Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Hope You Dance

When my daughter was born, my mother gave her a beautiful book and CD set of Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." It's a lovely country song that voices all the aspirations we have for our daughters, starting with "I hope you never lose your sense of wonder," and "Never take one single breath for granted," then repeating several times "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Like most little girls, my daughter loved twirling. She'd spread her arms wide, throw her head back and spin and spin and spin. We have countless pictures of her laughing merrily as she watched the world go round. Eventually, she came to understand that dancing and music were related and she choreographed a signature move that we called, 'the elbow dance.' It was a rhythmic upper body back-and-forth motion that could be adapted to pretty much any musical genre from rock to jazz to her favorite songs in Disney cartoons.

When she was four, I enrolled her in a dance class. One afternoon a week, her nanny would drop her off and I'd head home from work early enough to pick her up (and, if I was lucky, catch the last few minutes of the class from the parent viewing area). She stayed in the dance school three years, which meant three separate recitals. We still have the costumes: a sweet pink and green fairy the first year; then bright purple velvet and sequins the second; and silver lamé with pink feathers the third. Between the juvenile stripper attire and all the stage make-up, my daughter and her classmates could have held their own on "Toddlers and Tiaras." All things come to an end, however, and by the time she was seven, my daughter was no longer a girly-girl. She'd abandoned dance (and swimming and gymnastics) for horseback riding. Despite the costumes (and associated costs), I was sorry to see her stop.

In my own youth, dance played an important role. My sister and I studied at the prestigious New York School of Ballet, under the strict tutelage of Barbara Fallis, former New York City Ballet soloist and mother of Richard (John-Boy Walton) Thomas. It was all very serious and we dutifully showed up each session in our pale pink tights and black leotards, hair pulled back in an unshakable bun. Soon, it became apparent that I wasn't going to have a career in ballet (I'd like to blame my hyperextended elbows but I fear a severe lack of balletic talent is the real cause). So, I turned away from the barre and moved into musical theatre. I was a triple threat: acting, singing and dancing, but the latter was always my weakest link. Still, I held my own and in college, I took so many studio classes that I qualified for a minor in dance. Finally, as a young working adult, Jazzercise and Step Aerobics filled my need to move (it was the big 80s, after all).

Dance also appears in the mythology my husband and I have woven together. We were coworkers and attending a big marketing meeting in Sandusky, Ohio. I was being harassed by one of our company's regional marketing directors — the man was all over me at the hotel bar and I didn't know how to get away. My then colleague (eventually boyfriend and now husband) stepped in and rescued me. "You owe me a dance," he said as he literally swept me out from under my lecherous suitor and onto the dance floor. He ran interference for me the rest of the week. It was all very knight in shining armor. Later as we became friends and eventually lovers, we compared notes about favorite hobbies and activities. "I like to go out dancing," I told him. "So do I," he asserted. This is proof that when you're falling for someone, you're willing to stretch the truth to make them like you. For the record, my husband didn't like dancing then ... and doesn't like dancing now.

Eventually, we married and moved to a little seaside town north of Boston. I became busy; I became pregnant. Except for the occasional wedding or bar mitzvah, dance sort of fell by the wayside.

Then, two years ago, I discovered Zumba. Zumba's philosophy is "Ditch the workout, join the party!" Choreographed to a fusion of Latin and international music, the classes are a terrific way to burn calories and have fun. More recently, I've fallen in love with Nia. This combination of eastern martial arts and modern dance is also a tremendous workout. But, the emphasis is on the joy of movement and on listening to and honoring your individual body. While I'm often one of the oldest women in my Zumba class, Nia tends to attract a more mature crowd. There are women of every shape and size and we are all there to "dance as if no one is watching."

A couple of weeks ago, two college students joined our class. They were gorgeous with big blue eyes, light brown hair and long, lean bodies. They wore running shorts and tank tops, while the rest of us were in oversized tee shirts and sweat pants. And, here's the remarkable thing. The girls were younger than any of us ... by at least a couple of decades. They were absolutely better looking by any conventional standard. Thinner, taller, tanner. But, they were so self-conscious. While we stretched and extended and leaped around the studio, the girls kept their limbs close into their bodies. We closed our eyes and let the music take us where it would. They watched themselves in the mirror and they were too embarrassed to move.

