By BERN MORLEY
Hey there 13 year old, WTF DID YOU COME FROM?
Look, it shouldn’t be a massive surprise. It’s not like I woke up a month ago and there was suddenly this teenager residing in my home that I hadn’t allowed for. The attitude isn’t new. It’s amplified, sure, but it’s certainly always been there. The moody, often irrational reaction to a normal question is however, quite the new development.
I would say a year ago that we had, at least 50% of the time, a typical 12 year old daughter. One that could and would accept without question, the request to put her dirty clothes in the laundry. One that understood that showers were something she participated in on a daily basis and that took ten to fifteen minutes, tops.
Now, well now the simple request to do either of these things can send her into an apocalyptic styled meltdown. It’s like this foreigner that looks EXACTLY like my daughter has taken up residence in her bedroom upstairs. Sure, there are still glimpses of the old Maddie and on occasions, I feel closer to her than I ever have, but to be honest, I am simply struggling to keep up.
So here are some of the tell-tale signs you have a newly minted teen in your midst…
1. THE HOUR OF SHOWER
This is exactly as it sounds. Maddie will decide, seemingly without rhyme or reason that she needs a shower right NOW. Right now, being around 11 o’clock at night.
She will then emerge from said shower, after much pounding on the door by myself to which there are retorts of “But I’m washing my HAIR!!” around midnight.
The only silver lining I take from this is that she is clean. Because her room certainly isn’t.
2. YOU ACQUIRE TONGS. AND THEY AREN’T USED FOR THE BBQ
No, seriously. If you think you are going to walk into your 13 year olds bedroom and not leave requiring a Tetnus shot, think AGAIN. Most of them are quite simply, filthy animals. For some unknown reason, it seems physically impossible for them to return dishes to the sink or remove last Tuesday’s underpants from the bedroom floor.
I suggest you invest in a pair of tongs and rubber gloves and at least once a week, go through that joint like you are on CSI. Sometimes the source of the putrid smell cannot be found or identified. You might also want to invest in a cockroach bomb.
3. YOU ARE IN A CONSTANT STATE OF CONFUSION
Only a 13 year old can make you feel like you’ve committed an atrocity because you have asked them how their day was. Get prepared for a whole lot of “FINE!” and “GOD, stop asking so many questions!” These irrational responses will blindside you as you are genuinely thinking you were being completely reasonable with this line of conversation.
4. EXCESSIVE EYE-ROLLING
Prepare thyself. The first time this ever happens it will enrage you. I guarantee you will be all “DID YOU JUST ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME YOUNG LADY?” and she’ll be all “NO!” But then it will become such a part of your day to day interaction you’ll no longer even see it. It is usually accompanied by the audible and over amplified sigh.