Strangers often feel the need to predict my impending doom. I’ve shared previously about my opinion of judgmental strangers, rude strangers, and on rare occasion, strangers who are so wonderful I could kiss them in the middle of the frozen foods section. I’ve discovered a new category. They aren’t judgmental. They aren’t rude. They’re trying to be kind, but sometimes fail. And maybe, they’re a little sadistic.
Okay. Not that sadistic. But there are strangers who take one glance at my beautiful, well-mannered, perfectly manicured baby girls and feel the need to predict the arrival of Armageddon at our home.
“You have three girls??? God bless you. Just wait another 5 years. You’re in for it.”
“Are they both yours?” “Yes, but I have I have one more. She’s in school right now.” “Whoa! Three girls?!? Just wait until they’re teenagers. Boy, are you going to have a tough time.”
Everything in me at this point wants to puff my chest up and say, “Those are my babies you’re talking about. I’m perfectly aware of the fury they can unleash at a moment’s notice, but watch it buddy. They learned that fury from me.”
I understand what they’re saying. Teenage girls have a reputation for being a little…emotional…at times. Multiply that by 3, and it’s kind of like Sybil moved in for a decade. The thing that gets me is the sheer pleasure on their faces. They’re smiles start out warm and friendly and then kind of morph into an evil grin utilized by the unfriendliest of Disney villains. Sadistic I tell you.
The thing is, I know exactly what the teen years can bring. I’ve been there, done that. Mine were particularly brutal for a variety of reasons, but I came out on the other side healthy, happy, and perfectly sane.
What? Don’t look at me like that. I am normal. I end each day
holding a glass of wine and banging my head against the wall with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment.
Despite the overwhelming presence of apparently psychic strangers, and my own life experience, I’m holding onto the hope that because I came through a lot in my teen years, and vividly remember them, I will have a greater understanding of the emotional turmoil they can bring.
What I did NOT expect was that the teen years would arrive at the age of three. Why did no one tell me that? Why, you mean, mean strangers, did you make me think I had a good 5-7 years before this chaos started?
Dear readers, I will save you the misery, shock and horror I have encountered and tell you the cold, hard, truth. The term “teen years” is a gross misnomer. That emotional roller coaster, loss of reason, and inability to control one’s emotional outbursts? It arrives on their third birthday. No lie.
Goo has left the Nerd and I dumbfounded, dazed and confused by her behavior lately. I know, I know. Nothing she does should shock me any more. And I suppose I should be thankful it didn’t involve nail polish. But I was not ready for this.
A few days ago, Smush had her 15 month check-up, and as is the case when trying to get anywhere on time with three kids, we were down to wire trying to get out of the driveway. Goo had left her shoes in the car, and when she climbed in, wanted to put them on immediately. The following conversation ensued:
Me: Goo, get in your seat. You can put your shoes on in your seat, but we really need to go.
Goo: I just put my shoes on first.
Me: No, Goo. No shoes first. We’re going to the doctor. We need to leave now. Please get in your seat.
Goo: Ugh. Sewiously, Mom?!?
At this point, two thoughts pop into my head. Firstly, egad. Did you just give me lip like a 16-year-old who blew curfew? Lord, help me. Secondly, no. I can’t take you “sewiously” when you still replace your R’s with W’s.
A few days ago, I said, “no” to Goo over something. I say that about 482 times a day, so I start to lose track of which object/activity/request it was in regard to.
The other day, I asked Goo to go potty. Surprisingly, she went willingly. Upon arriving at the bathroom door, I hear, “Sewiously?!? Punkin’s in the potty. Ugh!” Complete with exasperated eye roll and hands thrown in the air. I fully expected fights over who was in the bathroom. Especially since we are a family of 5 with one very small bathroom. Getting everyone’s teeth brushed is TONS of fun.
But I did not expect these fights until they actually had to get ready to go somewhere. Why would you need to fight over time in the bathroom if neither one of you does your hair, or make-up, or shaves your legs? Sigh. “Teen years” my foot.
Incident 3 (and 4, 5, 6, 7…):
Goo has a new favorite expression. “I told you!”
We now hear it all. the. time. “I told you! I’m NOT eating my cereal!” “I told you! I not going into time out!” “I told you, you are NOT being nice to me!”
Picture this coming out of the mouth of a sweet little girl with big brown eyes and a head of light brown ringlets. Who weighs about 30 lbs soaking wet but has enough attitude to make fascist dictators run crying in the other direction. There is a small part of me that finds all of this extremely funny. How can you not when you see the intensity and seriousness coming from a little girl who still colors outside the lines and says things like, “I don’t want a bamana.”
The other 98% of me wants to tell her she’s grounded until she goes to college. This all came a boiling point recently over something I told Goo she needed to do, or couldn’t do, or whatever. Bottom line, she didn’t like what I said. And thus the following exchange occurred:
Me: Goo, you need to pick up your toys in the living room. Please pick them up and put them in the playroom where they belong.
Goo: I told you, I NOT picking up my toys!
Me: Goo, this is your warning. You do not talk to Mommy that way. You need to pick up your toys, or you’re going into time-out.
Goo: UGH! *stomps down the hall, stands in the doorway of her bedroom, turns around and glares at me* SEWIOUSLY?!? *slams door*
Me (silently): Dear God, what do I do with this child? Because I’m pretty sure all the things I’m thinking of right now are illegal.
I really thought that through all the tantrums, Todzilla reigns of terror, escape tactics, and lock picking, I had her figured out. She’s my little firecracker, full of passion, determination, and iron-clad will. And I love that. But in no way, shape, or form was I anticipating the arrival of an attitude the size of Texas before her 4th birthday.
So readers of young girls, or who may one day have young girls, consider yourself warned. That whole “teen years” concept was made up to disillusion us. To make us think we had time. To catch us completely unawares while those sadistic strangers with their evil grins take joy in our unknowing misery.
Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the attitude isn’t. It’s there, in full force, way before the explosion of estrogen hits later on. From now on, I’m giving a care package to the parents of children turning 3. It will involve ear plugs, ibuprofen, a strong sedative, and a gift card for a boarding school.
For now, I’m strapping on my “mean Mommy” boots and getting ready to start kicking butt and taking names. Namely, Goo’s. There will be no more door slamming, no more eye rolls, no more, “I told you!”
Right after I get my video camera and capture it on film. She’s so flippin’ cute when she’s mad.