean the EASTER BUNNY and the TOOTH FAIRY too?!  They were all LIES??”  Yes honey, but they were good lies.  (They must’ve been good for you to believe them for the last 13 years.)

As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait a whole week for the wheels in her brain to start turning – the kid always was too smart for her own good.  During the ride home from the mall, she spewed rapid-fire realizations at me, and all I could do was sit there and mentally calculate what this was going to cost me in therapy bills.

One of the best realizations she made was about our cat, Matilda.  Four years ago, Meghan woke up on Christmas morning to discover a new kitten under our tree that happened to have the same name as her favorite Roald Dahl book.  Now she knew that Santa had no part in giving her that cute, little furball.

“YOU found Matilda?” she asked.

“Yes!” I finally blurted out like a criminal who had reached the breaking point during a prolonged interrogation.  “And you have no idea how hard it is to find a kitten in winter!  The damn cats only mate in the spring!!  I had to visit half a dozen animal shelters before I found her and then I had to hide her at Grandma’s house until you went to bed on Christmas eve, and then…” I babbled on until the whole sordid story was told, and then we sat there in silence for a while.

It was my fervent wish that Meghan would grow to appreciate all the trouble my husband and I had gone through to create this fantastical ruse, and how difficult it was to maintain for so long.  But I knew that wish wasn’t going to come true anytime soon.   The few days that followed (what will now be referred to as “the Santa incident”) were spent with her saying things like, “I can’t believe you lied to me” and me feeling like Mommy Dearest right after she beat Christina with a wire hanger.

3s2iws

I guess we know who’ll be at the top of Santa’s naughty list this year…. will any of you be joining me?

5 Side Effects of Living With a Belieber

Even if you’re not a girl under the age of sixteen (or the parent of one), chances are you’ve at least heard of the pop singer, Justin Bieber.  In the last three years, he has gone from an anonymous Canadian teenager to a globally recognized superstar.  At the mall, it’s hard to walk ten feet without seeing his face on a piece of merchandise – even on coffee mugs, which makes no sense to me.  Since when do twelve-year olds drink coffee?  I suppose they could be for adults… but that’s a thought too horrifying to contemplate.

When caffeine isn't enough to get your heart racing.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites dedicated to the adoration and idolization of this eighteen-year old boy.  Over zealous Bieber fans, dubbed “Beliebers”, can’t seem to get enough of him.  I know, because my thirteen-year old daughter, Meghan, is one of them.

If DaVinci had Justin Bieber to look at, the Mona Lisa never would have been painted.

Those that have a Belieber residing under their roof know what a test of patience it can be.  For those of you that don’t (lucky bastards), I’ll give you a glimpse into my hormonally charged world.  Here are the side effects of living with a Belieber:

1.  Barnes & Noble induced bankruptcy:  

Meghan knows no limits when it comes to books on the subject of Justin Bieber.  Even though the kid is barely old enough to vote, he has already written an autobiography entitled First Step 2 Forever.  There have also been dozens of books written about Justin by other authors.  That’s right, I said dozens – and Meghan wants them all.  That doesn’t mean she gets them all…. at least not until she gets a job to help support her Bieber habit.

Can you say adorably redundant?

And if the books aren’t enough to satisfy your Belieber’s obsession, there are also magazines.  Do you know how many teen magazines are out there?  Thankfully, not as many as there are Bieber biography books, but certainly more than there were when I was a teenager.   And most of the magazines have Justin somewhere between the pages, which means more pictures and posters for Meghan to add to her bedroom walls.  Her room is a veritable Bieber shrine…. all Beliebers that come to worship must leave their purple sneakers at the door.

Move along.... nothing obsessive to see here.

2.  The shrieking….oh God, the SHRIEEEEKING!!:  

I am constantly assaulted by ear-piercing shrieks at the mere mention of Justin’s name.  Every commercial, TV appearance, or music video with that kid in it causes Meghan to emit a sound that just misses the frequency of a dog whistle…. which is unfortunate for me because that means I can hear it.  If I need hearing aids before I’m fifty, I’m suing Justin Bieber for damages.

