Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh, The Joy's of Parenthood!

(Photo copyright: Shrinky)

Looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, doesn't she?

My eldest daughter is the one who keeps me the most on my toes, the only one I've ever had to ground, she appears to accept school detentions as nothing more than a badge of honour.

Fourteen going on forty, I choose my battles with her carefully, bite my tongue when I can, and purposefully seek out reason to praise, rather than to criticize - believe me, it's not an easy task. If I came down hard on her every transgression, I'd run the danger of alienating her altogether, something which I am trying hard to avoid. Much as she causes me the odd heart-attack, at least she still talks to me a little about what goes on in her life (even if there are some times it would be so much kinder for me to be kept in blissful ignorance)!

So I try my best not to sweat the small stuff, and focus more on the good - but she pushes the boundaries constantly, and there are times I could cheerfully choke her. My other kids don't challenge our authority, act out, or place themselves in danger, as she does. I almost died when I saw her face-book page (thanks Chewy), and so did she when she found me reading it. Suffice it to say, it's long since been taken down.

Likewise, after tucking her up goodnight the other month, I had no idea she had snuck out of the house - if it weren't for some sixth sense of hubby's to go back to check on her again, we would have had no idea she was out way after midnight. Thank God for mobile phone's - knowing she'd been well and truly busted. she did at least have the good sense to answer hers. She was grounded for weeks over that little caper. It wasn't until later my youngest finally grassed up she's been doing it for ages, tapping on her (Abby's) ground floor bedroom window, waking her up so she can climb safely back into the house again. Beccy sleeps on the top floor of the house, no coincidence, it's the safest place for her, or so I had thought. Poor Abby has been told she will find herself in the deepest of deepest do-do, should she dare to to aid and abet her anymore. Beccy goes nowhere at all now, not until I check with the parents of her friends first. I need to confirm she is actually where she claims to be at, shepherding her there and back, taking nothing on trust.

Her big brother helps greatly to reel her in, phoning me if she turns up at any of his mates parties, or chasing off any older lads that might cast their eyes over her at school. I'll be lost when he leaves the island for university next year! (She, naturally, is loudly and vocally counting down the days, and has offered to throw him a party to see him off.)

Her grades are acceptable, but all her teachers agree she is under-achieving, Miss Popularity at school, she is far more focused on holding court than to worry over serious study. The most frustrating part of all is, her IQ scores are far over and above the majority in her year, she chooses to coast because she can, and no amount of carrot and stick from my end appears to motivate her. As for home, we are only there to serve as her personal chauffeur, chef or money-lender. What is mine is mine no longer, make-up, clothes, even my shower (she has her own, but prefers mine) is used and abused with careless abandon. She collects towels in her bedroom, in multiple soggy heaps on the floor.. I curse every time I realise (too late) my supply's been plundered yet again.

Yup, much as I love her, the girl is driving me nuts. She is a teenager with a capital "T". Guess what she bought me for my birthday? Get this; a toiletry set with the brand name, "Bad Momma" stamped all over it. Thought it was hysterical, so she did. It really hurt my feelings.


And yet..

Out of them all, she reminds me so much of me.

(Wry, sheepish grin.)


Hilary said...

"Out of them all, she reminds me so much of me. "

That might be a good thought to go with when trying to reach beyond the acting out. "Daughter, I was like you in this respect - here's what I was thinking and feeling back then.." It might give her the comfort of knowing she's not abnormal, that you turned out ok, that she's not the bad kid - just troubled, and that she can hurt you, but you're still there for her. You get her. She'll probably eye-roll and all that teenage stuff, but she'll hear you and she'll hold onto it. Hugs to you, Shrinky.

And your daughter is a beauty.. she's much like her Mom in that regard, too.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Shrink! Been there, done that to a T ! Mine was named Melanie after the sweet, docile angel in Gone With The Wind! What I got was a SCARLETT O'HARA! Mine is now about to turn 31 and has told me many times that SHE doesn't know WHAT kept me from KILLING HER when she was a teen!When her daughter Molly was born, I said: Congrats! You just gave birth to your payback! :) GOOD LUCK!

Daryl said...

OY .. posts like this remind me how insulated I am because I have no kids .. something I think from time to time I missed out on and then there are posts like this .. reminding me how badly I would muck things up in your trainers.

You, however, seem to be coping .. you could always send her to a nunnery .. do they still do that?

SJ said...

I withhold my comments :)

jinksy said...

Sounds like she's brainy enough to take care of herself, wherever she is! And she IS getting older every day....Keep hoping for the wiser bit to follow!

Akelamalu said...

My boys turned into mosters at 14 and it lasted until they were 16. MWM said if we'd had a daughter she'd have been locked in the attic from 12 - 21 years of age!

Good luck with your daughter I'm sure she'll grow out of it. :)

Kit Courteney said...

This is actually a rather loving post.

If I were your daughter I think I should be jolly proud and thankful to have such a wonderful mother.

Sunshine said...

Hi Dear,

Omg..What a beautiful picture and love the post... Thank you for sharing with us.. God bless you

Scott from Oregon said...


(I mean, and pretty to boot...)

Takes after her biker Mum and all...


Oh shit, you're gonna need about six more years of **hugs**

**hugs** (etc...)

Anonymous said...

A few more mother/daughter projects are required for further bonding. (nudge)
So... how does she like her Bad Momma's wicked awesome hand painted chairs?

Nancy said...

I was always very grateful, no matter what naughty things my teenagers did, they were way better than I had been! (My poor dad...) My father always said I would have "one just like me" some day. Hang in there, you have several years to go.

simon said...

the apple never falls far from the tree..SO true SO true!

