There are a number of things I am qualified to do. I can teach someone to knit. I can learn you some quilting, put fabrics together. Cakes or cookies, I’m your girl. Mail merge from Word to Excel, some Timberline accounting, done. Camping reservations carefully plotted 9 months in advance, check.
When my first kid was born, I felt fairly confident that I could handle it. I am the oldest of 4, and the youngest was born when I was 12, so I had a chunk of experience with babies. Even after the Boy Child came along and we had to adjust to 2 little ones, we had it covered.
Those kids are now 13 and 10. And I am here to tell you, that confidence is out the window. I am wholly unqualified for this teenage business. I came home tonight to a fairly promising start. Answered a survey question for the Girl Child‘s class. And then it all went to hell. I am “a jerk”, because I refused to buy her a new lunchbox to replace the one she let mold grow in due to lack of cleaning. I “always buy” what her brother wants. So I snatched her phone and iTouch, the things most precious to her.
Was that the appropriate response? Hell if I know. I DO know that I NEVER would have called my mom a jerk. I don’t call the Girl a jerk, so why does she think it’s ok? She will mostly likely apologize later, but it’s getting old telling her that while I appreciate the apology, it doesn’t make it all right to do it in the first place.
My theory currently is that she does that here because it’s safe. I know there is drama at school, where it’s probably even more unwise to call someone a jerk. Yes, it irritates me to no end and sucks the life right out of me, but she knows she is still loved.
So I just wait this phase out? Will it get better or worse? Am I teaching her that it’s OK to call someone a jerk? That as long as you apologize it’s OK? Is there a pill for this?
All I can do is take a deep breath and know the next five years will most likely be long ones. In the meantime, I’ve got some camping gear to clean.