Think of it as more of a garbage "zone." There is still plenty of space around the bag.
You can't use too many towels or spend too much of someone else's money. That's just math.
If your parents really want you to do something, they will ask again.
Either we get in trouble for drinking straight from the milk container or we get in trouble for leaving half a glass of milk on the counter. So what is even the point?
How come nobody ever says anything when we remember to take the garbage out, but when we forget it's like, "oh, you forgot to take the garbage out."
What is so hard about remembering to buy Pop-Tarts?
My sister/brother gets away with everything not because my mom loves her/him more but because my mom is basically clueless.
When we say there is nothing to eat in the house, and you point to all the food in the cabinets and the refrigerator, it makes no sense. Who is going to eat uncooked food?
You know what's even more adorable than teenage boys? Pretty much anything.
Also, the teenage girls who insist on cooking for them. As a role model for these young women, I can't really say that I approve.
As the mother running Camp Eat-Around-the-Clock for Teenage Boys, it is going to the top of my list of Things to Love About 17-Year-Old Boys.
Best Chocolate Chip Pancake Recipe Ever:
1 17-year-old girl from across the street
1 bag of chocolate chips
Send bag of chocolate chips across the street with teenage boy. Wait approximately half an hour.
Open door to teenage girl bearing giant plate of chocolate chip pancakes, which you will not even have to wash.
from the archives:
To the parents of a teenager, this is known as "progress." It is impossible not to feel a tiny bit encouraged.
For added enjoyment, try explaining to a teenager that there is a long-running debate over how to hang toilet paper. They won't believe you at first. Then, they will actually take a position.
You will roll on the floor laughing.
from the teenager archives:
1. When your mother tells you that seven full-size bottles of perfume spray are too many, take one out. You only need six. The seventh is a decoy.
2. Try to get everything into
one two suitcase(s) and one two carry-on bag(s).
3. If you can lift it, you probably forgot something.
4. Wait until the last minute to pack your mom's high heels. That way she can't pretend that she was going to wear them. She was never going to wear them.
Photo: With names like "Endless Love, Pure Seduction" and "Gorgeous," you won't want to leave a single one of your perfumed body sprays at home. Only a complete killjoy like your mom would even suggest it.
from the unsavvy traveler archives: We fail to drain the bottomless box of French culture
"Just think of something and then buy it for us." And other inspired Father's Day ideas from teenagers...
If there is anything that gets teenagers more excited than a holiday to celebrate the Contributions of Parents, I can't think what it could be.
Other than Pop Tarts, I mean, but that shouldn't count because that is more of a chemical reaction than genuine excitement. Not even Substitute Teacher Appreciation Day could go up against Pop Tarts in a competition for a teenager's enthusiasm, so it really doesn't even bear mentioning.
My point is, other than toaster pastries, there is nothing teenagers look forward to as much as the annual opportunity to demonstrate gratitude to the people whose entire life is
a cautionary tale devoted to their upbringing and happiness. Not counting money, vampire television, fast food or being home alone.
And here, just for accuracy's sake, I am going to mention the "moab" - which is something you earn for bringing off 24 consecutive kills in the video warfare exercise known as Call of Duty. I don't know what a moab is, but it could be some sort of gift for his father. Otherwise, it's true that Boy, Esq. 17, is slightly more engaged in accomplishing this than in making plans for tomorrow's big tribute.
But things are said and done in the heat of a virtual battle that do not necessarily signify their place in the hierarchy of priorities. So Call of Duty is probably no more relevant to this discussion than a box of strawberry frosted Pop Tarts filled with cash.
It's also true that Veruca Salt, 14, will be asleep most of the day, recovering from a sleepover/overnight texting session, but that doesn't mean she is not bursting with ideas as to how to celebrate the man whose 70-hour a week efforts mean we can almost afford her iTunes habit.
Trust me, if there is a single synapse firing anywhere in her consciousness that is not carrying critical data as to whether the boys in One Direction prefer vegetarians or blondes, she is almost certainly dreaming up the biggest Father's Day celebration since ever.
In fact, the more I think about it, nothing could be more unnecessary than reminding these bursting-with-appreciation teenagers that tomorrow is Father's Day. It would be like reminding them that there are strawberry frosted Pop Tarts in the pantry.
Still, just to be safe, I will give the boy a heads up. "There are strawberry frosted Pop Tarts in the pantry," I say. "And tomorrow is Father's Day. I'm pretty sure."
Turns out he already has a plan: "Just think of something and then buy it for us," he says. Also, we are out of Pop Tarts.
It is the same tone of voice you might use to say "the directions are on the box" to someone who has just asked you how to make a cake.
Not that there will be cake.
from the archives of really lame tributes: Happy Father's Day, unless it was yesterday...
I don't know what kind of teenagers you are familiar with, but the 14-17 year-olds who live in my house would need a really long nap before they could even begin to contemplate taking on a task like making a list.
"OMG!" they would say. "How are we supposed to make a list when the paper is nowhere near the couch? Why don't you just ask us to go cut down a tree and make our own paper? I guess Seasons One through 17 of the Vampire Diaries and/or South Park will just watch themselves?"
On and on it would go, until every last possible objection that could be made without rising from the couch or changing the channel had been exhausted.
So when the photographic dispatch below arrived via our Atlanta correspondent, we could not disguise our envy.
How had she managed to inspire the kind of initiative that led her 15-year-old son to create a summer action plan? Pop-Tarts? Cash? Breast milk? Was it French parenting? Tiger parenting? Some combination of French parenting and Pop-Tarts?
