It has ferocious opinions and unstable emotions. It possesses the power to make you constantly question your parenting abilities and remind you that you are by no means, in any way, shape, or form, cool. “It” is your 12-year-old daughter or “tween” if you will. The “tween” is defined as the in-between stage we all know well. Not quite a young lady, not quite a little girl anymore. In-between rogue psychopath, and compassionate loving daughter.
Every morning is a fight to get ready for school and out the door on time. At approximately 6:20 am, I greet the day with a fear of impending doom as the beast awakes from her slumber. With the emotional production equivalent to that of an angry troll or highly agitated honey badger, she goes about her business…
This is a week in the life of a parent living with a tween.
Monday: Four words. Watch. Out. Steer. Clear.
I could elaborate, but I don’t want to traumatize you. Rather than prematurely leave you with night terrors and panic attacks for years to come, I’ll just let it happen naturally so as not to completely spoil the fun.
Tuesday: Possessed by Satan himself on any given Tuesday, coffee is mandatory for me to deal. Math is too hard, nothing is right, her hair is stupid and she is tired. Her Tuesday alias is “grumpalufagus.” Angry at the world, she sits in silence on the drive to school staring blankly out of the window. Upon arrival, she is the last one to say goodbye, the last one to get out of the car and the only one who looks back so she can give you a smile and say goodbye one more time. She is a loose cannon and it is truly baffling.
Wednesday: A day to ponder, reflect and confess. Why?? Why do I have to load the dishwasher? Why do I have to read? Why do I have to shower all the time? Questioning normal everyday structure like it’s a completely new phenomenon. If I could have just scored ONE more goal, we could have won the game! I really need to start carrying deodorant with me. Can I use your mascara? You try to take it all in, contemplating the appropriate parental responses and then she whispers softly in your ear that she dreamt about a boy the night before. You really do try to prepare yourself for these conversations but…geezus! Swallowing the lump of reality in your throat, you smile and tell her that it’s just a normal part of growing up. All the while your inner monologue is spewing profanities and trying to keep everything in a cozy state of puberty denial. These days take their toll, leaving you mentally exhausted and nostalgic. They don’t call it “Whiskey Wednesday” for nothing.
Thursday: The week’s exhaustion has set in. She is sweet and silly…dishing out sarcastic overkill and pranks on her siblings causing multiple tantrums and screams. At the day’s end you can’t wait for bedtime…but apparently she can. Known for her stalling tactics, she says goodnight six times, takes two bathroom breaks, and smothers you with bear hugs and a long wet kiss on the cheek.
Friday: The devil appears once again at the breakfast table. I don’t want to take my vitamin. I’m not hungry. Can’t you just understand that I’m tired? Retreating to her room, she sits motionless in front of her closet for 10 minutes mumbling about how she has no clothes. Dragging herself around the house like an evil sloth, she is in no way ready when it’s time to leave. Offended that you are rushing her, she throws a tantrum of epic proportions. In between the screams, you blissfully daydream of handing her a bus pass, shoving her out the door and calling “god speed you little shit!” By the afternoon something incredibly strange has happened. Satan has been exorcised and it’s a miracle! For a moment, thoughts of love and family unity pass through her mind. Can we have a family pizza night? Let’s play Clue! How about the game of Life? Let’s watch a movie together. Unexplainable phenomenon? No. Hormones? Yes.
Saturday: Groggy and goofy from the excitement for her soccer game, she puts on a show of impersonations, dance moves and impressive fart noises. Just when you feel that the morning has been somewhat of a victory, she avoids you like the plague at the soccer field and completely ignores you as you call to her to apply sunscreen. Oddly enough, you are also the first person she approaches after the game for an emotional embrace, win or loss.
Sunday: Suddenly transformed back into a straight A student, she is ready for another week. The bar is set and standards are high. There is nothing she can’t accomplish and she chooses to display her confidence in song. In the shower, in her room, at the dinner table, in the car…sigh. All the while, you are absolutely dreading tomorrow morning and can only pray that you make it through another week of the reality that is “tween hell.”
I have accepted the fact that this is just merely the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more
drama emotion to come. Day in and day out, this unpredictable, wild, hormonal beast that is your daughter will unleash her fury like nothing you’ve ever seen before and then steal your heart all over again with her proud parenting moments of compassion, honesty…(sometimes a little too much) and determination. Delving out the temporary onslaught of “I love you’s” and “thank you’s” make you completely forget the delirious and frazzled empty shell of a parent that you’ve become. Well played clever tween, well played.
Do you have a tween? Will you eventually have a tween? Vote for me!!!
And then let’s all drink whiskey and cry… together!