Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beware the Sharp Tongue

I am a smart ass. I always have been. I honed my skills in my teens and made it into an art form. I married a smart ass, and low and behold we have raised two, well, smart asses. I enjoy a good joke or sharp remark as much as the next person, but parenting a wise guy is not much fun. I must have been cheeky to the wrong person because my wise guys tendencies have come back to bite me in the..., you get the point.

This week has been particularly brutal. Caroline has unleashed all of her pre-teen angst and sharp remarks squarely on my head. I am now "she." As in "She is making me crazy." "She won't let me do anything." And so forth. The result has been an irritated mother and a lot of grounding. Caroline spent last week banned from computer and TV and almost lost the chance to attend the father daughter dance. By Saturday, she was chagrined and got the message, that words and tone of voice can hurt. I have vowed to watch my tone as well, but how?

So much of who Rob and I are is jokey, clever, and witty. If I eliminate the sarcasm, all I am left with is Pollyanna and she is admirable, but a bit of a wet blanket.

I am receiving quiet a challenge to this vow. The girls want to watch American Idol with me. I love to watch Idol and call my friends afterward and make snarky remarks. I love watching the honestly good performers, but some of it is laughable. I make WTF type comments throughout. Now, I can't. The things that I find insipid and cheesy the girls love.

Take the group songs. I find it to be the worst kind of Up With People type performance. Caroline was charmed and excited. They sang her favorite Jason Marz song, "Oh, look there is her favorite guy, oh that was fun... " I had no comments, I was biting the blanket, trying not to ruin her excitement. She loved the guy with the "Emo hair." He has an amazing vocal range, but the hair, seriously now. I said nothing, though. Instead I entertained fantasies of Caroline someday bringing home a boyfriend wearing "guyliner" and me falling on the ground laughing as she declared "You've ruined my life!"

Then there is the girl with the Ariel hair (Lily's favorite). She also sings beautifully, but she made the worst Idol error in my eyes. She sang a freakin' Heart song! I can't stand Heart (courtesy of a really bad psycho boyfriend in college). So what does Lily want? To watch it three times! Do I crush her enthusiasm? She the little angel who was standing in front of the TV with sunglasses perched on her head, rocking and twirling. No, I indulge her. I can't fault them. They are rooting for two of the better singers.

I think that I'll watch it first when the girls are sleeping, then I can get my snarky remarks out. I'll watch it again with the girls. Someday we will have fun as an awesomely clever and sarcastic family. But we have to wait until they've learned how to control their power and use their skills for good and entertainment, not to hurt. It's kind of like raising young super heroes. Sarcastic twin powers activate!

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