Thursday, December 30, 2004

conversations with a teenager

I have two children. David is 12, and still a human being. I may have mentioned that Samantha, who's 14, is... challenging. She is extremely bright, moody (surprise), stubborn, and has pretty significant attention deficit issues. Plus she's a teenager, which means she's self-absorbed, insecure, inconsistent, and often stressed out.

Anyway, Samantha is packing for a trip to Disneyland with her school choir. The bus leaves early the next morning. I'm checking in to make sure she’s getting along okay...

Dad: You’re taking 3 pairs of flipflops?
Samantha: Yeah. I need these black ones because they match, and the pink ones in case the green ones blow out.
Dad: I know, why don’t you take the cat carrier, too, in case you meet a stray cat at Disneyland and want to adopt it? Also your bicycle. And the weight bench -- you'll want to stay in shape, right? -- and probably your loft bed …
Samantha (grinning): Okay, and I think I’ll take that rollaway file cabinet as well.

But she still took 3 prs of flipflops.

Dad: I can bring you a backpack for your carryon stuff – which one do you want to take?
Samantha: The one I got at the spelling bee.
Dad (after 10 minutes of searching): Can’t find that one, but you can use this one [I present her with a pack exactly equivalent in size, looks, and functionality to the one she wanted].
Samantha: Isn’t this David’s old one?
Dad: Yeah, that’s why it’s good -- it’s small, that’s what you wanted…
Samantha: But… but… it’s David’s kindergarten one -- it’s ICKY.

Dad: You should put your toiletries, inhaler, medications, etc in your carryon bag instead of in your checked luggage.
Samantha: Why?
[Insert 10-minute conversation here, in which a 39-yr-old seasoned business traveler is just barely able to convince an almost-14-yr-old that he might have a good travel idea once in a while…]
Dad: You should also put in an extra T-shirt, and a pair of underwear.
Dad: In case they lose your luggage, then you can survive one night without having to wear dirty clothes.
Samantha: I don’t want to pull open my backpack and have underwear fly out.
Dad: So wrap them in the T-shirt.
Samantha: No, give me some tape.

And we end up with the backup underwear scotch-taped into a tiny wad the size of a golf ball. No one will accuse her of being a blind follower...

When the kids were small, we used to make them lay out their clothes on the floor the night before a trip or other early-morning event. We called it “making a little girl/boy on the floor” because it's easy for kids to be sure you they've remembered everything if they lay the clothes out in the shape of a person. Anyway...

Dad: So where’s your girl on the floor?
Samantha: I KNOW how to dress myself in the morning.
Dad: I know you do, but that’s not the point. You just want to have everything ready so you don’t have to look for anything in the morning.
Samantha: I’m not three years old, you know.
Dad: Just make sure you have everything laid out, okay? Look, I made a list for you...
Samantha (reading): Shirt, jeans, bra… BRA? YOU’RE OBSESSED WITH BRAS!
Dad: What? What are you talking about? I don’t care about your bra. The point is that you want to have everything prepared.
Samantha: Yeah, way to change the subject to get out of that one...


At Fri Dec 31, 10:03:00 AM PST, Blogger No_Newz said...

It is clear to me that Samantha is 100% right all of the time. Geez! And that tiny wad the size of a golf ball, too funny!
Tell that girl I think she rocks!
Lois Lane


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