Friday, April 3, 2009


The other day, my adolescent daughter came to the car and her whole body screamed "Miserable." I asked her what was wrong. (Classic mistake of Rookie Moms to teen girls everywhere). I thought it signaled concern, love, a desire to know what made my child sad.

Based on the reaction, I thought "F" or "Detention" or a major blow out with a friend."Humph." was all I got. Over the drive home, I pestered her, trying to make her laugh, get angry at me instead, anything. "What would make you happy?" I asked. I'd offered chocolate. I offered computer time. I offered time with a friend. Nothing.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Finally I mentioned I'd be happy with chocolate, computer time and a visit with friends. The chorus in the back of the car now viewed chocolate, computer time and play dates as an oral contract and was singing the "We Love Mom" chorus all the way home, making the unhappy person even more unhappy.We got home. Fortunately, the distractions of raising 9 children prevented a long nagging investigation. She was allowed to sulk in peace for the bulk of the afternoon.

The thing is, sulking doesn't feel nearly as satisfying if it's done in isolation. There must be a audience pained by the expressed silent angst of the sulkee. So she followed around the rest of us participating in life via snacks, cleaning, homework, all the time occasionally letting forth a moan to signal her deep pain. Gentle "Do you want to talk about it?" prods brought scornful stares.

Finally after dinner, I was hooked. I wanted to know what happened. After I'd bathed the babies, fed them all and done the bed time routine for the non sentients, I demanded an audience. (She had skulked to her room to angrilly sit and read). The music was loud and sad.

"Tell me what happened or knock it off." My bedside manner is a cross between Dr. Laura and Olympia Dukakis in Moonlight, sort of a Moral and intelligent Rosanne if such a thing can be imagined. She blinked, as if surprised that anyone would find her behavior of the past four hours out of the ordinary.

"Oh, I got the king spot in kickball and then it landed on a line and I got voted out."

..."That's it?"

"Well, I really like four square."

For those of you looking for a reason for this story, it's tax time and the reminder of how lovely adolescence is, should make even the most swamped procrastinator addressing 1040's feel just...oh, so much better.

For those being audited, I have seven more to go.


dotty said...

i feel your pain. on the way home from school the 13 year old often asks me to blast the music for a block or so. When getting in the car on a friday, I already had it blasting, windows down and was bopping my head to the music--aka enjoying it. We get home and within minutes he shouts at me to NEVER play loud music in the car again! I reply in shock and he says--we'll I'm ANGRY! Why? I DON'T KNOW!!!!!!, he says and storms off. Moments later, he comes in the room and attempts to get on my computer without asking and while I am in the middle of a business email. Are you kidding I say sternly? What did I do he says--really I have no idea? sigh. He then says he had no idea why he was angry. The pains of youth. You are right--no one wants to be 13 again.

MightyMom said...

I like the talk or cheer up attitude! cracks me up.

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