That clip was just thirty seconds…. try listening to that for THREE YEARS.

Meghan and I were driving in the car recently, and all of the sudden she let out a shriek that made me think I was about to run my car into a parade of babies and kittens.  I frantically looked around to find the cause of her apparent panic attack, nearly running my car off the road in the process, but saw nothing.

“WHAT?  What is it?!”  I asked, with my heart galloping in my chest.

“Justin Bieber’s new song is on the radio!!!”  she exclaimed while bouncing up and down in the seat beside me.

Have you ever seen that show 1,000 Ways to Die?  I bet the makers of that show never considered death by Top 40 hit song.

3.  Your nose can run, but it can’t hide:  

Given Meghan’s voracious appetite for Bieber merchandise, when he came out with his perfume, Someday, I knew she would want it.  I also knew that it would offend my Chanel No. 5 sensibilities – I was right.  The sweet concoction wafts through the house, and seems to find my nose no matter how far away I am from where it was sprayed.  And when it does inevitably find me, a migraine usually isn’t far behind.

Someday.... sounds like a threat.

 4.  Play it again, Sam.  And again…. and again…. and again…. 

Meghan doesn’t seem to ever tire of listening to Justin’s music.  EVER.  His lyrics and music have been pounded into my brain with repetition so relentless, it borders on torture.  You need to get a confession out of me?  Play Justin Bieber’s song, Baby, a couple dozen times, and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.  I get down on my hands and knees and thank the inventor of the iPod everyday because without it (and the accompanying headphones), I would surely have found my way into a straight jacket and a padded cell by now.

Dancing to the beat of her own Bieber.

5.  The countdown – it’s like Dick Clark on amphetamines:

The countdown begins when Meghan finds out that Justin Bieber is coming out with a new single, album, or video.  I thought it was unbearable when she had to wait two weeks for his single, Boyfriend, to come out, but now she has to wait almost two months for the release of his next album, Believe.  Thanks a HEAP for announcing that one so early, Justin.  Every day that ticks slowly passed, I know I will hear her excitedly announce, “only __ more days until the new Justin Bieber album comes out!!!!”  And more than likely, that announcement will be punctuated by a shriek that makes my ears bleed.

A visual aid to remind me when the next round of auditory torture will begin.


I guess there are worse fates for a parent to suffer, and certainly worse boys for my daughter to idolize.  Despite Justin’s amazingly rapid rise to fame, he seems to be well grounded and good-natured.  He visits sick kids in the hospital, puts on concerts at impoverished schools, and lends his voice and support to a lot of charities – namely the “Children’s Miracle Network”, the “It Gets Better Project”, and the upcoming movie “Bully”.  He’s like the teenage boy version of Mother Theresa.

Maybe his extraordinary empathy for the poor, sick, and tormented children of the world is a byproduct of his own humble beginnings…. or maybe when you have more money than god, you just enjoy throwing it around a little.  Whatever the reason, I hope Justin Bieber stays as sweet as his headache producing perfume.

If she blushes this much over a cardboard cut-out,
meeting him in person would surely lead to spontaneous combustion.

My Two Left Thumbs

While texting was technically invented in the early nineties, it only started to gain widespread popularity in the last six years (or so).  For five out of those six years, I was perched high atop my soapbox, proclaiming that texting would be the death of all meaningful human interaction.  If someone had handed me a megaphone, I would have shouted, “Why don’t you people ever talk to each other anymore?!”

As a writer, I also saw texting as a personal affront to the written word.  Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure were all scrapped in favor of the English language’s newborn bastardized son – the short message service (SMS), also called text speak; a language full of acronyms, abbreviations, and numerical inserts.  So, it seemed texting was not only replacing our meaningful face-to-face interactions and phone calls, it was also responsible for creating an entire generation of crappy writers.

