Around the time my daughter starts her period, I’ll be ending mine. We’ll both be acclimating to hormonal changes while my husband stands helpless alone in a sea of fluctuating estrogen and tempers. Now is the calm before the storm, as my daughter is only 10 and I am theoretically still in childbearing years.
From the age of 10 to the age of 14 attitude can change from sassy to downright bitchy. I’ve seen this ascent into unpleasantness from substitute teaching for grades 4 through 8, hearing it from my friend’s kids and oh yea, I was a pubescent girl once too.
Although my daughter has not yet hit puberty physically, her attitude sometimes reminds me of what I would call teenager-ish. No matter what I say, it’s never an acceptable answer. For example, the other day she had a physical fitness test in P.E. class and did 12 push ups. She was upset because earlier in the year she did 19. I literally debated what to say to her in my mind. If I said “Twelve is a lot of push ups, you should be proud of yourself,” she would say I was lying because it isn’t good and I was just trying to make her feel better and not taking it seriously enough. If I said “You can do better next time,” she would say something like, “Oh, you don’t think that’s good enough?” and tell me I’m rude for making her feel bad. By the way, rude seems to be a trending word for 10 year olds.
If I tried to be clever and simply nod and say nothing at all, she would get mad and say I was ignoring her and that is rude too. Sometimes when I don’t answer her, she’ll tell me I have a rude look on my face. No honey, that’s my I have to fart face.
After deliberation, I made a strong choice and said “Oooh?” which was vague enough to let her continue talking about how mad she was at her friend for not telling her she was doing her push ups the wrong way. Shifting blame is a great evasion tactic.
It occurred to me that I now know how my husband feels. On the occasions I tell him something and I notice it’s taking him a while to answer, I realize he’s weighing his options. However, during the few seconds he’s considering which response will keep the peace, I’ve assumed he’s ignoring me. Who would’ve thought my daughter is turning into…well, me.