Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

After my glowing post about the evolution of our family, I don't want people to get the impression that we are dancing around here putting flowers in our hair to the dulcimer sounds of acoustic guitar. No it's the same craziness as always with a new wrinkle: teenage girl.

I try to keep Caroline out of my blog to keep her privacy, but I feel it is my duty to warn other mother of young girls what is coming their way. I feel like I should have gone to "mother of a teenager boot camp." I never know from one moment to the next what version of my child I am going to get. Rob and I have always jokingly (to ourselves) referred to Caroline as Sybil. If you don't like this mood/personality, just wait a minute, another will come along. Caroline has tagged me as public enemy number one. Especially when it comes to homework. Getting through it is like WWIII. I see her point, some of it is total BS, but what better training for adulthood? The thing that blows my mind is teachers have made reading the text book optional. Seriously? We are raising such a generation of factoid junkies. Awesome, these kids will be able to win on Jeopardy, but write, make a plan, problem solve, have a conversation? No way.

Being the uber nerd that I am, I want her to read the text book and highlight her notes. That goes over like a lead balloon. The conversation goes something like this: me "Do it." Caroline "I don't wanna." me "Tough." Caroline: "No!" me "Yes!" and the yes-no back and forth goes on for an hour. Finally she caves and does it. She is a tear stained mess, I am soaked in sweat with a killer headache. There is no victory here. I just keep reminding myself that motherhood isn't for wimps.

I really just want to stand on tiptoe and and take my giant baby into my arms. I know she is navigating a minefield right now. There's the social aspect of trying to figure out all the hidden meaning in every teen conversation, there's the worry about making a fool of herself, and there's the fact that everyday her body has a mind of it's own. She is like a gangly giraffe, tripping over thin air. We have tried to give her the tools she needs: self confidence, humor, pop music, Ugg knock offs...

I live for the glimmers into her future. The things that let me know she is going to grow up into a confident young lady. When we aren't arguing, there is this sweet tentative friendship. We watch the same TV shows and movies now. We trade good books. She can give me an honest opinion about my clothes and I can choose to ignore said opinions (what is wrong with my purple fuzzy hat?). This weekend we watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and she loved it. She snickered like a true smart ass and we've been going around saying "What the cus?!" I have raised a kid who can appreciate Wes Anderson! Take that soccer moms! I wonder if she is ready for The Royal Tenenbaums? I really don't want to repeat the "it's too early for Moulin Rouge fiasco" of two years ago.
I am ready to boldly escort her into this brave new world. I might be by her side, I might be behind her prodding, but I will be there all the way (with Excedrin and chocolate).

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