Here's what I think. Someday, they'll look back and remember just how beautiful, buoyant and gravity-defying their bodies were. Perhaps, as I do, they'll shake their heads and think like so many before them that "Youth is wasted on the young."

Then, I hope, they'll turn up the music, throw their heads back, take their fallen assets, and start twirling.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The 30-Second Rule

Words. I like them. I really do.

I like using them. I like combining them into clever phrases, stringing them together in complex sentences with descriptive color commentary (and wry asides). Back in college, I was an English and Drama double major so I respect the power of both the written and the spoken word. For more than half my life, I've worked as a professional writer and when I'm not getting paid for my prose, I can usually be found reading thick books, scribbling furiously in my journal, crafting cultural pieces for a wonderful online magazine Women's Voices for Change, or blogging right here.

Yes, I like words. Words are my friends. As far as I'm concerned, the more words, the better.

However, when it comes to using words to help you mother a tween? Less is definitely more.

As much as I treasure thoughtful, logical conversations with my daughter, these days they are few and far between. Her life is moving forward at a lightning pace and she's juggling summer plans, schoolwork, riding lessons, music, fashion, gossiping with her BFFs. Sitting down for a heart-to-heart with her Mamacita just isn't at the top of her list. Let's face it, it's not on her list at all.

The terrible tweens are much like the terrible twos. At both stages, the aforementioned "terrible" is caught between stages developmentally. They are longing for independence but still require guidance and support (as well as food, shelter and Abercrombie gift cards). And, they need definitive instructions from you — yes this, no that. Not drawn-out requests and explanations.

Consider this all-too-familiar scenario ...

Mother (loving, well-meaning, hard-working, looks pretty good for her age) enters her tween daughter's room. Room is in disarray. (Surprise.) Daughter (sullen, bored, wise beyond her years, but cute nonetheless) is texting on her iPhone. (I repeat ... Surprise.) Prior to the adoption of the 30-second rule, the resulting mother-daughter dialogue might have run something like this ...

Mother: Honey? The So-and-so's are coming for dinner tonight. Can you please clean your room this afternoon?

Daughter: Uh-huh (continues texting)

Mother: It's really a disaster area, sweetie. If you'd just put your clean clothes away and put the dirty ones in the hamper, it would help. You can't even see the top of your desk; no wonder you couldn't find your notes for the science final. And, all those earrings on your night table? The backs are going to get lost again.

Daughter: Okay, okay (continues texting)

Mother: Could you just put the deodorant and the hairbrush back in the cabinet after you use them? Hang up your towels, all right? And, your bed isn't going to make itself. You know, I had to go to four different websites to find those pillow cases. I try to make it special for you and you just don't seem to care about it.

Daughter: Whatever (continues, you guessed it, texting)

Mother: I know you think I'm a neat freak, but as long as you're living under my roof, you have to do this one small thing for me, okay? You're a citizen of this family and we all work together to make a nice home. Just think how lucky we are to live here. A lot of girls your age don't have such a beautiful big room. I know I would have given anything for a room this nice when I was your age. Will you please just straighten it up for me?

Daughter: Sure, sure, in two minutes.

Having finally run out of things to say, the mother retreats. She returns forty (as opposed to the promised two) minutes later to find that the daughter is no longer texting. Now, she's on Facebook. The room is exactly as it was. Exactly. The mother, who is now stressed-out, tired and frustrated as well as loving, well-meaning and hard-working, repeats many of the same arguments only this time her voice is raised. And, so is her blood pressure.

Consider now, the same situation with the application of the 30-second rule.

Mother: Please clean up your room ...

Daughter: Uh-huh

Mother: ... now.

Chances are, the daughter will object and point out that she is texting. But a 30-second mom will tell her firmly that she must stop texting until the room is clean. At this point, the daughter will add age-appropriate sound effects and physical displays, such as eye-rolling and exaggerated shoulder shrugging. The 30-second mom will stand her ground. She will not waste precious moments talking and talking and talking, and thereby undermining her own authority. She knows her daughter and if the case warrants it, she will actually take the iPhone away until the room is clean.

Basically, any instruction (clean your room, set the table, do your homework, take the dog for a walk) should be delivered in as few words as civilly possible; "Please" and "Thank you" don't take long to say. Without all the begging and pleading, cajoling and justifying, the house will be quieter, calmer and arguably cleaner.

