For as long as I have had children, people have commented about the hormones that were one day going to invade my home. I have always laughed it off, because it seemed so very far off in the distance. And although I listened to other parents talk about how at age nine their daughters started to change…a little bit more attitude, a little bit more tears, a little more moody — I didn’t take it very seriously.
Because like most parents do, I chose denial as my force field, telling myself that my kids were different. I was different. Our journey would be different.
And it has been. For girls, they aren’t very dramatic and though we experienced a few doozy of some tantrums in their younger years, most of the time they are remarkably even-keeled. Just like their mom.
Up until recently. Because over the past few weeks it seems like someone is always on the verge of tears. And by verge I really mean out-and-out uncontrollable sobs.
I don’t think my parenting style has changed much. No one is sick, under too much stress or been faced with a recent tragedy. Yeah, we’re not on too much of a schedule and probably haven’t been sleeping as regularly, but it’s not like we’re staying up late every single night.
Yet there seems to be a heavier tone in the way the girls respond to me — more sass, more exasperation, and a little more defiance. There seems to be a borderline eye roll and some heavy sighs after I ask them to do even the smallest tasks. And there has even been some slight embarrassment when I do my killer running man moves in front of their friends.
But could it be hormones? Could it be puberty? There are no physical signs, so could this really be the big change?
I was not convinced. After a particular trying day today with my sweet girls, I thought I would reflect on what I could do differently for my kids. Maybe it wasn’t all them….maybe I played a part in the tears. So, I wrote down the things that made my normally good-natured girls upset today. They include (but actually aren’t limited to):
+ Helping to learn long division. One of my girls is entering a new math program this year and needs to complete some work before school starts. Today’s lesson was long division, and she wasn’t understanding it based on the computer program. I got as far as: “How many times does three go into 22” before the water works started. Apparently I didn’t know how to teach it right.
+ Asking to change into a bathing suit that actually fits. Remember when I said that there were no physical signs of puberty yet? Well, that doesn’t mean my size 10 daughter can fit into a size 6 swimsuit. Apparently it was pretty traumatizing to have to walk up the stairs and change.
+ Offering to brush her hair. Yeah, I still haven’t figured out why that one brought on the water works.
+ Encouraging them to watch E.T. Apparently one of my daughters thought my choice of movies was so hurtful that it made her cry, so we watched the Disney channel instead. Again.
+ “Hey, can you guys jump in the shower before dinner?” This actually brought two sets of tears and one full waterworks. I like to think that maybe they were protesting for clean water in some third-world country, but I’m pretty sure they were just mad because they had already taken a shower the night before.
Could hormones really be the cause of so much angst? My twins are approaching double digits in just three short months, and although I don’t see any physical signs, the attitudes are very real. And although she’s just 16 months younger than her sisters, I’m pretty sure my eight year old is just coming along for the ride.
Yes, I think we may be approaching Tweendom in our house. And although I’m completely unprepared, I am comforted by the fact that so many brave moms have fought this battle before me and survived. Some even lived to tell about it, passing valuable secrets such as the book above which will help me discuss terms like breast buds and body odor with my three prepubescent lovelies.
I’m still holding out that maybe — just maybe — we’ve been having a few bad days lately and maybe some ice cream and a few snuggles will bring my sweet little girls back. Because if this is the opening number to what the teenage years are going to be like, I told my husband to buckle up, because this is going to be one heck of a ride. And we need a lot more wine.
Game on girlfriends.