What my teens did this week to make me want to give upSometimes my kids get on my nerves. Yes, yes, yes, OF COURSE I love the little blighters but whether it’s the full moon, hormones or maybe just because I’m getting old and grumpy, there are weeks when I want to run screaming for the hills. This was one of those weeks. Here’s what the kids did.

1. They used up valuable fridge real estate

We get through 27 litres of milk a week (I know, a cow in the backyard would be cheaper) so space in the fridge is at a premium. Putting bottles back in the fridge is to be applauded BUT NOT IF THEY ARE EMPTY.

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2. They put clean clothes in their washing baskets

The life cycle of the laundry pile in our household goes something like this. I wash, dry and fold Mount Washmore. I put the clean items in their rooms. They move this pile from desk, to bed, to floor and (here’s the clincher) back to the washing basket because they can’t be bothered to put their clothes away. I once revolted by insisting they did their own washing. After three weeks, the eldest asked me what you were supposed to put in the washing machine drawer…

3. They needed to be surgically removed from their headphones

I resent headphones being used in general areas of the family home almost as much as I resent being subjected to constant Minecraft commentary. This makes things a tad tricky, but not as tricky as watching them attempt to unpack the dishwasher, vacuum or cook themselves some eggs one-handed while the other hand holds their iPhone in order for them to continue watching YouTube. Not that they can hear me pointing out that it’s taking them twice as long to accomplish anything because they can’t hear me. Which brings me back to the headphones impasse.

4. They left a herd of empty loo rolls on the bathroom floor

Leaning forward a whole 48 cm while on the loo (I know it’s 48 cm because I’m sad enough to have measured it) in order to grab another loo roll from the cupboard is manageable. But putting it on the loo roll holder is not – apparently. Taking the empty loo roll off said loo roll holder is manageable. Putting empty loo roll in the bin (also 48 cm away). Not manageable. So they leave the cardboard husks on the floor. Repeatedly. Until there’s a whole herd of them.

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5. They left the family Facebook Messenger group

In a bid to encourage communication, I set up a family messenger group on Facebook so we could swap banter throughout the day. The eldest was a member for all of 20 minutes before he exited stage left. Middle child swiftly followed. I felt like I’d been slapped.

6. They used crampons to climb the stairs, rather than take stuff up

I am the only one in the family to take stuff up if it’s left on the stairs despite everyone else knowing the not-so-secret signal ie., if there’s something on the stairs, it needs to go up. So I took the decidedly grown-up, passive aggressive route to pointing out the error of their ways by building a stuff mountain. ‘That’ll teach ‘em,’ I thought. Naïve fool, that I am. No, it didn’t teach them a thing, other than at their age they are still remarkably lithe – as evidenced by this picture of middle child climbing over the pile.

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7. They argued over teaspoons

The rule is that whoever doesn’t cook, has to wash up after dinner. Considering there’s a dishwasher, the actual washing up involved is minimal. That did not stop the kids arguing long and loud over who had washed the most teaspoons. I wish I could tell you that it was more complex than that and that it was invigorating listening to them pitting their wits against each other. But it wasn’t and it wasn’t. It did, however, do my head in.

8. They referred to girls as ‘chicks’

Unless it’s being said by Kennicki in Grease, I can not cope with the use of the word ‘chicks’ to describe girls. It sets my teeth on edge and causes the same reaction that scone pronounced with a long ‘o’ has on my central nervous system. It short circuits. I realise that this may be yet another sign that I am not down with the kidz. Mostly I realise this because the boys tell me so.

9. They used clean, white towels to mop the bathroom floor

Not bothering to put the bath mat down and not bothering to shut the shower door while taking a shower equated to a flood that would have put Noah to shame. The not bothering theme continued by not bothering to use the mop to clean up despite specific instructions from me which included the words ‘use’, ‘the’ and ‘mop’. Too ambiguous? This pains me, particularly as I had just put out fresh white towels a mere half hour beforehand.

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10. They accused me of not being clear

One of the many things that living in a house of boys teaches you is that you have to be specific when issuing instructions. If not, you run the very real risk of a job only being half done. ‘Can you take the dog out please?’ may well mean to you that you’d like the dog to be taken for a walk but to my boys, it could very well mean ‘I would like you to put the dog outside the back door.’ When I asked the middle child to bring the bins back in on garbage day and he brought the as yet unemptied, bins in too (leaving us with enough recycling and rubbish for another week to make anyone think we were celebrating Christmas early), it was my fault for ‘not being clear enough’. I repeat, MY fault.

But then the youngest made me a cup of tea and volunteered a foot rub without being asked. The middle child gave me the biggest, tightest, beariest hug a 6′ 3″ teenager can give without being asked. And the eldest built a fire in the yard so we could star gaze that night. Without being asked. And just like that I melted and giving up was no longer an option.

What are your kids up to this week?

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Top image: Getty / All other images: Ruth Devine