And, just think of the time you'll save. You and your tween can use those extra minutes for meaningful, memorable mother-daughter bonding.

Ummm ... Or not.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Embarrass Your Tween

"Memories ... light the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories of the way we were."

Sing it, Barbra!

Some of my fondest memories revolve around the times when (as in, "way back when") I was still the apple of my daughter's eye. Like the handful of afternoons I was able to leave work early and pick her up at preschool. Her face lit up; she raced across the room and jumped into my open arms. Or, the times she asked me to chaperone her class trips, happily walking hand-in-hand through an afternoon of apple picking, museums and historic walking tours. All the kisses, the hugs, the public displays of affection.

Ah, yes — audible sigh — the way we were ...

Back to reality. My darling daughter is thirteen and these days, it isn't just that I'm not invited to go on class trips ... I'm absolutely, positively and in no uncertain terms forbidden to even sign up.

Persona non gratis ... that would be me. Sometimes, it really hurts.

However, I have a secret weapon, one that gives me the upper hand, one that I am not afraid to use. And, one that my daughter is completely and oh-so-painfully aware of. I have the ability to publicly, perpetually and permanently embarrass her.

If you're the mom of a tween, you too have this awesome power. But with great power comes great responsibility. We need not use this gift to feel its effect. In my experience, the mere threat of some public parental humiliation is enough to keep the targeted tween in line.

Here are my top five sure-fire ways to embarrass your tween:

5. Be positive and supportive ... out loud, in public

She may not admit it, but your tween really does want your love and support. But, "Hello? Only in private. Duh!" It's easy to embarrass her when you choose to proclaim your devotion out in the open. For example, when your tween leaves the car outside school, wait a beat and then yell "Have a great day, honey! I'm so proud of you!" Customize the embarrassment with specifics, like "Break a leg at the audition this afternoon, sweetie!" Or, "Good luck on your social studies test, sugar-pot! I know you'll make a hundred!"

4. Post mushy mom notes on her Facebook page

Online social media has opened up a whole new world of tween embarrassment. Let's see ... You can post revealing baby pictures "I see England, I see France, I see someone's underpants." Offer up digital relationship advice, "If you-know-who asks you to go to the dance, don't say 'yes' right away." Comment on her friends' comments or — worse — correct their typos. Or simply put your love for her out there for all to see; after all, your nickname for her may be "Munch" (short for "Munchkin"), but her 303 friends don't need to know. Sheesh!

3. Help her try on clothes at the mall

Your tween daughter may ask you to take her shopping. But, she's not really interested in your opinions; she just wants a chauffeur and a credit card. If this becomes too frustrating, there are several ways to make the shopping trip uncomfortable. You can insist on joining her in the dressing room. You can insist that she come out in each new outfit so you can comment on it and fuss with hemlines. You can ask salespeople and random shoppers for their opinions. "Do you think the top's a little too big? You know, her boobs haven't really grown in yet."

2. Have fun (how could you?)

This is an unexpected source of tween embarrassment, about which we must be ever vigilant. When you are with your tween and her friends, try not to have any fun. No. Fun. Ever. Smile, laugh, or — God forbid — sing along to the radio and you will make your tween squirm. Apparently any joie de vivre you once had must be forever buried once you take on the role of mother. Keep a straight face and do your job. You're not being paid to enjoy yourself. (Wait-a-minute, you're not being paid at all.)

And, the number 1 way to embarrass your tween ...

1. Act like her friend instead of her mother

Nothing bugs a tween more than a thirty- (or, yikes, forty-) something mother trying to act like one of the cool kids. If you really want to see her cringe (and, let's face it, once in a while, you do), jump enthusiastically into conversations with her peers. Bring up well-meaning, but completely off-target observations, like "I'm on Team Jacob, which team are you on?" or "Wow, do you think Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez will get married someday?"

These are just my top 5. Like grains of sand on the beach where you insist she wear a straw hat, SPF 50 and a tee shirt over her tiny bikini ... there are countless other ways to embarrass your tween. If I've left out one of your favorites, let me know.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Very Brady Tribute: Part Two

Prime Time Life Lessons or All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Bradys

In my earlier post, marking the passing of beloved sitcom creator Sherwood Schwartz, I spoke about why The Brady Bunch has stood the test of time so well.

Forty years ago, Sherwood Schwartz and his team were addressing the evolving nature of the American Household. It was a reassuring message in a changing time: where there's love, there's family.

