My daughter actually said this to me today when I was getting dressed. I am living with an insult ninja. It seems that every morning lately I must steel myself against a varied and colorful barrage of indignities, hurled like Chinese throwing stars, not from an abusive partner or bitchy co-worker or vindictive celebrity gossip site, but a from a knock-kneed ten-year old sitting cross-legged on my bed. She turned double digits and the filter button on what comes out of her mouth just sort of broke.
It's not bad enough that I'm my own worst critic – after a weekend diet of nachos and wine and an exercise regime consisting of draping myself across the couch and watching "Glee", my jeans DO feel a tad like sausage casings, so I choose a flowy top that will be sure to cover my puffy midsection. Also, I will admit that I tilt my full-length mirror against the wall at an angle that makes my reflection look a little bit thinner and taller, because it helps me start my morning off in a proper frame of mind. What do you want from me? I do what I can.
But now my daughter, speeding down the luge to adolescence, feels the need to critique everything about me, and it's like living with Joan Rivers and my bathroom is the red carpet. No area is off-limits, being it my outfit or my boot-heel-height, the age-appropriateness of my hair color, or appalling lack of eye-makeup.
And don't even get me started on Lily's critiquing of my child-rearing style. ("Haley's Dad lets HER watch Freddy Krueger! Molly is allowed to Facetime on HER IPOD TOUCH!!! UGHHH!) Always I am reminded of my shortcomings in the Momming Department, these sentiments constantly punctuated with requisite eye-rolling and shoulder slumping that really drive home the point that her life, like, totally sucks.
I read an article today that likened tween (I hate that word) girls to folks suffering from multiple personality disorders. I laughed out loud when I read that, because it rang so terrifyingly true. Over the last few months I have treaded very lightly around my daughter, worrying that too much sarcasm or the wrong question about a boy in her class might embarrass her right into having her first period all over my kitchen floor.
It's as if suddenly Lily woke up and found herself with such an overdose of emotions and opinions that she had no choice but to release them constantly and without any filter, for fear of absolutely imploding. She suddenly is experiencing life with such an intensity I worry sometimes that her head will pop off her body from all the drama-tinged adrenaline.
So I try to talk to other moms. Seems that this is a relatively new but all-too-common trend: our girls are growing up a lot faster than they used to. One mom frowned, "Oh yeah, she tells me I ruin her life just about every day." A co-worker with two teens suggested her behavior could be fueled by hormones in flux. So we went to the health food store and bought some overpriced "Power Teen" vitamins. The hot pink label on the bottle boasts lightning bolts and a sexually ambiguous girl skateboarder. Seemed like a good place to start. But god forbid anyone know that she's taking them. Though it's great to think about being older and cool, Lily is horrified by the things that are about to happen to her body. She's looking forward to growing up, I think, but scared of it too.
That makes two of us.
4 days ago