Photo: Atlanta teen's Summer Action Plan.
from the archives of teen ambition: Bonnie and Clyde, PTA members
The teenagers are manning the barricades in our house this week. Can you blame them? So much is wrong in the world. Let's just start with the snack situation and go from there:
1. There are never enough snacks in the house. And let's be clear about this: "Salad is not a a snack." Ditto for olives.
2. There is Too Much Singing: The 14-year old must be made to stop singing. It is driving her brother crazy.
3. No one should have to stop singing. He can just go to another room.
4. The parenting is incompetent. What kind of a mother can't even make a 14-year-old girl stop singing? Or tells a 14-year-old girl to stop singing? Either way, it is cause for complaint.
5. Shipping and handling should not count as part of an Internet shopping spending limit.
6. We are tired of being blamed for things we don't admit doing.
7. There are never enough clean towels. Even counting the ones from the guest bathroom.
8. We should be allowed to use the towels in the guest bathroom.
9. Stop blaming us for taking towels from the guest bathroom. We have no idea how they ended up on the floor of our rooms.
10. We are sick and tired of all of the rules we don't even follow.
Photo: A spokeswoman for the group plots her next super-cute dress purchase and chafes under unreasonable spending limits. "Can you just let me live for once?"
in related news: A critique of household rules by its teenage members
1. Ask "did you buy any food-food?" when your mother comes home with $250 worth of groceries.
2. Refuse to define what is meant by the term "food-food." You know it when you see it.
3. Start every other conversation by asking "what are we having for dinner?"
4. Open every cabinet in the kitchen while sighing between meals.
5. Stare at pantry contents in disapproval. This is no way to live.
6. Insist that you have not eaten all day no matter how many plates you have used.
7. Be uncharacteristically nice to your little sister, then ask her if she wants to make cookies.
8. Drink from milk jug while staring at refrigerator contents until temperature drops 20 degrees.
9. Later, complain that the temperature in the refrigerator has dropped 20 degrees.
10. Be the plate. Time spent on dishes, napkins or silverware is time spent still hungry.
from the care and feeding of boys archives: The Virtual Food Critic
1. Get your mom to take you and a friend to your favorite pizza restaurant for lunch. Right after breakfast.
2. Order the mozzarella sticks right away because your mom's ability to say "no" is weakest at the beginning of the meal. At this point she still believes there is a chance you will actually eat everything you say you can eat. Also, she is distracted by the wine list.
3. As soon as your appetizers arrive, count them and divide them as carefully as if you were stranded on a desert island with those kids from Lord of the Flies instead of in an Italian restaurant with one other 14-year-old girl and your mom's credit card at 11:30 in the morning.
4. Order the deep dish cheese pizza with the cheese-stuffed crust. Because the more cheese the better.
5. Leave the crusts on your plate. Because nobody eats the crusts.
6. Finish with the signature "deep dish cookie" dessert. Because that is the reason you picked this restaurant in the first place. Duh.
7. Ask the waiter to box up the rest of your pizza. Then leave it on the table for your mom to carry.
8. Wait about three hours before asking, "what's for dinner?" When your mom says "leftover pizza," look at her like she just said something really crazy. Because that is just crazy.
A second helping of this topic: How to feed 4 teenagers for 2 weeks for under $1 million
10. Not Wendy's
9. Not Subway
8. Not pancakes
7. Not pizza
6. Not ready for another half hour
5. Not made with cheese
4. Not like the kind someone else's mother makes
3. Not delivered
2. Not served with mashed potatoes
1. Not familiar. See: Goat cheese, green olive and carmelized onion tart.
Photo: Onion tart courtesy of the Suburban Overachiever, whose pastry skills are matched only by her skill at pretty much everything else.
Originally published 4/9/12
When I asked the kids last week about coloring Easter eggs they gave me the same look they use to demonstrate their enthusiasm for "Not Eating at Wendy's Night." It was clearly a no-go.
I took it as a sign that we could add Easter to the list of holidays we no longer had to pretend we cared about for the sake of the children.
But teenagers can be such sticklers for tradition. Which is how I found myself with 270 pounds of teen in my face first thing Sunday morning, demanding: "Where are the Easter baskets?"
"Where is my coffee?" I said, thinking maybe, just this once, I could trick them into doing something nice for me.
In the end of course, I made my own coffee and filled a basket with candy I'd been hiding behind a chair in the office.
Then we made Peep and Tonics with the neighbors, set the teenagers loose on the little kids in a Hunger Games-inspired egg hunt and feasted on everything that could be baked, grilled and topped with a marshmallow chick.
Just like our parents did.
Replace acne cream with furniture polish.
Pretend to have just discovered a $20 bill in the laundry you asked them to fold two hours ago.
Hide the television remote under the pile of wet towels on the bathroom floor and demand that they pick them up immediately.
Hide their cell phones in plain sight on the kitchen table. Repeat the rule about not eating anywhere except at the kitchen table.
Pretend to have run into a group of their friends at the grocery store. Say, "such nice kids."
Set their alarm clocks for morning.
Download episodes of Schoolhouse Rock onto their iPods.
Create a fake press release announcing the switch to a year-round school schedule.
Change their Facebook status to "Hanging out with my Mom."
Pretend to read from a newspaper story describing a recall of Axe products after it is discovered that the popular line of men's grooming supplies contains a chemical compound that actually repels sexual attraction in teenage girls.
Leave a fake grocery list out on the counter that includes every variety of Pop-Tart.
Call them from the grocery store and say, "tell me again what kind of Pop-Tarts you like?"
Pretend to have just volunteered to speak to their Health class.
Imply that you have hidden Pop-Tarts in the garage.