Yesterday, while filling out a form online, I was asked for my birthdate. I entered the month, the day, and then moved my mouse over the year. My birth year was nowhere to be found. I hit the down arrow and started scrolling. I scrolled. And I scrolled. And I scrolled some more until I found the ancient, prehistoric year of 1970. I took this as an irrefutable sign that I am OLD. I lamented to my friends that I do not like this whole “scrolling to get to your birth year” business. We agreed that we are officially old, but we refuse to admit it to the world. These are the lengths we go to in order to prove we’re young parents (even though we know the truth!) …
1. We stay up late on New Year’s Eve.
Actually, let me rephrase that. We try to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. For those of us with little kids, that usually means passing out on the couch by 10PM while the kids run around, eat their weight in junk food, and watch inappropriate movies on TV. For those of us with older kids, it means passing out on the couch by 10PM until our older kids wake us up by taking pictures of us drooling in our sleep, and posting them on Instagram.
2. We ride all the roller coasters at the amusement park.
Living in Orlando, the theme park capital of the world, I have plenty of opportunities to frequent the parks. Every year I chaperone a bunch of 8th graders to Universal Studios for “Gradventure,” an evening where the park is closed to the outside, the kids get to stay until midnight, and the chaperones are given wristbands that enable them to go on the rides without waiting. Naturally, I feel the need to go on every coaster, multiple times all night. However, by the time I get home I literally have to crawl up the stairs on my knees because my feet hurt so badly and the following day I feel hung over and dizzy from staying up late and being turned upside down repeatedly.
3. We think we can jump on the trampoline with our kids.
They make it look so effortless. Unfortunately, we learn quickly that:
A. We lack the necessary bladder control for such an endeavor.
B. We have no discernible coordination.
C. We cannot get out of bed the following day.
4. We play on the floor.
We get out the Legos, Matchbox cars, and Barbies and get down to play alongside our kids. It’s fun. It’s a bonding experience. It’s quality time spent with our kids encouraging their imaginations. It’s painful. Our knees sound like Rice Krispies in milk when we get up off the floor.
5. We pretend to be helping our kids with their reading skills.
We tell the kids it’s reading practice when we have them read the pill bottle dosage information because the print is so small we can’t imagine they’re actual words, and not just tiny dots.
6. We try to keep up with the latest lingo, fad, and trends.
Unfortunately, teens change their minds about what’s cool and what’s not so often that it’s an impossible task. Who can keep track of all that? Whenever I try, my teens enjoy a hearty laugh (with accompanying eye roll) at my sheer ignorance of everything in the world.
7. We try to be cool and listen to our kids’ music.
We don’t understand it, we can’t make out the lyrics, we don’t know what happened to the bands we used to listen to when we were their age, and then we tell the kids to turn it down because it’s too loud. Of course, even though their music/tv/conversations are too loud, we have to ask them to repeat their sentences multiple times because we seem to be hard of hearing when they’re just talking to us.
8. We try to look young.
We color our gray hair and we try to dress as fashionably as possible (without disregarding comfort, of course) lest we’re asked if we’re the grandma when we pick our youngest child up from school. According to my teens, however, I’m no longer able to pull off “cool” clothes.
9. We try to do fun, exciting things.
We make plans for the weekend, but by the time Friday rolls around, we’re too tired to go out so we talk the kids into having “movie night” so we don’t have to do anything more strenuous than lie around in our pajamas, watching TV and drinking wine.
10. We eat garbage … then regret it.
We stay up watching movies, drinking wine, and eating popcorn and ice cream with our kids (the wine is just for us). And then we wake up in the middle of the night with heartburn and we awake in the morning, two sizes larger.
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