In Search Of A Better Life, Teen Moves Downstairs

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After Birth

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Good News Kept From Parents Out Of Fear Of Proving Them Right

DANBURY, CT—Saying she wants no part of the conversation that would inevitably result if she broke the good news, local medical billing technician Jenny Comers reported Friday that she’s keeping word of her recent pay raise from her parents out of fear of proving them right.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

North American Children Begin Summer Migration To Dad’s

NEW YORK—With the increasingly warm weather signaling the commencement of their age-old journey, millions of children across the North American continent began their annual summer migration to their fathers’ homes this week, sources confirmed.

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Kids Love When Mom Sad Enough To Just Order Pizza

FORT WORTH, TX—Saying they get their hopes up anytime they notice her looking particularly downhearted, siblings Paulo and Marisa Hernandez told reporters Wednesday they love it when their mother is sad enough to just order pizza.

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...

Supreme Court Gathers To Watch Baby Justices Hatch

WASHINGTON—Crowding around a small glass incubator in their personal chambers for a better vantage point, all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court reportedly gathered Tuesday to watch a brood of baby justices hatch from their eggs.

Mom Gathers Rolls Of Wrapping Paper Around Her To Stroke Softly

‘Not Much Longer, My Pets’

OAKWOOD, OH—Tenderly cooing as she basked in the comforting sight of snowman, Santa, and Christmas tree patterns, local mother Melissa Weaver surrounded herself with a dozen rolls of wrapping paper to softly stroke, sources confirmed Friday.

Allowance To Teach Child Importance Of Parental Dependence

MUNCIE, IN—Saying that they wanted to instill lifelong financial habits in their young son, the parents of 9-year-old Jeremy Lambert explained to reporters Monday that they give him a weekly $10 allowance to teach him the importance of parental depe...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.

The Pros And Cons Of Freezing Your Eggs

As more women choose to pursue professional, educational, or personal goals before starting a family later in life, many consider freezing their eggs as a way of prolonging their fertility.

Homeless Child Apparently Unaware He Lives In Nanny State

NEW YORK—Considering how these days the government in this country coddles its citizens from the cradle to the grave, an 11-year-old boy currently homeless on the streets of New York must be unaware he lives in a nanny state, reports confirmed this ...

The Cost Of Raising A Child

According to a new report by the USDA, the cost of raising a child until age 18 now exceeds $245,000, after which many parents will also have to foot the bill for college.
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In Search Of A Better Life, Teen Moves Downstairs

DEERFIELD, IL—Like generations of teenagers before him, 16-year-old Eric Jankowski has pulled up stakes to seek a future in a distant land of opportunity and independence. Bravely facing the difficulties of a harsh new world, he placed his meager possessions on his back and made a journey of 70 feet in search of a better life downstairs.

Jankowski arrives in the basement, where he hopes to find increased freedom and opportunity.

"Life's gonna be so much better down here," Jankowski said, his eyes gleaming as he placed a backpack on the unfinished basement's concrete floor Monday. "There's totally enough room to set up some old couches so me and my friends can hang out. Plus, Dad says maybe I can put an air-hockey table down there if I promise to keep the noise down."

A sophomore at Edna Dane Memorial High School, Jankowski requested permission to move to a little-used storage room in his family's basement last month. After an excruciating three-week wait, his parents granted him emigration rights.

"I have no idea why Eric wants to live down there in that dark basement, but fine," Jankowski's mother Ellen said. "All I can say is that he'd better understand that there's not going to be any funny business. I told him, 'This house has rules. I don't care what floor you're on.'"

In spite of such warnings, Jankowski is looking forward to the freedoms the basement offers, such as the ability to play his stereo loud and stay up late.

"This room is totally gonna kick ass once I get it set up," Jankowski said. "I got a line on a great set of speakers. Once I start making more money at Popeye's, I can save up to get a bigger TV. As for the walls, I'm getting rid of all my old posters and starting fresh from square one."

Determined as he is, Jankowski faces many difficulties. The basement bathroom has no working shower, so he will have to install one himself with the help of his friend, Rob Gaer. Carpet remnants will need to be collected. Cordless drills must be borrowed from an unwilling and suspicious father. Additionally, Jankowski will have to brave the elements during the harsh winter months, when temperatures in the basement dip as low as 50 degrees, necessitating the use of a space heater.

According to Jankowski, the move offers the opportunity to escape an oppressive regime.

"Mom and Dad watch everything I do," Jankowski said. "But now, I'll be able to hear them coming down the stairs. And, if I'm slick about it, I'll be able to sneak out the basement window and, like, party."

Across the country, millions of suburban teens have sought better lives in the subterranean realm, a topic Dr. Grant Tompkins explores in Where The Floor Is Paved With Cement: An Adolescent's Quest For His Underground Domain, an account of his own teenage post-war journey downstairs.

"Downstairs migration surged in the '50s, with the proliferation of suburbs," Tompkins said. "Teens were excited by the taste of freedom that the economic prosperity of post-WWII America brought, and they wanted more. The conflict between the freewheeling beatniks and their strict forebears was reaching a boiling point. This, combined with large territories of virgin basement acreage, created conditions leading to a mass exodus of teens into the rough-hewn land below."

Though some would-be pioneers were told "absolutely not, young man," a great many made the journey down the stairs.

"For these trailblazers, the path was strewn with obstacles," Tompkins said. "Early suburban basements were dingy, drafty places filled with cobwebs and firewood. Many had only rudimentary, crumbling stairs. Nevertheless, the basement offered opportunities children of the Great Depression thought possible only in their dreams."

The upstairs room Jankowski escaped.

Gus Kleinbold, 89, was one such Depression-era teen.

"When I was a boy, fat chance I would have my own basement room," Kleinbold said. "We slept five to a bed! When the war began, forget it. Not like the young people today, with their carpeted basements and X-Boxes."

By the '70s, the room downstairs was a cherished part of the American youth experience, Tompkins said.

"Some of them were squeezed out of the basement by baby-boomer parents claiming the territory for rec rooms. These teens were often forced to seek out new lives in the roof space of their homes, as dramatized in the Brady Bunch episode where Greg sets up a room in the attic," Tompkins said. "But for the most part, teens continued to settle in the basement—a land of peace and undisturbed independence far below the war-torn lands of family strife and authoritarianism above."

In the '90s, teens began to populate their parents' basements even after graduation. Indeed, with easy access to pornography via the Internet and a depressed job market creating strong cultural and economic incentives to stay, some have inhabited their parents' basements well into their 30s.

The way is still not easy for the population Tompkins calls the "downwardly mobile," but teens like Jankowski continue to be lured by the chance to pursue happiness on their own terms, combined with the opportunity to dream big.

"This room is gonna rule," Jankowski said, hauling a cinderblock downstairs to serve as the cornerstone of a shelf. "The chicks are gonna go crazy for it, too. I bet I'll totally get a girlfriend this year."

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