Friday, 25 June 2021

The menopausal mum versus the 10-year-old teen

By the time my daughter (the TYOT) was four years old, I was 42 and there was already something of the adolescent about her.

She’d win every argument with her infallible logic, be it about bedtime (“Nine is fine”), too much sugar in her diet “Sugar is carbohydrate and it’s good for the brain”) or what she watched on telly (“But Modern Family is educational, Mummy!”)

Then, when she started in reception, she’d walk way in front of me and her baby brother, as if to say: “Nope, no relations of mine, never seen ’em before in my life.”

Which is all well and good, but it’s hard, as a mother, not to get upset by these things sometimes. Especially when you’re menopausal and dealing with raging hormones of your own.

Like when you turn up to collect your TYOT from a sleepover and, thinking it’s hilarious, she screams, runs and hides so that the host mum has to fish her out of the loft, wondering whether she should put in a quick call to social services on the way back downstairs.

And when she states in a class questionnaire that she would look up to you, if only you weren’t so short.

It’s like she’s finding out who she is by pushing the boundaries of your dwindling patience as well as your buttons.

And there’s only so much banging on you can do about how being treated like a grown-up means acting like an adult, taking responsibility for your stuff and putting things away.

Particularly when you have all the organisational skills of a lentil yourself. And she knows it.

Take our recent mobile phone debacle.

About three months ago, I was well into confiscating her Sim-card-less phone for various YouTube misdemeanours: spending hours glued to those inane US teen vlogs about hair and make-up when she should have been watching Eighties music videos, yelling “Get OUT, already!” in a, like, whiney, like, more American than, like, American drone and giving me filthy looks and a ton of atti-tood whenever I suggested we watch an enlightening Ted talk on the history of Chinese politics together.

You know, the usual.

So when The Ex bought her a Sim card three weeks ago, so she could make calls and texts on said phone, the TYOT was overjoyed — positively radiating gratitude, warmth and love. For him.

I, however, got the stair-breaking stomps, wall-shaking door slams and arms folded, squinty-eyed
no-speaks from the TYOT because for the life of me I couldn’t remember where I’d hidden the bloody thing.

But cleaning up her room last week, I found not only several half-eaten Oreos (yumsters) behind her bookcase, but also her old sleepover bag with her mobile phone in it. She had stuffed it down there by way of “tidying” her room months ago.

HA! Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!

Now where were we? Oh yes, acting all grown-up.

I suppose I should be more sympathetic and remember what it was like being a teenager myself — but hang on, she’s only 10!

She’s way too young for narky, sarky strops — and I’m far too old.

“You’re not going out dressed like that, are you?’ she sneered at me yesterday.

“Why? What’s wrong with dungarees? They’re not mutton, are they?” I asked, genuinely clueless.

“But what if someone… sees you?”

She whispered the last bit, looked sideways and harrumphed, slumping back down on the couch to resume texting.

And then her sunshiney seven-year-old brother pipes up with yet another harsh observation about my appearance, apparently to save me from frightening the horses with my hag hairs and Austin Powers teeth while I’m out.

Honestly, with the kids’ cruel comments, it’s a miracle I ever leave the house at all.

But that’s another story...

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