8.26.2008

Tit for Tat Parenting

I was really excited for The Athlete to come home from camp. The rest of the kids are living their big lives with cars and jobs and significant others and they just kind of breeze through here on the way to their next destination.

But The Athlete still needs me for permission, transportation and new clothes, and has to hang around home a bit more, so her exit left a big quiet place in the house that I did not like.
So it was with a little bit too much emphasis that I ran to the door when her dad brought her home from camp and gave her a little too big of a hug.

"Geez Mom." is what she said. And she didn't hug back.

Now My Mother The Therapist says that this is the usual behavior for teenage girls, and that it is "perfectly normal" for them to treat their mothers like crap.

The problem for me is that Sibling Number Four has a daughter who has never gone through the My Mother has Cooties phase. She is perfectly considerate and kind to her mother and even lets her mother say things that annoy her without rolling her eyeballs.

Having lived through two teen girls so far, this situation has had me mad with jealousy and confusion. I have really tried just about everything to get my teens to like me, but it never really worked until yesterday, when I had entirely given up and decided not to care anymore.

The Athlete had been asked to unpack a small duffel bag full of items that came home from camp. The grips that she uses for the bars at gymnastics were in there, and I wanted to make sure they didn't get forgotten when she went to practice on the following day, as her coach is very focused on teaching her a big new trick on the bars.

Late in the day, she asked to walk down the street to spend the evening with a friend and I asked if the bag had been unpacked to which she gave a nod and headed out the door.

The next day I drove her to practice. She had a new bag packed with items for an overnight stay with a friend from the gym. As I was pulling away from the gym, she got a panicked look on her face, and announced that she didn't have her grips.

Turns out they were in the bottom of the duffel bag that she did not unpack, but shoved under her bed the night before.

I had to turn around and go home and get the grips, which added another 40 minutes of driving to my life. I was not happy, and when I came back to the gym and threw them to her I told her the sleepover was not happening. And I didn't say it in a very nice way.

A few hours later when I came back to get her, I was expecting some pleading or some foot stomping or something about the cancelled sleepover, but instead she gave me a little hug and asked if I was mad at her. I was dubious.

"You know the sleepover is off, I said. "You didn't do what I asked YOU to do, so now I can't do what YOU are asking me.

"I know, she said. I just don't want you to be mad any more."


Go figure.

3 comments:

Donald said...

You've got to savor these moments when you get them, as there are a LOT of craptastic moments yet to come.

Anonymous said...

I think you should change the name of this blog to

"CRAPTASTIC!"


Your former editor

Schratboy said...

To the former editor...in the blogosphere she doesn't have to listen to you!