Shrinky said...

Hilary, thanks, my friend. I do miss those arms she used to fling around me - but still have hopes they'll return eventually.

Oh Carol, thanks for making me laugh - this is the kind of thing that I really need to hear right now!

Daryl, a nunnery - never thought of that (it'll be worth converting to Catholicism a thousand times over)! Cheers..

sj, there are times you are a very wise man (wink).

Jinksy, if she survives into adulthood, I reckon she'll go far..

Akelamalu, oddly enough, only the other week Chewy advised the same - to lock her in the cellar until she reached 21. I'm giving it some serious consideration.

Kit, how much will it cost for you to post a signed copy of that on to her? Grin. Right now, she thinks I solely exist to spoil all her fun.

Hi Sunshine, thank you for that, these two shots are my favourite ones of her.

Aw Scott, with therapies like that, how can I fail to survive? (Big, wide grin) Huggles back, bonny lad - and thanks. x

Oh Chewy, I know, I know - so much for our Summer bonding project, eh? She ran off and left me to do it all on my own. But yeah, she loves her new room make-over, especially the chairs.. smile.

Ha! I know Nancy, my other kids are very tame compared to how I used to be at their age - and the only reason I worry so much over Beccy, is because I've done everything and worse than she has..

Yeah Simon, (blush) 'tis sadly so. (Grin)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Brilliant, I love her already :-)

PRH....... said...

Makes me glad mine are all 25+...too old to deal with the "rebel" years. I had mine, and drove my parents nuts, and so it continues.


Anna said...

Oh Shrinky I don't know what to say. I know few in my family, lol. With your daughter sneaking out you reminded me how my brother once wanted to sneak out, but got stack in the window frame, instead we had to get him out, lol. I think she will change, it is the age they want to try cool things. Funny you said she reminded you - you. Anna :)

~Babs said...

Oh, I feel for you,,,,though mine never sneaked out at night.Well, not from OUR house anyway,,,they saved that for sleepovers at other houses.(and told me of it many years later)
You will live to remember and laugh at these times,,,I promise you will!
Seems even more so worrisome because she IS so beautiful,,trouble often looks for those girls,,,but since you have such good spies on your side,,,,(that Chewey just can't be beat!)
Another hug,,,

Shrinky said...

Oh Anna, your poor brother - hoist by his own petard (giggle)! Yeah, I am sure if she survives into it, she'll morph out the other side as a fine enough adult.

Hi Babs, I think the real problem is I have been there and done it all myself - it makes my hair curl thinking of the dire situations she can place herself in. Yup, spies help (wink)!

Suldog said...

At risk of sounding like a dirty old man (which is what I am, but I don't usually want to give it away so quickly) she is dead sexy. If I was her dad, I'd have to lock her up.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

She is gorgeous,Shrinky!!! Wow! What a stunning young woman!!! You certainly have your hands full...but I know you are up for it!!!! The two of you make quite a pair...LOL...Yes, I imagine her to be much like you! She is as beautiful...that's for sure! This post is so authentic,playful, and yet strikes a cord that really causes us to think hard about our own relationships with our kids...brilliantly done! I applaud you for so many reasons! Hugs, Janine xx

Mushy said...

I can see you in her...would have been nice to know you then.

jay said...

Dear God - thank you so much for sending me boys and not girls!

It sounds like hell, Shrinky, and yet you are coping rather well, it seems to me. Just hang in there and keep on raising her lovingly and it will all be alright.

Just a thought, but maybe she meant the 'Bad Momma' toiletries as a compliment?


Shrinky said...

Suldog - if he knew the half of what I don't tell him, I reckon she'd be firmly under lock and key.

Oh Janine, I love it when you stop by - thank you , my friend (smile). I did try to find a bonding project to share with her over the summer break - thought it would supply us with some good one-on-one time. More of that later.. (eyes skyward).

Leslie: said...

Hi Shrinky! It wasn't until my daughters were much older that they told me things they'd done on Halloweens when they didn't have to be "escorted" anymore! If I'd know then what I know now....YIKES! But we all survive this time in the lives of our teenage daughters. So be assured that you will, too! She is so beautiful - have you thought of having her do some modeling? (After you let her out of either the cellar or the nunnery, that is!)

Shrinky said...

Hi Leslie, I would be mortified if Beccy wanted to take up modelling! I don't think it is a very healthy profession to be involved with, and it also has a very short shelf date. That girl has better keep her head in the books! I once was the PA to someone who produced a modelling magazine - I know first-hand of what those girls are put through - not for any daughter of mine! (Grin)

Mojo said...

Oh my does this ever resonate with me. My eldest is what I like to call "my parents' curse" -- you know, when they tell you growing up that "When you have children I hope you have one just like you". Well, if ever there was one, my eldest would be it. I can pick just abotu any point in his youth -- up to the age of 20 or so -- rewind 22 years and see ... me.

So for all the angst, the headaches, the heartaches, and the sleepless nights be grateful. If she's that much like you she'll turn out just fine.

But wouldn't it be fun to see her face if you were to tell her that she's just like you were at that age? Can you picture the scene? "I'm what???" Could even turn her about now that I think of it. Being just like your parents is never cool.

Anyway, she favors you this much: she's a lovely girl. I think. It's a little hard to tell under all the war paint.

Shrinky said...

Haha, oh, Mojo, I should have added these shots of her are not of her in her usual mode. They were taken as part of my "Wood Nymph" collection, and involved her as well as her friends, down in our glen. Even SHE wouldn't be so brazen to be seen out in public looking like that!

"Our parents curse" - I love that (smile), yup, her time will also come (just please God, not too soon)!