The Bradys are often held up as impossibly idealized and yet they were a patchwork of steps: stepmom, stepdad, stepbrothers, stepsisters. And, while the 30-minute episodes all had happy endings, the characters were not perfect. They had their share of petty jealousies, major rivalries and — yes, even filial disobedience. Of course, Mike and Carol were always loving and wise, despite some rather poor choices made by the tween and teen Bradys. I certainly don't remember seeing them COMPLETELY LOSE IT as I have been known to do ... oh, once or twice (all right, maybe a few more times than that). The Bradys are something to aspire to.

And, more importantly, The Brady Bunch offers us life lessons that could rival anything you might hear from his holiness the Dalai Lama.

Here are just some of the things it taught (and can still teach) us ...

There's Sex After Marriage
The Brady Bunch broke new ground when it put the parents in ... gasp ... the same bed. If you remember, Lucy and Ricky slept in matching twins, like school roommates, with a chaste gap of a few feet between them. (Of course, one of the Ricardos must have crossed over or we wouldn't have met Little Ricky in season two.) Not only was Schwartz's series one of the first to show a husband and wife sleeping together, but many episodes ended with Mike reaching for his lovely bride in a manner that suggested that sleeping wasn't the only thing going on.

I figure that if Mr. and Mrs. Brady can still get frisky with six kids, a dog, a cat, a housekeeper, a station wagon and an astroturf lawn, I can put a little more effort into my own romantic life in a much less complicated household. Maybe I should invest in one of those little peignoir sets Carol was always wearing?

You Can't Change a Person
Alice loved Sam. And, arguably, Sam loved Alice. But, when the housekeeper tried to get her butcher to go to a Brady school performance instead of his bowling league ... well, let's just say it was "love's labor lost" — their love clearly knew some bounds.

Women (and many of my friends, in particular) think they can fall in love with one part of a man — his dashing looks, say, or his rakish humor — and then, over time, change whatever falls short. Take a lesson from Alice, ladies. If he's a slob when you're dating, he'll be a slob when you're married. If he drinks too many brewskies while you're getting to know him, he'll continue to do so when your relationship is old hat. Once a workaholic, always a workaholic. You get the idea.

However, if you are truly smitten, you can always try and embrace his interests. Alice, after all, went on a very romantic — if widely misinterpreted — bowling date in episode 12 of the final season, "The Elopement."

To Thine Own Self Be True
Forget Shakespeare's Polonius! To see the wisdom of this life lesson, look no further than Jan and Peter. In "Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up?," Jan, forever lost in the shadows between teen dream Marcia and baby girl Cindy, tries to make her mark. She dons a rather ridiculous curly black wig. With the help of some sympathetic friends, however, she realizes that natural blondes really do have more fun.

Peter, meanwhile, tries to create his own unique identity when he fears he has 'no personality.' His attempts include a battery of lame jokes and a comical impersonation of Humphrey Bogart. The episode, "The Personality Kid," gave us one of the series' most famous and incessantly repeated lines, "Porkchops and apple sauce, ain't that swell?"

The moral from the middle children? Be yourself. As Mike and Carol would say, "Figure out what you do best, then do your best at it."

Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can Do
At first glance, The Brady Bunch might not seem like a feminist program. After all, happy housewife Carol doesn't seem to have much ambition beyond getting all six bag lunches into the hands of the right Bradys before school each morning. And, in rewatching the series now as a 21st-century middle-aged mom, I do find myself cringing at times when Mike holds court. He is clearly the head of the household and it often feels as though he has two handmaids the way that both Mrs. Brady and Alice fawn over him.

Nevertheless, the Brady kids prove time and again that girls can do anything boys can do. In "The Liberation of Marcia Brady," the oldest Brady daughter becomes the first female to join the Frontier Scouts while poor Peter has to sell Sunflower Girl cookies door-to-door. Girl vs. boy competitions were a theme throughout the show's five seasons, mirroring real-life political and cultural movements. And Mike, albeit flanked by his two sometimes subservient women, always reinforced that, amongst the Brady children at least, there was gender equality. Hear, hear!

Nothing Beats a Family Vacation!
This is one message that I like reinforce with my own daughter and there are several Brady episodes that help me underscore the point. Yes, weekends with BFFs are fun and horseback riding camp is absolutely an essential part of the summer. But, really, nothing beats a good old-fashioned family vacation.