When my thirteen-year old daughter wrote “u” instead of “you” in a rough draft essay for her English class I nearly had a brain aneurism.  I knew she was only using the shortened version of the word because it was a rough draft her teacher would never see, but I still lectured her (ad nauseam) about the importance of spelling and grammar, and about how crucial it was for her to differentiate between her schoolwork and the texts she sends her friends.

Don’t roll your eyes at me.  I stop being a self-righteous asshole in just a sec….

On the rare occasion I texted someone, I stubbornly dug my heels in and refused to use text speak, despite the fact that it took me ten times longer to text someone using proper English on my dinosaur of a flip-phone (sans keyboard).  Probably would have been quicker to communicate via homing pigeon. But I had my principles, no matter how asinine or antiquated.

I was teased by friends and family about my novel-length texts (complete with proper capitalization and punctuation), and frequently asked, “What are you writing, a book?”  Sadly, no.  It seems I’m as easily distracted writing a real book as you seem to be reading my text-books (text-books…. get it?  Hahaha).

*Side note:  if you happen to be a book agent, believe me when I say that I will buy out my pharmacy’s entire supply of Ritalin and start popping them like tic-tacs if it means landing a book deal.  Okay, moving on….

But then about a year ago my husband and I decided to get our (then) twelve-year old daughter, Meghan, her first cell phone.  And at the same time, I decided it was time for me to upgrade my cellasaurus.  I knew I wanted a touch screen and keyboard, but I wasn’t anywhere near ready to take on the iPhone.  The salesman took one look at the flip-phone in my hand and suggested I buy the “Pantech Ease” – a phone clearly designed for the technologically challenged.  I didn’t know whether to be insulted or relieved.

Before taking two steps outside of the Verizon store, my daughter had already sent me several text messages.  As we walked through the mall, I tried not to run into a wall or another shopper while my clumsy thumbs attempted to keep pace with her rapid-fire text messages.  She only had the phone for five minutes and she was already fluent in text-speak, and could move her thumbs across that tiny keyboard with unnatural speed and agility.

During the course of the next week, Meghan sent me hundreds of text messages – most of them while we were within speaking distance (curse you, unlimited text plan!)  I was reluctantly transformed from a mom who sent less than ten texts during the course of a week, into a piss poor imitation of a teenage textaholic.

As the month wore on, I could feel my resolve starting to weaken; slowly acronyms and numerical inserts began to rear their ugly heads.  Meghan forced me to end my war on text speak, and brought me over to the dark side – the land where spelling and grammar go to die.  I rationalized that it was better to raise the white flag and surrender, than to have both my thumbs fall off.

Meghan schooled me in acronyms, and let out an exasperated sigh whenever I didn’t know what one meant.  She once sent me a text that read, “DTB.  TTYL.”  Umm…. what?  I stared at the screen totally dumbfounded.  Without my acronym decoder ring, I had no idea what it meant, so I used the next best thing – Google.  Google told me that she was trying to say, “Don’t text back.  Talk to you later.”  It was my turn to let out an exasperated sigh, and wonder why the hell two English-speaking people needed a translator.

Just so you don’t run into the same problem, I’m posting this link.  If you have a teenager, I suggest you bookmark it….

Acronym Dictionary

I still hated all the short-cuts, but at least I understood the necessity for them.  What I couldn’t understand was why teenagers made shorter words longer or misspelled them for no reason.  Words like “hey” became “heyyyyyy”, and “ok” became “kk”.  It was obviously no longer a time saver, so what was the reason?

Meghan gave me a blank stare when I asked her, so I once again turned to Google for the answers.  After checking out various websites on texting, it seemed the added letters or purposeful misspelling indicated emphasis, coolness, and/or drunkenness. So my daughter was either trying to make a point, fit in with her peers, or she was ready for the Betty Ford clinic. Awesome.

Thankfully, since last year Meghan has filled up her cell phone address book with numerous friends and family members, and no longer relies on me as her primary texting buddy.  My thumbs are eternally grateful.