It dawned on me last night (finally) that I'm having a crisis. Yep, I'm right in the middle of a crisis and I need to sit down, take stock and decide how to go on. You see it concerns how to cope with having a thirteen year old in the house and a girl at that. Up until now I've just let things happen, badly on my part with no thought at all. But I really need to think about this now because my daughter has almost changed beyond recognition and I haven't kept up.
We were chatting the other night and we were remembering what we did this time last year. My Mum had a heart attack about this time and she came to stay with us for a week. My sister and her two children flew over from NZ to come and look after her. Amber was remembering that she had no interest in films, music, clothes or socialising for that matter, a year ago. All she wanted to do was to cook and read. When Tom went to London she always wanted to sleep with me and no-one else was allowed too. That was 12 months ago.
I now have a girl that loves shopping, takes great care in her appearance, has an i-pod, goes to the cinema, sees her friends - everything normal and fine there. No problem. What I can't cope with is the emotional rollercoaster that she seems to be on and the sudden rudeness. One minute we're sitting at the table and everything is fine and then you've said the wrong thing and the volcano erupts. This week we had our worst row ever - partly because she was exhausted from staying up too late at the wedding and I caught her moaning to her friend about me. I know it's going to happen, that she's going to hate me for a while, a long while but it's hard when it happens. Thankfully, we're not at the 'can I go out in the evening' bit yet but we will be soon.
I hated my Mum from about the age of 14 onwards but I thought I had every reason too. My parents were VERYstrict and as soon as I reached puberty my life changed. I couldn't cut my hair, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, wear skirts outside school, talk to boys. I basically couldn't do what every other normal girl could do and I hated it and hated them for not letting me. When it came to the sixth form and we had parties I wasn' t allowed to go, I wasn't allowed to drink and certainly could not have a boyfriend. Well, ofcourse I did go and I did drink and I did have a boyfriend - but goodness knows how I managed to hide it all. There was no use arguing, I knew I lived in an Indian family and things were different and I hated it. I read Jackie and dreamt of being in a normal family and I was always grumpy and angry.
Anyway, back to Amber. Part of the problem is that she thinks we're too strict with her too. We don't want her to have a mobile phone till she's 14 and we don't want her to go on Bebo just yet either (big bone of contention that one) and on top of all that I think she feels weird because she goes to a waldorf school, one that really tries to keep them as young as possible. Which was great when she was young but maybe not now.
So, I have a young girl who was always a real stay-at-home and close to her Mummy and who is now pushing away and trying to find herself and I'm finding it a bit hard to say the least. I sat down last night and realised that I had to change too (and Tom for that matter). I don't have a little girl anymore but an emerging young woman. I don't want her to hate me and I don't think she does but I guess it brings back memories - bad ones. I need to think about doing some nice things together, just the two of us ocassionally and I need to learn some patience BIG TIME and I need to respond and not react.
I know it's all normal, don't get me wrong. I just need to know how to deal with it.
There are loads of you out there who have raised girls and gotten through it, I know. What did you do that was good and bad? What would you have done differently. Do some of you remember your early teen years like I do with embarassment? Were you grumpy all the time too (or was it just me!).
I'm off to my parent for two days - I might just ask my Mum what it was like for her!