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The ABC’s of Teenage Girls…Amazing, Beautiful and Challenging…

I am the parent/stepparent of four girls, aged 12, 14, 16 and 24, so I feel completely qualified to present this A-Z guide to living with teenage girls (I wish I could say it was tongue-in-cheek, but sadly, it’s not):

“Awesome”.  What they say after you’ve just emptied your bank account buying them two pairs of jeans they like at the mall.  Alternately, they might also say: “That’s awesome, Mom!  As if I’d be seen in public in those!” if you make the mistake of not bringing them with you, and come home with the wrong kind of jeans! 

Bedroom.  Where teenage girls live.  There’s usually a big “Keep Out” sign somewhere on the door rendered in purple bubble letters with curlicues.  It’s probably a good idea to heed the sign…you could get your foot entangled in the balled-up clothing on the floor, and fall and break a hip!  Remember when you used to send them to their rooms to punish them?  That’s not going to work any more.  Being forced to hang out with the family is guaranteed to make them reconsider their transgressions! 

Cellphone/Computer.  The two electronic items essential to teenage girls in the 21st century.  They don’t actually talk on the phone, unless it’s to summon their parents to pick them up somewhere.  When they’ve misplaced the phone, they panic: “Oh, no!  Ashley will text me, and she’ll think I’m ignoring her!”  Our girls spend hours on the computer, updating their status on Facebook, commenting on other people’s profiles, and becoming “fans” of pages like “My parents just filed for bankruptcy, but who cares…I just got cute new boots!” 

Dishes.  If you’re looking for these, don’t expect to find them in the dishwasher or the cupboard.  Ditto for silverware, especially spoons.  You will find bowls crusty with milk and (if you’re lucky) soggy Cheerios, on the coffee table, or more likely, the floor.  Glasses may or may not be emptied when left for you to knock off their precarious perch on the edge of the desk where you made the mistake of sitting to check your e-mail.  Plates might be left on the kitchen floor for the dog to lick, forever.

Eye-rolling.  Teenage girls are experts at this, especially if their parents have done something especially “lame” (like telling them to wear a hat in sub-zero temperatures!).

“Fail”.  You may have thought the word “fail” was a verb…you are incorrect.  It is, in fact, a noun, as in “That was an epic fail!” which is what teenagers say when they or one of their friends do something clumsy or stupid.

Giggling.  Giggling is a good thing, except when four girls are doing it during a sleepover in the next room at 2 in the morning.

Hair.  Many teenage girls spend hours on their hair…our girls are no exception.  Our kids’ bathroom is a mass of brushes, ponytail holders, headbands, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and hair straighteners.  Our lone teenage boy uses the little bathroom by the laundry room, just so that he has a place for his toothbrush!  I wish I had a dollar for every time one of the girls complained that her hair wouldn’t “go right.” 

I-Pod.  If you tell your daughter you’re going to the mall, and she doesn’t jump up immediately, she is probably listening to her I-Pod.  However, if you tell her to do her homework and she doesn’t respond, she’s practicing “selective hearing.”

Jealousy.  Every teenage girl has green eyes…she wants what other teenagers have!  She also knows, down to the penny, how much money you spent on her sister, and will demand the same treatment.  My kids can whine “It’s not fair!” in three different languages.  

Kitchen.  The only other room in the house where teenagers spend as much time as their bedrooms.  They stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open, expecting the perfect snack to just jump into their mouths.  When it doesn’t, they announce accusingly, “You never buy anything good to eat!,” despite the fact that I get Christmas cards every year from Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, and Kellogg’s.

Laundry.  Teenage girls account for 80% of the laundry at our house.  They are completely incapable of hitting the hamper, however, being content to leave dirty laundry on the bathroom floor six inches from it (unless it’s a wet towel, in which case, I’ll find it stuffed in the hamper, three days later and smelling not at all like lemons).  The backup places for dirty laundry are either the family room or bedroom floor (see Bedroom).

Music.  Teenage girls “need” music to do anything, which would be fine if: a) what they were listening to was actually “music” and b) the volume wasn’t set to 200 decibels. 

“Nothing”.  What teenage girls say when you ask them what they did at school or what they’re upset about.  This is a complete lie…”nothing” is always “something,” and it’s usually BIG! 

Opinionated.  Teenage girls are never wishy-washy.  Either they “love” something, or it’s total “crap.”  There is no grey area.  And they never entertain the idea that their opinion could be incorrect.

Perfect.  When a teenage girl is leaving for school in the morning, everything has to be perfect: hair, makeup, clothes, and shoes.  If even one strand of hair dares to work its way out of the ponytail holder, the girl’s day is ruined. 

Questioning.  Do you recall when your child went through the “Why?” stage when they were three?  Well, it comes back when she becomes a teenager:  “I want you home by nine.”  “Why?”  “Turn down the stereo!”  “Why?”  There’s also: “Why can’t I have a tattoo of a pink unicorn?  Jessica has one!”

“Random”.  Two teenage girls can be having a deep conversation about lip gloss, and suddenly, one will say: “I think Cory likes me…do you think he likes me?”  The other will respond: “That was random!”

Sensitive.  Teenage girls take everything personally.  Never joke about their appearance, unless you want to spend another hour waiting for them while they change their entire outfit, and redo their hair.

Texting.  Our girls text, a lot.  The muscles in their thumbs are so strong, they could probably hang 20 lbs. of potatoes from each one without doing any physical damage.

Uncompromising.  See Opinionated.

Vacant Stare.  The look parents receive when telling teenage girls to do something they have no intention of doing.

Wishing.  Our teenage girls spend a lot of time wishing they had stuff that they don’t have (or better stuff).  I wish they would realize how lucky they are to have what they have!

X-Box.  This is the “game system” that our teenage girls use to play “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero.”  We like it when they do things together without arguing.

YouTube.  This is an online video site where teenage girls go to find “awesome” songs and cute boys.  Hope’s favourite singer, Justin Bieber, got his start on YouTube.

ZZZ’s.  Something teenage girls can never get enough of, especially in the morning when they’re supposed to be getting ready for school.  Apparently, they don’t need them much at night, when other people are sleeping…

I hope that if you’re lucky enough to have teenage girls, that you make it through those years with your sanity intact…for me, one down, three more to go!

Our teenage girls: Anna, Brianna and Hope...

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