As an older parent still raising a teenager, I find myself shaking my head a lot over the “less than common sense” things Younger Son does. At my age, I should be dispensing advice on how to raise grandchildren, not dealing with my own ongoing drama of living with a teen. Younger Son’s days consist of more drama than daytime soaps, which I don’t watch because I get enough drama from him. Aside from the “Friend One said that Friend Two told him that Hopefully Future Girlfriend’s Ex told Girlfriend’s BFF that she thought I was cute,” there are other traits that I have noticed from raising Older Son, along with two pre-made teens that came with Hubby, that appear to be common to teens. (Please excuse the last run-on sentence. My brain is in teen mode.)

For example, why does Younger Son have to get a clean glass to get a second (and third) drink of water within an hour’s time? It doesn’t matter to him. The dish fairy washes the dishes. He knows this because the dishes he leaves all over the house magically appear clean in the cupboard. He also leaves a tablespoon of juice in the juice carton, so we can’t tell that he drank the whole container that was supposed to last the whole family for a week, in one evening. He does the same thing with cookies and chips, leaving a bag filled with air and crumbs on the shelf. If he spills something, he feels the proper thing to do is exit the area quickly before someone accuses him of spilling something and asks him to clean it up, especially if it’s something that stains. Or pick up the ice cubes he dropped on the floor. At my age, slipping on ice could be fatal.

After reassuring us multiple times he has everything he needs for his band trip, church retreat, overnight away game, etc., he waits to reveal (at bedtime) the night before he is to leave that his uniform pants don’t fit. Oh, and by the way, he also needs new black shoes. This scenario is one repeated so often that one would think we, as parents, would be wiser—such as ascertaining he has everything he needs for his class project that is due tomorrow before bedtime. He also repeatedly tells us he did something we asked him to do until he remembers, oh, wait, maybe he forgot.

And why—I wish someone would enlighten me—is the bathroom floor always littered with clothing and used towels when a perfectly good clothes hamper is sitting right there for his convenience? While we are on the subject of towels, why is it that Hubby and I can use the same towel for a week by hanging it up on the towel rack designed for the purpose of drying used towels, whereas Younger Son (and the teens who preceded him) always store used towels on the bathroom floor? It’s not like we haven’t demonstrated the art of hanging a towel. But, like the dish fairy, we also have a laundry fairy at our house who picks up and magically restores soiled clothing and linens to a pristine state—unless, in the process of yanking a shirt from a hanger, the clean shirt next to it falls on the floor, where it will languish until the laundry fairy takes pity on it and either re-hangs or re-washes it.

The whole house is at Younger Son’s fingertips—literally. Worn clothing ends up wherever he sheds it. Food wrappers and drink containers (often half full) are discarded wherever he finishes with them. I don’t think he’s ever discovered the trash cans we have all over the house. Every surface, including the dining room table, coffee table, chairs, sofa, kitchen counters, beds, and dressers, are fair game to dump school work, sports equipment, grooming products, and anything else he can’t figure out where to put away. When he leaves items on the porch, he places them directly in the path from the steps to the driveway so elderly parents can trip over them and break their necks.

Sometimes, I think how dull our lives would be without Younger Son around to liven things up. Then I think dull might not be so bad.