Where else could you be locked up in a ghost town jail by a delusional gold rush prospector (who sounds remarkably like Thurston Howell III)? Or, discover a taboo tiki that needs to be returned to an ancient Hawaiian burial ground? Or, meet a genuine Indian? (Remember, this was the early seventies; we didn't use the term 'Native American' yet and the episode, I'm sorry to say, was called "The Brady Braves.")

The point is, the Bradys taught us nothing so much as that family comes first. Perhaps this is why so many parents as well as kids still love the show. From the Grand Canyon to Honolulu to Westdale High, it was always the Bradys against the world.

My money's still on the Bradys. R.I.P. Mr. Schwartz.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Very Brady Tribute: Part One

The television industry lost one of its earliest and most prolific comedy writers this past week. In his fifty-year TV career, Sherwood Schwartz wrote for The Red Skelton Hour and a number of now forgotten series: The Dusty Trail, It's About Time and Harper Valley. He would be best known for creating a silly series about rag-tag comic castaways called Gilligan's Island, if it weren't for three little words.

The. Brady. Bunch.

I grew up in the groovy seventies and Sherwood Schwartz was one of the most influential figures of my childhood. (Even if I didn't know who he was at the time.) Surprisingly, he has made a tremendous impact on my daughter's early years too.

When my now tween daughter was about seven years old, one of my coworkers gave her the first season of The Brady Bunch on DVD. What fun! From Carol and Mike's disastrous wedding ceremony and their full house honeymoon, to the Brady kids getting used to new siblings. From Alice feeling unneeded to Jan feeling unappreciated. Measles, braces, diaries, pay phones, camping trips ... she devoured it!

As fast as you can say, "Desi Arnaz, Jr!," we were investing in seasons two through five.

We were a very Brady household for quite a while. My daughter would watch as many episodes in a row as we would allow. Whenever I could, I joined her, reliving my own childhood fascination with all things Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby. We also shared the DVDs with several of her friends who were just as enchanted (and whose parents were just as nostalgic). At one point, my daughter had a Brady Bunch birthday theme party. We gave out tie-dyed tote bags, peace sign necklaces and seventies candy. I dressed as Alice and my husband wore a final season Mike Brady white-man-afro. The party pictures are excellent blackmail material if either of us ever needs it.

Oh, and our favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor? Marsha Marsha Marshmallow!

After we had gone through the entire series a couple of times (all right, maybe eight or nine times), I thought I'd introduce her to another show I had lived and died and breathed for: The Partridge Family. In fourth grade, I remember Friday evenings were my favorites because The Brady Bunch was on at 8:00, and the one and only dreamiest of dreamy Keith Partridge followed at 8:30. Sigh ... no one had to tell me to "Come On, Get Happy." I was in Tiger Beat heaven!

Alas, my daughter was nonplussed. I don't think she even made it through the first DVD, much less the first season. What happened?

In terms of sets and costumes, attitudes and dialogue, both The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch are desperately dated. "Cool" is still cool, but phrases like, "Far out!" ... well, not so much. I cringe when I see the short, short, short dresses on the Brady girls (Cindy's bloomers peeking out from under her skirts wouldn't fly today, good thing). Or, Keith and Greg's endless pursuit of "chicks." And Carol Brady and Shirley Partridge seem to have been in competition for the best (worst?) shag haircut. (Mrs. Brady won (lost?), by the way.)

So, why the continued fascination for the Brady kids, while the talented Partridges are relegated to the back of my family's DVD cabinet?

I think Mr. Schwartz hit on something more basic and universal than the idea of a family rock band (even a groovy one). Despite all the dated silliness, the Brady Bunch was an innovative look at what makes a family a family. And, apparently, if my daughter and her peers are any indication, it still resonates today.

In an interview, Schwartz once recounted that the idea for The Brady Bunch came to him when he heard a statistic that 29% of marriages included a child (or children) from a previous marriage. This new idea of family and how it might work was his inspiration for one of the most beloved shows of all time. When Marcia nominated Mike for "Father of the Year," it made for an endearing episode with a powerful, timely lesson. Mike was Marcia's father because of their day-to-day relationship, not their DNA. Think how many permutations of families have appeared on the small screen since.

Bell bottoms aside, The Brady Bunch and its creator were ahead of their time.

