Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things That Chap My Ass About Kids

Where to start with this one?

Really, where to start?

Kid’s you love them, you do (just go with me on this one). But, by all that is holy, they try your nerves, don’t they?

Seriously, I’m pretty sure if there weren’t laws to the contrary, damned few teenagers would make it to adulthood. Robert Heinlein once said that kids should be raised in a sack, if they turn out decent you could let them out once they reach adulthood, otherwise you tie it off and put it out on the corner for the trash pickup. I’m paraphrasing, but really, that sounds like a damned fine idea to me.

(Yes, I can hear my parents laughing right now. Yes, I can. But unless they want to see a post entitled “Things that chap my ass about old people” they better keep that shit to themselves.)

Seriously here, a 12-year old boy has to be ordered to change his clothes. Ordered. I don’t know about girls, but a 12-year old boy will wear the same sweatshirt every single day until it is nothing but a sleeveless stiffened filthy rag held together by a few rotten threads. A 12-year old boy will wear the same pair of underwear and socks for a week straight – and yet still manage to end up with enough filthy clothes in the weekly laundry to equip an entire grunge concert. How is that possible? It defies comprehension.

Let’s talk hygiene, shall we? In addition to the clothing issue mentioned in the previous paragraph, a 12-year old boy has to be ordered with threats of violence to take a daily shower. A dog washes itself without being told, A cat washes itself. Hell, a rat washes itself – a 12-year old boy doesn’t even have the instinct for personal hygiene that a filthy plague carrying rodent has. Now it’s not enough to tell a kid to take a shower. Kids will obey the letter of the law, not the spirit. It’s not enough to tell him to get in the shower, you have to specifically tell him to wash too. Everything? Yes, everything. With soap? Yes, with soap. Do I have to wash my hair? Yes. Do I have to scrub my ears? Yes. And etc, all the way down to the toes. This nightly litany is, of course, a complete waste of time. Kids have a short term memory system based on the single-address FIFO buffer concept, i.e. First In, First Out. Kids only remember the last thing you told them, and sometimes not even that. By the time you get to feet, kids have completely forgotten that you told them to wash their hair. You get one or the other – which is why kids always smell funny on at least one end.

Now, for somebody who hates to wash, a 12-year old is obsessed with hair. Every morning it’s like The Fonz has taken up residence in my bathroom, Aaaaaay! Combing and wetting and combing and patting and combing and…argh! Come on, we’re going to be late! Just one more minute, I can’t get my hair to stop curling up. What are you a girl? Shutup! And then? After twenty minutes of this? Yeah, he puts on a watch cap. Every goddamned morning.

And speaking of arguments (see how I segued right into that? Smooth, huh?). You don’t speak with a teenager, you argue with one. Endlessly. How was your day at school? Why are you always me asking that?! Well, I was interested. Well, I hate it when you ask me that every day. Why? Did something bad happen? No, I had a great day. Then why didn't you just say so? Why are you yelling at me? I’m not! Every goddamned afternoon.

The daily argument follows a predictable path. Subsequent to the “how was your day” bit comes the “Sigh, there’s nothing to eat!” routine. There’s all kinds of stuff to eat, the pantry is full, the fridge is full, the counters are covered in stuff, we’ve got enough food to feed an army. Hell, I have an entire moose cut up in pieces in the freezer. We’ve got food. Have some chips. I don’t want chips. Have an apple. I don’t want fruit. Make a sandwich. I don’t want a stupid sandwich. Have one of those frozen yoghurt things you made me buy. I don’t like those. Well, you can’t be that hungry, stop standing there with the fridge door open. Fine, I’ll have some chips then, but this weekend we need to get some real food. What kind of food? I dunno, the real kind! Every goddamned afternoon.

Kids have no attention span. None. ADHD isn’t a disorder, it’s the normal state of being for a 12-year old. You know what the two most common words a kid says are? “I’m bored.” Between about ten and eighteen, a kid probably says “I’m bored” a least a million times. I’m bored. Play your playstation. I don’t have any good games. Watch TV. There’s nothing good on. Go ride your bike. Naw, there’s nobody to ride with. Go ride your skateboard. No, I don’t feel like it. How about you unload the dishwasher? I’m busy playing my playstation right now! Yeah, I thought so.

Speaking of the dishwasher, a 12-year boy can get every single dish and glass in the house dirty in less than 30 seconds. They're like little Houdinis. Now, when I wave my wand, every single glass in the house, including the beer mugs you keep in the freezer, will have a glob of crud drying in the bottom of it. Presto Chango, Viola!

There’s more, oh there is so much more. But I think I’ll go take a nap before he gets home from school.

And aspirin, I think I’ll take a couple of aspirin.

Tell me what chaps your ass about kids.


  1. -Do you want a cheeseburger?
    -I don't like melted cheese.
    -But you love pizza, it's got melted cheese.
    -So, how about that cheeseburger.
    -I don't like melted cheese.

    And she's only 4!

  2. Good job, Konstantin, now she doesn't like pizza either.

    It's the law of unintended consequences.

  3. Well, there's kids in New York right? Some of them have to be chapping your ass.

  4. Dear All The Wright Moves,

    I just gave my kid a stick and some rocks and let him loose in the yard and he's happy, never bored, respectful, clean, and a healthy eater... I get a little arguing back and forth sometimes, but nothing serious. He hates having to have a cell phone, fast food, can't stand watching TV, and he likes to go to school early so he can work out by doing laps around the building. He loves to read all kinds of books.

    What am I doing wrong?


    Fathering in Fairbanks

    PS - other kids chap my ass - mostly when they talk smack to their folks...

