I have a tween now. A beautiful, smart and talented 10 1/2 year old.
She’s sweet. Kind. Courteous. Loving. Most days.
But I have one word for you. Puberty.
Need I say more? Well I think in these past 6 months I have become an expert on meltdowns of epic level proportions. We are talking I-could-write-a-book expert. It came on out of nowhere. And with a vengeance. The closest I can come to describing it is comparing it to a Pit Bull snarling at a rare steak dangling from a string just out of reach. You get the picture.
And while I get that her body is changing in a manner that she can barely wrap her head around, I think the health video she saw last spring planted a seed in her mind. See at the tender age of 9 (ok, two weeks before the big double digit birthday) the girls went into one room at school, and the boys in the other. And they watched “THE VIDEO” about their changing bodies. It covered your basic hygiene needs. How their bodies are changing. The usual stuff that I have covered with her in detail over the course of the last few years.
But the one thing they touched on that I had not covered with my best girl is the mood swings. She heard those words. And now it is used as a license to ill. The reasoning. The excuse. And while I am not faint of heart by any stretch of the means and can see through pretty much any line of bullshit my darlings try to sell me…this one, puberty, might just end up breaking me down.
This week for example….the 5th grade had a field trip to the zoo. And the appropriate attire was necessary for a chilly February day in Michigan.
She picked out gray leggings and a short sleeved t-shirt. To which I added a hoodie. The only hoodie I could find in the pit that was clean and hanging in her closet. It was also gray. As the clock to departure time ticked away, the meltdown came on. She was going to look like a gray buffoon wearing gray pants and a gray sweatshirt. Once I managed to find a camo hoodie, to which I commented the animals wouldn’t be able to see her (a comment to which I got “The Glare”), it came to earring choice. She hardly wears earrings. But today, of all days, 5 minutes before she was to report for her safety post, she decided animal earrings were a MUST. I came into her room to find every earring she owns spread across her carpet. And more tears because she couldn’t find a matching pair.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, was the comments about how I never get to come to anything anymore. Because Life In Beverly Hills is now a full-time working outside the home Mom. It broke my heart. Avery was inconsolable about all of it. To the point where she finally went, splotchy faced, to school head hanging down low. With cookie earrings, a camo hoodie, and a runny nose.
And there wasn’t a damn thing I could say or do to make her feel better. My philosophy is that there isn’t anything that is a big enough deal that we can’t handle together. We talk, we hug, we cry. And we fix. That’s just what we do. To not be able to fix her 10-year-old emotions did a number on me. And if I recall it wasn’t until I was about 22 that I realized my mom actually did know what she was talking about all those years. It’s an uphill battle…to which I bring a sword and shield….and an endless supply of Kleenex.