Thursday, March 27, 2014

How NOT to raise a pre-teen

My oldest daughter, the Scribe, is twelve AND we're starting to have some problems . . . with my attitude.
    We got into some stupid conversation about why she can't dress like Madonna.  "What is that shirt?" I asked.  "It's so bright, you might as well go guide traffic on 5th and Main!"
    "But, Mom, THIS is in style!  I. Am. Fashionable.  You--on the other hand--have no style.  And sometimes . . . I hate it."
    Did she just say "HATE"?  I felt like I'd swallowed a grenade.  She'd pulled the pin and soon the sucker would explode in my belly.  
    My face puckered.  I took a breath--hoping the grenade wouldn't really detonate.  
    5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . I silently counted.
    By this point, my face must've reddened so that my daughter saw it through her gorgeous, tinted glasses.  "Oh . . .crap," she mouthed in slow-motion, sliding her glasses down her nose.
    "Oh! Mom . . . I'm sorry.  YOU are stylish.  You are.  Mom, it's YOU."  The Scribe back-peddled--like a freakin' unicyclist in the circus--but the truth had already come out, and that's what set my anger free.
    Her words meant nothing, and I suddenly started saying things I swore I'd never repeat.  You know--the things people say to you when you're a kid.
    "Scribe!" I barked.  "I was in labor with you for twenty-seven hours!  The doctor wanted me to have medicine before I pushed you out!  But nooooo.  Would I have the epidural?  No-ooo way!  I sat through those raging contractions--feeling like I'd die, or worse, have a bowel movement."  Her face turned white.  "You wanna know why I didn't have the pain meds?"
    She shook her head, practically begging me to stop.
    "Oh--I'll tell you why.  Because I love you.  I didn't want you to have any of that medicine in your infant body.  So I did squats by the bed.  I walked around the hospital.  I even put on makeup between contractions--so I'd look pretty for you when you came out!  And now you're saying the "hate" word?"
    "Did you mean to say it like that? The "hate" word?" she asked.
    I knew it had sounded lame, but I wasn't gonna admit it.  So I folded my arms and gave her the mom face called you-flippin'-heard-me-the-first-time/wrap-your-head-around-that!  
    "And giving birth to me???  That has nothing to do with style!"
    "Pfft!  I'm the reason you know about style.  I helped bring you into this world.  I did that for you, and now you're gonna treat me like this?  Say you hate something . . . about me."
    "Mom."  She frowned.  "I'm sorry.  Really, I am."
    THANK GOD for labor!  She actually apologized.  It may suck pushing a kid out of YOUR BUTT, but it gives moms ammo to make kids remorseful!  If babies came from a freakin' stork, I would have NOTHING to say.  "Be nice--to me.  Because that stork worked really hard bringing you here."  Meh.  NOPE.  It was me.  And the guilt-trip worked.

    Later that night, I heard her talking on the phone to a friend.  "I love my mom," she said, "but she was saying the weirdest stuff today.  I swear, if I ever have kids, I'll never say things like that to them!"
    I had to smile.  Let the circle of life continue.
 photo parenting_zpsb4b150b6.jpg