People are always fawning over babies. Oh, what a sweet, snuggly, little angel. I can’t wait for one of my friends to have a baby. I need my baby fix! But not me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, babies are great, and I was smitten with mine from day one, but — looks around to see who will hear, preparing to dodge tomatoes — I’m not a baby person. Through every age and stage, I’ve enjoyed my kids more and more. The older they’ve become, the more I like being with them. Where some people want to get their hands on a baby and sniff their sweet little head, I would rather get my hands on a teenager.
Okay, wait. That totally didn’t come out right. Let me try again.
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Some people croon about wanting to go back in time and relive those precious baby moments, but I’d rather stay right here where I am with my two teenagers. Here’s why:
1. They’re funny.
Here are a few examples of things they’ve said lately:
Puns and sarcasm! Yesss!
Intellectual humor! I love it!
I’m sure he’ll win over his chemistry teacher this fall when he tells this one!
He was clearly on a roll.
2. They don’t watch “Dora” or “Caillou.”
Some kids’ shows aren’t so bad, but others (I’m looking at you, Barney) made me want to jam ice picks into my ears.
3. They sleep.
Teenagers sleep a lot — ’til noon sometimes — which means I sleep. It’s wonderful.
4. They feed and dress themselves.
5. They do chores, and it’s actually helpful when they do.
The preschool-aged daughter of a friend of mine helped him wash his new car. With a rock. Not helpful at all, but he did have a forever reminder of her sweet and generous nature, right? Unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, running the vacuum, dusting, weeding, and mowing — all legit chores my teens do around the house.
6. No diaper bag needed.
Do I have enough diapers? Wipes? Snacks? Medicine? Changes of clothes? Blankets? Toys? Yeah, I have all of the none of those things. Thank you, Baby Jesus.
7. A quick trip to the store with them is exactly that — a quick trip.
No potty stops. No need to wander through the toy aisle. No tantrums because they really want the teddy bear-shaped crackers. And, sometimes, when we’re really in a hurry in the grocery, we split up the list, get what we need, and meet back at the register. So completely awesome.
8. They’re self-sufficient in the bathroom.
I honestly don’t miss wiping other people’s bottoms — at all.
9. They hold their own barf bowl.
No more catching vomit in my hands. Hallelujah! And, not long ago, when my boy wasn’t feeling well at 2 a.m., he came into my room to get me but saw that I was sleeping and “looked so sweet,” so he just left and handled it himself. Now if that doesn’t make him my favorite, I don’t know what will!
10. They pack their own bag for an overnight trip or vacation.
And if they forget any of the essentials, it’s considered a good lesson in real life consequences. One of my kids forgot underwear for a weekend trip. It was a little smelly awkward, but everyone survived. And no one’s forgotten undies since! (Knock on wood.)
11. They understand sarcasm.
Not only do they understand it, they speak it — fluently (see No. 1). That’s a pretty big deal since that’s arguably my native language.
12. They have deep thoughts…
…which lead to some pretty epic and noteworthy conversations. Whether we’re discussing the solar system, politics, reality TV, or religion, it’s interesting. And my kids have opinions about the world. It’s absolutely fantastic to listen to them talk about how they see the world.
13. They take showers — without assistance.
As much fun as it used to be wrangling slippery, squirmy kids who seemed to think it was their job to splash water into every nook and cranny in the bathroom, I’m happy to let them shower on their own.
14. They sleep in.
Did I mention that already? That’s okay. It’s worth a second mention. Because sleeeeeeeeeep!
15. They don’t poop in their clothes as we’re heading out the door.
I mean, seriously! I can’t even count how many times I was scurrying out the door, just barely on time (or let’s be honest, running late) and then I smelled it. Or worse, felt it, because it went all the way up their back. I swear, the later I was, the more explosive the diaper. Screw you, Murphy, and your damn laws too!
16. They don’t watch Disney movies on a loop.
I like Disney movies, don’t get me wrong. And we still see most all of them in the theater when they come out. But we don’t need to buy the DVDs and watch them a millionty-billionty times in a row.
17. They give you privacy in the bathroom.
No more peeing with an audience. No answering questions about bodily functions. No discussions of genitals for boys and girls. Just peace and quiet.
18. Going to the movies is enjoyable for EVERYONE!
My girl and I recently saw Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and Tammy. My husband and our boy went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, Spiderman, and Robocop. I’ve seen more movies in the last year — that I want to see — than possibly in all the years leading up to their teens combined.
19. I don’t have to censor my swearing.
I’ve cashed in my G-rated expletives like “Stink,” “Shipwreck,” and “Crabnuggets” (thank you, Megamind) for the good stuff — because let’s be honest: “Crud!” just doesn’t pack the punch that a good ol’ F-bomb tirade does.
And at the end of the day, I really think TLC should equip my dining room with cameras and turn our dinner convos into a show. Seriously, TLC, call me.