Why my teenage daughters are like my annoying college room mate
I have a daughter who is in 12th grade, and that means that the month of March is fraught, big time. These last few weeks a deluge of college decisions has landed in the 12th graders’ email inboxes. They’re sharing their acceptances to Instagram, crying over rejections in the high school hallways and trying not to read too much into one decision while others are still pending. (But of course, we are all trying to figure out if there’s a meaning to this merit scholarship or that wait list that can apply to as-yet-unknown fates at those universities who haven’t let her know whether she’s in or not.)
This year, we have the added drama of the dozens of parents arrested in the college admissions scam a few weeks ago. We didn’t (and couldn’t — have you seen the cost of tuition these days?!?!?) buy our daughter’s way into college. But we’re not so confident in this byzantine system of college placement that we haven’t joked that we’d like the scammers’ number once he posts bail.
Having said all that, whatever her decision is, my daughter is ready for one thing: being the quintessential annoying roomie. You know the one: you loved her and could never quite mention these little quirks that kind of drove you mad.
The truth is, the idea that she was annoying roomie material came to me a few years ago, and she’s made some very helpful adjustments not because I ever complained ( though I will cop to some passive-aggressive strategies, like mentioning this topic for a future blog post) but because her younger siblings’ annoying roomied her right out of many trying habits. So what’s so college roomie about these kids? To wit:
The Toaster Oven Steal
Say every morning, you set your alarm so that you can get chicken nuggets that take 25 minutes to bake in the toaster oven for a kid’s lunch. Say you come down to the kitchen to the smell of chicken nuggets and realize that there are just enough for another person’s breakfast (I know, why breakfast? that’s a whole other post). And the timer tells you they need another 15 minutes. Too late to add more nuggets, too soon to take these out. That my friends, is a toaster oven steal. And you thought she was just trying to be more like mom when she asked what time you set your alarm!
Sanitary Napkin disposal tutorial NEEDED!
Yeah. We have three daughters. (And a son, but again, that’s another blog post). So there’s a time of the month situation that is notable because the bathroom trash cans are sooo close to the not quite sealed maxi pads. This one is not on my 12th grader, but the ladies in the house need to be more precise and roll that wrapper a little tighter and stick that little sticker a little more. All those registered for “sanitary napkin disposal 101” blew off the class or spent the entire time with their eyes on the ceiling saying or clearly thinking Moooooooom.!!!!! As they are probably doing right now if they dared to read this post.
TP replacement skills that of a 4 year old
I have mentioned that the kids did go through a boot camp of sorts in the mid to late aughts, as they became reliably potty trained and had the small motor skills to avoid pinching themselves on the toilet paper bar. Alas. everyone failed. Repeatedly. I think I misspoke when I said they have the TP replacement skills of a 4 year old. They have no TP replacement skills at all.
Texts when I am talking
It’s possible they never have heard me say “clean up” or “start your homework now” or “don’t leave the bathroom with no toilet paper” or the insightful, funny, meaningful and heartfelt soliloquies that come after. Their eyes aren’t downcast so I won’t see they are welling up! They have their phones hidden under the kitchen counter! I don’t know how I would ever have gotten through our fall “Roomie Rulezzzz” (It was the 90s, repetition of the letter z was in) if there had been cell phones then!
Talks while I am texting
There’s no way I have any idea what you’re talking about if Denise is insulting me and I have to remind her she was at my wedding. This now sounds like a really good argument for the kids to use if I complain they are texting. Also if their room mates complain. So let’s call it even. Or maybe I gave them a helpful future roommate managing tip there!
Texts me from school like I’m her same-age friend
This one I heart eyes smiley face emoji! I know she texts me as a way to avoid feeling alone sometimes, but sometimes she really just wants to spill some tea. This one is not actually annoying and I don’t ever want to be replaced by a college roomie!
The Mexican Standoff
We each assume that the other left the salsa out and it will stay there till it rots before one of us gives in. Also applies to almost empty water bottles, protein powder spills near the blender and the eternal font of mom hope, things left on the stairs. It’s probably better they don’t have stairs in most dorm rooms. Though who would put something there for someone els to take?
Asks me for advice on her outfit
Never takes it. (Also always looks way cooler than I ever did at her age. Or ever.)
The truth is, I love her with all my heart and I don’t care about any of these things. I’ll miss her to pieces when she lives somewhere else! I’m kind of jealous of her college roomie. So she can stick it to them with a good old toaster oven steal. NBD.