  5. Dear Befuddled in Fairbanks,

    Your child has been replaced with a pod person.

    You lucky bastard.

    Signed, Rightstuff.

  6. Ah, the hygiene arguments.

    I remember them well.

    I'm sorry, Jim, but your 12 year old is in no way unique in this respect. Every parent of every boy I've ever met had this trouble.

    Want to end it? Follow these instructions:

    Have Mrs. Stonekettle Station (must be her - not you) make the following threat:

    "If you don't start taking a shower on a daily basis without being told, including washing all your body parts with no fudging, the next time I catch you being grungy I will bathe you. Just like I did when you were a baby. Think I'm kidding? Try me."

    The flip side, of course, is that if Zippy the Pinhead shows up grungy, she must be prepared to follow through.

    I never had to follow through.

    Other kid related things that chap my ass:
    - Telling the 18 year old boy-child to do his chores. The same chores he's been responsible for for the last 6 years.
    - Listening to a child complain about how tired they are when I know they've been up half the night texting.
    - Being told how hard they've been working at their school work, and then looking at the cell phone bill to discover 6,000 text messages in a month. Working hard, there, Zippy. You bet.
    - My personal favorite: Opinions on complex topics that, when challenged, reveal a complete lack of knowledge on the topic at hand.

    I could go on for days, really.

  7. "Why did you just scratch your sister on the face again ? Now she's got another of those ugly scars !"
    "Did I do that ?"

    Which is his answer for everything he does that horrifies me to the point where I wonder if he needs to see a professional (the boy is only 6, his sister 8, and she currently has 4 massive scratches on her face, including one that has been there for two months because it was so deep).

    I love those children because most of the time the evil in them is well hidden, but I'm really glad they are not mine.
    Anyone saying that children are "the picture of innocence" obviously never met one in their life (or at least one that wasn't faking to obtain whatever they wanted).

    I'm not even going to start on teenagers, because I would still be there tomorrow.
    I hated being a teenager because already back then I thought they were all a bunch of idiotic-hormonal-devil spawn.
    Somehow my point of view on this has only got worse since I've been out of those terrible years (but at least now I can avoid meeting any of them).

    One of my teacher used to have this fantastic theory (which works) of giving children/teenagers three choices at all time, including two that they consider absolutely horrendous. This way they can't complain about not having a choice (because god knows what a bunch of whiners they can be) and yet they still have to do exactly what you wanted them to.
    So far, in 10 years of working with children, the technique has never failed me :p.

  8. I feel you pain Jim...every single point! Here are a few of my own to add...

    1. Why is it that the teenager will go out of his way to help his Papa, the elderly lady next door and every other senior person on the block, but if i ask him to pick up his socks...I AM UNREASONABLE? I AM ALWAYS ASKING HIM TO DO STUFF?

    I am of the opinion that you live here, you help here. OR I will charge you fees for the services that you are unwilling to help with.

    2. YOU are NOT an adult, or a parent. STOP trying to behave like one when it come to your sister. You are BOTH children in this house. Your father and i are the parnents...let us parent.

    3. I expect a phone call so I know where you are. DO NOT make me install GPS tracking in your underware. One phone call. And while we are on the subject..NO you may not have a cell phone. I don't care that all of the kids in your class have one. Use a pay phone, a phone at your friends house, or Hell, one of the cell phones that ALL of your friends have...since they ALL have them, there should be no reason why you are never NOT near a phone.

    Ok, i feel better now.

  9. Stupid typos.
    Stupid keyboard.
    I am at the University and I hate their keyboards!!

    Sorry for the typos above

  10. Jim,

    Your head is so going to explode when you get an *actual* teenager.

    Just sayin'

  11. BTW,

    I meant to mention that the line about them always smelling funny at one end or the other was a classic.

    (better you than me.)

  12. YOU are NOT an adult, or a parent. STOP trying to behave like one when it come to your sister.

    Ooh! Ooh! I like that one, too! Especially when you talk about what a fabulous job you're doing in your life and then turn around and pull an epic fail! Yeah, you're the Man.

  13. turn around and pull an epic fail! Yeah, you're the Man.

    Janiece, applying the patented get 'em down and keep 'em down sarcasm mom parenting technique, I see. Heh.

    What's with those books? Things to expect with a newborn? I read that stupid book a dozen times, nowhere in there did it say "You will be covered in baby shit at least two times a week for the first year."

    Stupid worthless book.

  14. Janiece, applying the patented get 'em down and keep 'em down sarcasm mom parenting technique, I see. Heh.

    Bite your tongue. I do my eye-rolling in private.

  15. I do my eye rolling right out in pubic, it's not like the kid is paying attention anyway

  16. Pubic eyerolling? Around your kid? That's just wrong, man. Wrong...

    ::high fives Nathan::

    No kids!

    But you know what? The kids I work with are pretty cool. It's their parents and teachers that make me bugfuck crazy and do things like quit my job.

    Oh. Yeah. I gave notice at my job. May 1 is my last day.

  17. The only difference between a 12 year old girl and a 12 year old boy is hygiene. At least my daughter takes showers, generally without any prodding.

    But the food arguments, the "I'm bored" comments... Lord, have mercy on me because I am going to hurt her.

    I'd offer to trade but I did the boy thing and three girls is a piece o'cake after that.


  18. I am so NOT looking forward to adolescence. Once was bad enough. Thanks for reminding me.

  19. Cassie, I have a boy and a girl, and the boy was SO MUCH EASIER.

    Kids are Weird.

    And Tanya will be unemployed! Yay?


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