Next Post: Prime Time Life Lessons or All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned from the Bradys

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Smooth Sailing

This morning, my tween daughter and I had an argument.

You see, she had made plans to meet a friend at the beach at 2:00 pm. I knew about these plans. She also had plans to join that friend and her family for dinner afterwards. Alas, I did not know about these plans. I have nothing against the friend or her family. But, we had already accepted an invitation for a cookout at my in-laws.

As per usual, my insistence that my daughter change her (until then, secret) plans met with ... shall we say ... a bit of an attitude. According to her, I "just don't understand." I was also "ruining her life." When words failed, she resorted to sound effects.

My tween daughter does an uncanny impersonation of Chewbacca from the original Star Wars.

At any rate ... disagreements are pretty much par for the course these days. But, this morning's interchange took me by surprise. We hadn't had a single argument for seven days.

In that glorious fight-free week, we sailed with friends from Boston to Bermuda and back again. We visited pink beaches and crystal caves. We ate way too much and saw way too many shows in the ship's "Stardust" theatre. We went sightseeing, shopped and had a proper British tea at a fancy hotel. We lay by the pool, flipped through magazines and listened to steel drums.

Best of all, we got along.

I was reminded over the course of the vacation just how much I like my daughter. She's funny and smart. She makes entertaining observations. She's polite and appreciative. She holds her own in adult conversations. She's an uncomplaining traveler and eager to try new things, see new sights. It sounds corny, I know, but I felt like my daughter was back. We left whoever has been inhabiting her body for the past year in Boston when we pulled away from the dock.

Not only was this new and improved version of my daughter with me for the duration, she actually seemed to want to be with me. There were countless tween and teen girls on the boat due to the fact that two different dance companies had been invited to perform. We saw them everywhere — bikini-clad at the pool, posing flirtatiously for the ship's photographer, making out on the Promenade deck with teen boys they had just met (yes, really), and prowling in packs through the Atrium en route to the disco.

But, my daughter, I'm proud to say, was not interested.

In all fairness, I may not have been the draw. (In fact, I'm fairly certain I was not.) We cruised with my best friend, whom my daughter adores, and, more importantly, her 18-year old. My daughter was no doubt pleased to be hanging out with this older girl. I have a hunch that if the teen had decided to go to the disco, the tween would have happily tagged along. As it was, we stuck together, presenting a unified, if multigenerational, wall of girl power.

The vacation ended, as vacations are wont to do, too quickly. Before we knew it, we were back in Boston. We have nice suntans (thanks to SPF 30), a couple of pounds to work off, and hundreds of pictures to sort through. We have wonderful memories of good times with great friends.

And, I have something even more precious. I have reassurance that my beloved daughter is still in there somewhere.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quotable Quotes


This week, my thirteen-year-old daughter and I are enjoying a shiksa mitzvah cruise (her consolation prize for being born a gentile).

Since spending any time at the Internet café on the ship costs as much as our oceanview cabin for the week, I’ve decided not to write any new posts while we’re away.

Instead, I’m relying on some wonderful wisdom from some extraordinary wits.


"Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers." … William Galvin

"The young always have the same problem — how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another." … Quentin Crisp

"Little children, headache; big children, heartache." … Italian Proverb

"Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own." … Logan Pearsall Smith

"If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance." … Al Bernstein

"Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest." … Karen Savage and Patricia Adams

"In order to know whether a human being is young or old, offer it food of different kinds at short intervals. If young, it will eat anything at any hour of the day or night." … Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Too many of today's children have straight teeth and crooked morals." … High School Principal

"There's nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won't cure." … Dan Bennett

"Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years." … Unknown

"There isn't a child who hasn't gone out into the brave new world who eventually doesn't return to the old homestead carrying a bundle of dirty clothes." … Art Buchwald

"I have seen my kid struggle into the kitchen in the morning with outfits that need only one accessory: an empty gin bottle." … Erma Bombeck

"You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone." … John Ciardi

"I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you've been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene." … Robert Brault

"At fourteen you don't need sickness or death for tragedy." … Jessamyn West

"Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves." … Virginia Satir

"The troubles of adolescence eventually all go away — it's just like a really long, bad cold." … Dawn Ruelas

"I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do now." … Will Rogers

"Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life." … Yiddish Proverb

"The kids are alright." ... The Who